Scivantage announced Wednesday the launch of its new HTML5-based mobile brokerage platform, Investor Mobile, and the immediate availability of investment apps for iOS and Android devices.
This is a sign of the times. Scivantage is the latest vendor to go the "responsive design" route, creating one set of web pages that can be customized to display properly on various mobile devices.
Four years ago, Scivantage started with a mobile website, according to Chris Psaltos, vice president of product management. Then the company worked with a partner to create native apps for BlackBerry and iPhone devices, "but that limited us in flexibility and integration," he says. "We realized this is not something scalable for us. The marketplace is really demanding more flexibility than we can offer through a mobile app."
The company needed to be able to integrate the mobile app with other software and maintain it in-house. It wanted to build a single code set that could be deployed on multiple platforms. It arrived at an HTML5 approach and chose the Sencha Touch HTML5 mobile app framework to create the apps.
One limitation to using HTML5 is that it's not optimal for taking advantage of features native to the smartphone, such as the camera and swipe capability. However, Psaltos says the Sencha Touch library is evolving to adopt some of the native functionality of major smartphone operating systems, such as swipe capability. "It's more akin to native iOS apps than it was one and a half years ago," Psaltos says. "We designed this app for the Android. When it came time to offer it on the iPhone, it only took a day to make it iOS specific." Such a project used to take about nine months.
To create "wrappers" that customize the HTML5 to suit different devices, Scivantage uses PhoneGap.
Because it's a single code base, developers can make a change once and have it upgrade to all versions.
The sign-in and look and feel of the new mobile banking experience is configurable, Psaltos says. The sign-in, colors and labels can be manipulated by the client.
The user uses the app to see account balances, get quotes and position details, and trade if the financial institution has enabled that. Access to additional market data can be facilitated. It provides the ability to deposit a check and move money between accounts.
Current Scivantage clients using its native mobile apps will need to migrate to the new solution, as those apps are being sunsetted.