How much data will I use on my phone with PBIS Rewards?

The good news is that the PBIS Rewards app is a very lightweight app when it comes to the use of your data plan. Of course, if your phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network at school, then it doesn’t matter a great deal other than to know that you’re not taxing the school’s Wi-Fi network. But if your school doesn’t allow the use of the school’s Wi-Fi network, then you may need to use your carrier’s mobile network and this will count against your data plan. Because of this, we did some careful calculations to help teachers understand the cost.

Here are the things we tested while using the PBIS Rewards Smartphone Staff App for teachers and staff:

1. Sign-in to the app
2. Give points to a student
3. Give points to a group
4. Start a referral
5. Help a student make a store purchase
6. Redeem a saved purchase for a student
7. Help a student check into an event

We’ll summarize our results first – and then if you’re interested in the nerdy details, you can read all the way to the end where we break it out.

Our sample teacher is a very heavy user who does the following operations in the course of the day:

  • Sign-ins – 20 times in the course of the day
  • Individual student points via a scan – 200 times in the course of the day
  • Group scan to reward points to an entire group – 10 times per day
  • Start a referral – 3 times per day
  • Store Purchases including redeeming coupons and event check-ins – 10 times per day

If school is in session for 22 days in the course of the month (which is not the case in most months), this teacher will use 115 MB of data. Most smartphone users purchase data plans that are measured in Gigabytes (GB). The smallest plan currently available from Verizon Wireless is for 2 GB and we’ll use this number as our point of reference (1,000 MB = 1 GB). So this heavy use teacher is using approximately 6% of her data plan since 115 MB is 0.12 GB.

How does this compare to other things you may be doing with your smartphone throughout the day? Certainly, the app that gets the most use by a significant margin is Facebook. If you use Facebook 8 hours per month on your mobile data plan, you will use approximately 1 GB. The number for Instagram is similar. One hour of streaming YouTube will use 1.5 GB.1
Another way to break it down – on average you will burn through 1 MB to 2 MB per minute when using Facebook. Music streaming from a service such as Spotify will burn through just over 1 MB per minute.2

Our experience is that teachers who use the PBIS Rewards app and also use My Groups on the Desktop Portal average much less data on their smartphone. A more representative use scenario is a teacher who does approximately 25 individual point scans from the app in the course of the day. This teacher will use closer to 25 MB in the course of the month – or approximately 1% of their data plan.

So where do these numbers come from? Here’s a breakdown of the amount of data used for different types of operations on the PBIS Rewards app.

  • Sign-In on the App: 17.5 KB
  • Single scan to award points to a student: 18.5 KB
  • Group scan of a group of 20 students: 37.8 KB
  • Start a Referral: 54.4 KB
  • Store Purchase or Coupon Redemption – 65.5 KB

The rest is math using the heavy use numbers from above. Keep in mind that GB to KB calculates as follows:
1 GB = 1,000 MB = 1,000,000 KB
Another way to describe this from the perspective of a single scan to award points:
18.5 KB = 0.0185 MB = .00002 GB
It takes 55 scans to reach 1 MB of data and 5,411 to reach 100 MB.
1 https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/utilities/how-much-data-do-you-need/
2 https://www.whistleout.com.au/MobilePhones/Guides/Mobile-broadband-usage-guide

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