AAA Case Study: Driving Dynamic Mobile Experiences with Reusable Architecture and Live Updates

Learn how the American Automobile Association came together with Ionic to offer superior service to over 62 million customers.

A household name today, AAA was founded about 120 years ago to help pave the roads of America, establish crossing guards, and perform many other service-oriented tasks. The roadside assistance AAA is known for today was born out of the desire to provide the same outstanding service that drives AAA today.

Through the years, AAA has expanded from roadside assistance to travel accommodations and many other services. Today, AAA boasts over 62 million members. In an atmosphere of constantly advancing technology, this has required AAA to remain forward thinking, delivering their service and brand to customers around the country, 24/7.

The Challenge: App parity across regions

AAA came to Ionic with a number of unique concerns and challenges. For starters, AAA's 62 million customers are divided into 20 clubs (and 20 regions), each with their own user experiences and authentication systems. AAA wanted to produce a single American Automobile Association app in the app stores.


As Mobile Product Manager Ralph Borges explained, "Our biggest challenge has always been to maintain the AAA brand across all regions, while enabling clubs to be independent."

At the same time, AAA's existing native iOS and Android apps simply weren't able to keep up with the shifting market. They lacked the deployment agility and flexibility needed for rapid implementation of new content. They needed a better, more sustainable solution for their mobile app development.

Ionic has helped us improve our ratings in the app stores. In 2018 we were at 2.1, and today we enjoy a 4.3, which is extremely valuable for our AAA brand and for our stakeholders.

Ralph Borges, Mobile Product Manager at AAA

The Solution: Ionic’s flexible UX/UI solutions

Considering the scope of AAA's app development needs, Ionic emerged as the clear choice. 

By allowing AAA's team to develop in-app features using web apps instead of native coding, Ionic lets AAA push updates and new content directly to their app without having to go through the lengthy app store vetting process—enabling the AAA app to be incredibly flexible.

This has also allowed AAA to develop a single app that’s compatible with both iOS and Android, dramatically decreasing build times across the board. This benefit is huge for AAA's development team, allowing them the flexibility of distributed development and bringing in third-party developers to increase efficiency. And with Ionic’s best-in-class UI/UX at their disposal, creating an industry-leading app was a piece of cake.

One of the other major highlights of working with Ionic was receiving access to Ionic Capacitor's prewritten code. According to Ralph Borges, "We just completed the Capacitor migration. This effort gives us access to Ionic-supported code as well as reducing our in-house custom code.”

With the addition of Identity Vault and ACA biometric authentication, Ionic was able to provide AAA with everything they needed to secure and modernize their mobile apps.

Ionic helps us to build and deliver enterprise-grade applications in weeks instead of months.

Sesha Sai Ram Peteti, Product Manager for ACG Group at AAA

The Result: Autonomous code deployment, live updates, and efficiency across regions

The results speak for themselves. The AAA app instantly began serving all of AAA's customers in a more efficient and dynamic way across all of its independent clubs—and they did it all from a single app.

One immediate benefit that AAA enjoyed after adopting Ionic technology was the fact that each club could develop and deploy code autonomously, without causing instability in the app. Today, AAA live app updates go out to members 2–6 times per month for each club—an impressive feat, given that most enterprise teams ship updates four times per year or less. 

Simply put, the AAA app is one of the most dynamic and feature-agile apps of its kind.

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Building The ACG Mobile App Experience with Ionic Support

Until 2018, AAA's Auto Club Group (ACG) app development team had been working entirely in native, which presented a number of efficiency and deployment challenges. When they decided to switch to a hybrid web-app-based model, Ionic quickly became the obvious choice.

In addition to providing the core features and functions, Ionic supported the ACG app experience in a number of critical ways. Reusable components provided added flexibility for changing themes and functionalities, and when AAA migrated to Ionic Capacitor, they gained the advantage of building native code as framework and libraries.

Finally, on an operations level, Ionic Appflow is a cornerstone to the ACG app's success. Ionic Appflow offers flexible deployment to all users using both iOS and Android devices.

As Product Manager for ACG Group at AAA Sesha Sai Ram Peteti puts it, "Ionic helps us to build and deliver enterprise-grade applications in weeks instead of months."

Learn more about AAA on LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

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