IBM hits 100 MobileFirst iOS apps for enterprise, plans iPad Pro development

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple and IBM Alliance Bears Software Fruit.

The 100 apps cover the gamut of 60 professional roles across 14 industries and include iPhone, iPad, iPad Pro, Apple Watch and even Apple TV apps, Katharyn White, Vice President of IBM and Apple Partnership for IBM Global Business Services told TechCrunch.IBM has co-developed its 100th MobileFirst for iOS application with Apple and says the future is bright for the partnership, which will expand its scope to include dedicated iPad Pro apps, IBM Watson integration and the launch suites of applications for businesses across several industries. The two firms joined forces in July last year, agreeing a wide-ranging relationship that has seen IBM will bring its cloud, analytics and mobile management services to iOS, and supply customers with iPhones and iPads running industry-specific applications. The announce shows that Apple and IBM are making progress with their blockbuster alliance, which is intended to make their products more attractive to business customers.

IBM on the other hand understands business workflow, what generates productivity and back-end integration.” “Partnerships like this help companies create apps that were better than their PC predecessors because they can use more functions of the device — camera, voice, messaging, location — and they can do it anywhere since it’s [portable].” Each app designed in this partnership is unique as development is undertaken in close collaboration with the people who will actually be using the app. Fred Balboni, general manager of the Apple partnership at IBM, said: “Our apps – which currently represent an exclusive level of business value – are evolving to deliver cognitive capability that refines insights to the most relevant information, enhancing the quality of decision making. “Marrying the simplicity of Apple’s product design with IBM’s unmatched security, analytic and cognitive expertise is the leading edge of mobile-led business transformation.” In the future, IBM wants to integrate capabilities from its Watson AI program, allowing the apps to learn over time from how employees and customers make use of them. Each app combines IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities with Apple’s legendary consumer experience to help companies achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction — faster and easier than ever before.

The first industry-specific MobileFirst application was launched last December and Air Canada, Coca-Cola and Vodafone are among the firms using the fruits of the partnership. By working together, they hope to leverage each others expertise—Apple’s consumer know-how, and IBM’s deep ties to corporate IT departments—to be stronger than going at its alone. Mobile development principles are applied after a specific problem and the nature of the workflow have been identified, with the ultimate goal being simplicity. Apple AAPL -0.80% and IBM IBM 0.38% released 48 apps in December alone that cover sectors like the auto, chemical, petroleum, retail, and healthcare industries. The partnership works because each company can draw upon its unique strengths, Maribel Lopez, principal at Lopez Research explained. “I think [Apple] brings the concept of simplicity (direct to task) and beauty to enterprise apps.

Companies currently making use of the MobileFirst apps include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Bosch BSH, Air Canada, AXA, Coca-Cola Amatil, Japan Post, Rimac, Vodafone Netherlands and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS). “We see the transformation of our customers’ experience as a strategic differentiator for our insurance and financial advice business,” said Nicolas Moreau, Chairman and CEO of AXA and member of the AXA management committee. “We’re going to combine the sleek experience of an Apple Genius Bar with the expertise of our advisors to not only give our customers the experience they want, but an experience that dramatically exceeds their expectations.” Apps with Apple Pencil support will provide added precision and functionality to tasks, including designing and laying out a room, logging transactions or annotating maintenance logs. There will also be iPad Pro applications that take advantage of the larger screen, more powerful hardware and multitasking abilities, along with the Apple Pencil stylus.

For Apple, the deal is an important pillar of its strategy to boost its presence in the enterprise amid fears the market for mobile devices in developed markets is saturating. One new iPhone app targets the energy and utilities industry by allowing workers who inspect infrastructure for storm-related damages to quickly share information with their colleagues and customers. It also appeals to customers, says Gartner analyst Van Baker. “The Apple IBM partnership combines the dominant enterprise device vendor with a dominant enterprise software vendor which is inherently appealing to [customers],” he said. Another new iPad app for eldercare workers lets those professionals keep better tabs of their elderly clients who live alone by letting them more easily access patient files.

Many of these tools work in conjunction with back-end systems like ERP, CRM and content management; and IBM can bring its enterprise expertise to bear to help customers connect the apps developed with Apple to these systems. Customers pay monthly fees based on the number of users as well as an initial fee to wire up the new software to its internal databases and infrastructure. IBM also has plans to tap into Watson, its cognitive intelligence platform, across the partner apps, bringing a set of analytics and intelligence to the back end. It could also generate some interesting technology combinations from the two partners. “Combining a Siri front end with a Watson back end could be a very powerful offering,” Baker said.

Software sales have been a weak point for IBM in recent quarters as the company transitions from selling software licenses to a so-called software-as-a-service model similar to companies like Salesforce.

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