ifg 發表於 2014-12-30 11:10:21

Apple and IBM partnership bears first fruit: 10 enterprise apps

Apple and IBM partnership bears first fruit: 10 enterprise apps

DEC 11, 2014

Apple and IBM got a jump start on what's sure to be a busy 2015 in business technologies by announcing on Wednesday their first wave of mobile app collaborations.

The companies, which partnered up earlier this year, unveiled what they're calling IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In other words, enterprise-class apps that work on iPhones and iPads.

These aren't apps that will show up in your App Store. Instead, these specialized apps (10 in all) are designed for businesses and work directly with IBM's industry-centric analytics and cloud-based services. They also, according to IBM, have baked-in security, which spans across the apps, data and the iPads and iPhones themselves. All of the apps were, according to a source with knowledge of the matter, developed in Apple's new Swift programming language for iOS.

The collaboration allows IBM to take advantage of "Apple’s legendary user experience and excellence in product design," said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president for IBM Global Business Services, in a statement.

A common trait among all these new apps is, naturally, mobility. Advise & Grow, for instance, is intended to be used while bankers visit small business clients. Case Advice gives government case workers access to real-time analytics while they're making site visits. And Sales Assist for the retail industry will give clerks access to customer information so they can assist them from anywhere in their store.

The IBM MobileFirst for iOS Incident Aware App offers law enforcement officers real-time access to maps and video-feeds of incident locations; information about victim status, escalation risk and crime history.

Also included are a pair of new travel apps: Plan Flight (for more effective fuel management) and Passenger+ (a customer service app).

"Fuel is an airline's greatest operating expense, so reducing discretionary fuel is critical to us," said Jim Tabor, an Air Canada vice president, in a press release. "Today, dispatchers and pilots determine how much extra fuel is loaded onto a plane based largely on current factors and their individual judgment," but the Plan Flight app will offer recommendations based on "weather conditions, anticipated taxi time and historical data," he said.

Other apps include Retention (for insurance workers), Trusted Advice (for banking and finance) and Incident Aware (which could be used by law enforcement agencies for real-time information on victim status and escalation risks).

Worlds combine

IBM and Apple are obviously not new to the mobile business, but Apple had hit a ceiling with enterprise integration. Many Fortune 500 businesses build their own custom software that ties back into legacy data systems and often deploy it on traditional systems, like desktops and laptops.

The partnership with IBM essentially breaks through that ceiling by letting IBM handle the task of tying these apps back into legacy data and analytics, but doing it all through IBM's cloud. For Apple, the IBM partnership allows enterprise-level apps to live on iOS, further integrating iPads and iPhones into big business For Apple, the IBM partnership allows enterprise-level apps to live on iOS, further integrating iPads and iPhones into big business and, of course, opening up new market opportunities. As the iPad market slows down, success in the enterprise will be critical to its continued growth. Many analysts believe Apple will try to boost its business success in 2015 with a larger iPad.

The other key element here is that IBM, not Apple, will handle the integration and on-site support side, which makes sense since many of the companies in these key industries — transportation, government, finance and retail — are already accustomed to working with IBM on software and services integration.

The partnership may present some new challenges to Apple. Not only are these apps custom-built for enterprise, they're further customized by IBM for each client. So Apple and and IBM have to win on a client-by-client basis. Employees can't simply download the apps and start using them. From the iOS device to the app, it will all be approved by the corporations and fully integrated into their business. Thus far, only Citi, Air Canada, Sprint and Mexico's Banorte bank have announced support for IBM MobileFirst.

2015 will likely be the real test for the Apple and IBM collaboration.
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