MobiVet will use geolocation to assist connecting pet owners and veterinarians when in need of emergency and in house care. Similar to the technology used in ride-sharing services that pinpoints you with the closest available drivers, MobiVet will be able to expedite your veterinary emergencies with the medical services in your area. The MobiVet app will also allow for telemedicine by connecting you with a veterinary expert via videochat on your smartphone/tablet.
Along with these points of contacts, MobiVet will look into integrating location based advertising and marketing connecting users to services and possible promotions in their areas through push notification alerts based on their location and proximity to these events.
Options: For the intents of our project and real world costs I’ve included information on what would be cost effective (i.e. FREE). If we need to expand in to “projected” costs I can dig deeper.
THE BIG THREE –
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud Storage
AWS S3, Microsoft Azure Storage, and Google Cloud Storage are ultra-cheap, ultra-fast, ultra-reliable file storage services. These products are commonly used by corporations to archive massive collections of data and media, but you can also host a website on them for very, very cheap.
The great thing about this setup (unlike the pricing models of “web hosting” companies such as Bluehost and Godaddy) is that you only pay for the storage and bandwidth that you use.
The resulting website will be very fast, scalable, and reliable, since it will be served from the same infrastructure that companies such as Netflix, Spotify, and Pinterest use for their own resources.
The most popular option for server-based apps are cloud hosting services, such as Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure. These services are in fierce competition with each other, and have so much capital and infrastructure available that they are willing to give away money and compute power in order to get users hooked on their respective platforms.
Google Cloud Platform automatically provides $300 worth of credit to anyone who joins and allows you to run a small server at no cost, indefinitely, along with providing a variety of other free-tier usage limits. See here for more info – https://cloud.google.com/free/
AWS offers very similar free-tier limits to GCP, allowing you to run 1 small compute instance for free each month. See here – https://aws.amazon.com/free/
Microsoft Azure offers $200 in free credit when you join, but this free credit expires after one month. They also provide a free tier on their “App Service” offering, although this free tier is more limited than the equivalent offerings from AWS and GCP. See here – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free
Firebase (Backend services):
Firebase is Google’s backend-as-a-service, and is the dominant entrant in this field at the moment. Firebase provides a suite of backend services, such as database-storage, user authentication, client-side SDKs, and in-depth analytics and monitoring. Firebase offers an unlimited-duration free plan, with usage limits on some of the features. Additionally, you can host your frontend website on Firebase for free, with up to 1GB of file storage and 10GB of data transfer per month.
For applications that just allow users to log in and store/share data (such as a social networking app), Firebase can be a great choice. For applications with more advanced backend requirements, such as complex database schemas or high-security user/organization authorization handling, writing a custom backend might be a simpler, more scalable solution than Firebase in the long-run.
Firebase offers “Cloud Functions” to write specific app logic and run custom jobs, but these functions are more limited in capability than running your own backend server (they can only be written using Node.js, for instance). You can also use a “Cloud Function” style architecture without specifically using Firebase, as we’ll see in the next section.
Cloudflare is a domain management service backed by the likes of Google and Microsoft. At its core, Cloudflare allows you to point your domain name (and subdomains) to your website server(s). Beyond this basic functionality, however, it offers lots of free features that are hugely beneficial for anyone hosting a web app or API.
- Security: Cloudflare will automatically protect your website from malicious traffic. Their massive infrastructure provides protection from DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and their firewall will protect your site from a continuously updated list of threats that are detected throughout their network.
- Speed: Cloudflare will distribute your content quickly by sending it through a global CDN (content delivery network). The benefit of a CDN is that when someone visits the site, the data will be sent to them from a data center in their geographic region instead of from halfway around the world, allowing the page to load quicker.
- Data Transfer Cost Savings: An added benefit to using a CDN is that by sending the cached content from Cloudflare’s servers, you can reduce the bandwidth (and therefore the costs) from wherever your website is being hosted from. Cloudflare offers unlimited free bandwidth through their CDN.
- Free SSL: Best of all, Cloudflare provides a free SSL certificate and automatically serves your website over HTTPS. This is very important for security (seriously, don’t deploy a website without HTTPS), and would usually require server-side technical setup and annual fees; I’ve never seen another company (besides Let’s Encrypt) offer it for free.
There are “serverless” options as well (via the same Big 3 of AWS, Google, and Microsoft Azure). I can expand on this if needed.