2021-04-14 - OpenLMIS Mobile App Discussion


Apr 14, 2021


  • @Wesley Brown

  • Many many people… thanks all for joining!


  • Gain consensus as a community on what this MVP (minimum viable product) application will target for the first release

  • Identify the type and class of device that we will be targeting

  • Start the discussion around the technical approach for this application

Meeting Recording


Discussion topics







5 min

Welcome, Agenda, and Background

20 min

Functional Focus

Previous discussions have indicated that Physical Inventory would be a good initial target.

Physical Inventory

  • Trevor: Seems like a good place to start. Can be relatively isolated and not impact other areas. The focus is generally on reporting current state

  • Wes: Is the focus still on reporting current state when entering via a mobile app?

    • Trevor: Likely yes, good to have commonality between the web and mobile UI

  • Sebastian: What kind of notification is required? In OpenLMIS, after submitting a Physical Inventory users are taken to the facility Stock Card

    • Satish: What needs to be shown to the user after submitted? Are there other things that the app can be used for? What is the bare minimum interaction that is required with the app?

      • Josh: We need the Stock Card information to support the Physical Inventory regardless

    • Josh: Would Printing still be a part of the process

    • Brian: What about signing (as part of the physical inventory, ie like DocuSign)

  • Satish: What is the impact of offline syncing/out of date issues

    • Wes: Hopefully our current solutions for offline stock management will suffice here


  • Dianna: That is the future, would make sense to think about but maybe not focus on right now

  • Christine: Ditto Dianna

  • Josh: Goes hand in hand with Lots, currently the users cannot enter Lot Codes from the facility (though SIGLUS does add support for this). If this is coming from a Bar Code then worries about data entry errors may not be as much of a concern

  • Satish: How would this factor into the web app?

  • Dianna: Need to consider where the mobile app would be used. For SIGLUS it is mostly smaller facilities but still hand entering the Lot Code and Expiration (packages have been broken apart and spread to different facilities)

  • Brian (chat): Barcodes helped reduce time for inventory by 4x in proof of concepts by PATH

  • Wes: A possible stretch-goal for the release?

    • Josh: If we can capture barcodes does it change how we manage lots? Central management of lots is a barrier to entry but manual entry can have a significant effect on data quality. Embracing barcodes could allow us to move to decentralized management.

    • Satish: Still have the concern for missing barcodes/lot codes in a barcode

  • Gaurav: Advanced Shipment Notifications, this could help close the loop with the proof of delivery. The person in charge of receiving shipments may not be present when the shipment arrives

15 min

Device Requirements

Platform: Android and iOS or just Android

  • Many - MVP for Android

  • Brian: If there is significant push for iOS we could consider that later

  • Josh: Smartphone only?

    • Wes: In Nairobi, Kenya smartphone penetration is very deep across many economic groups

    • Christine: Internet connectivity is often a more prevalent concern than smartphone access. Implementation/Gov will often provide a smartphone is needed but the connectivity is more difficult. An SMS backup would be a good idea but not for the MVP

    • Brandon: Some of our context’s do not have good smartphone penetration, SMS/USSD would be useful but in the future

    • Trevor: Handheld scanning devices (smartphone with dedicated scanner) are showing up

    • Satish: This choice may impact our initial design even if it is put off to a future release

Form Factor: Phone, tablet, both

  • Josh: Key question is screen real-estate

  • Brandon: Both, design for variability

  • Wes: I would vote for phone and have a specific UI/UX for a phone

  • Langa: Would vote for a tablet

  • Brian/Josh: ODK UI has a good baseline for a phone UI

  • Satish: Procuring “good” phones @ $250 but had much better connectivity than tablets. Tablets are often very outdated in terms of software. Would suggest Phone as the priority and tablet as a nice-to-have

  • Dercio: Tablet

Hardware Tier: Within last 5 years?

Target devices:

Deployment channel: App/Play Store, APK

  • Wes: App Store

  • Pawel: App Store deployments can be more difficult, especially for some cross-platform frameworks

  • Dercio/Langa: APK

    • Dercio: No Google account required

  • Josh: App stores can also reject/disable apps due to out of date frameworks

15 min

Development Strategy

Existing Applications: SIGLUS, Others?


Mobile Frameworks (Native vs Non-Native):

5 min

Next Steps

Follow Up Meetings

  • Extract some questions for Product Committee

  • Discuss Dev Strategy on the Tech Committee

Required Documentation

Action items


OpenLMIS: the global initiative for powerful LMIS software