Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:00

Apple and IBM deliver on partnership Featured


The first tangible products have emerged from the technology agreement announced nearly a year ago by Apple and IBM.

The two companies, once fierce rivals and now unlikely bedfellows, made a deal that seemed so unlikely at the time that one headline screamed “Hath Hell Frozen Over?” Now it seems normal.

Less than six months on IBM and Apple have announced what they say is the first wave of IBM MobileFirst for iOS products- “a new class of made-for-business apps and supporting cloud services that bring IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad users in the enterprise.”

It’s a long way from the days where IBM came close to buying Apple outright in 1985. Apple is now riding high, on a market cap of US$700 billion (yep, billion), and IBM is faltering a little, though the Big is still in Big Blue (its market cap is a not too measly US$160 billion).

IBM and Apple have announced that IBM MobileFirst for iOS products are now available to enterprise customers in banking, retail, insurance, financial services, telecommunications and for governments and airlines, “thanks to an unprecedented collaboration between Apple and IBM.” IBM clients announcing support f include CitiGroup, Air Canada, and US carrier Sprint.

“What we’re delivering aims directly at the new quest of business—smart technologies that unlock new value at the intersection of big data and individual engagement,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president at IBM Global Business Services. “Our collaboration combines IBM’s industry expertise and unmatched position in enterprise computing, with Apple’s legendary user experience and excellence in product design to lift the performance of a new generation of business professionals.”

As you might expect, Apple is also gung ho about the fact that product is now shipping to real live users. “This is a big step for iPhone and iPad in the enterprise, and we can’t wait to see the exciting new ways organisations will put iOS devices to work,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. “The business world has gone mobile, and Apple and IBM are bringing together the world’s best technology with the smartest data and analytics to help businesses redefine how work gets done.”

The release blurb says IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps are delivered in a secure environment, embedded with analytics and linked to core enterprise processes. “The apps can be customised for any organisation and easily deployed, managed and upgraded via cloud services from IBM specifically for iOS devices, with security across the data, app and device. This first suite of IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions are now available across multiple industries, with additional apps being continuously designed and developed.”

Read on to learn more about exactly what apps the partnership is delivering:

The first group of apps include:

  • •Plan Flight (Travel and Transportation) addresses the major expense of all airlines—fuel—permitting pilots to view flight schedules, flight plans, and crew manifests ahead of time, report issues in-flight to ground crews, and make decisions about discretionary fuel.
  • •Passenger+ (Travel and Transportation) enables flight crews to offer personalised services to passengers in-flight—including special offers, re-booking, and baggage information.
  • •Advise & Grow (Banking and Financial Markets) puts bankers on premise with their small business clients, with secure authorisation to access client profiles and competitive analyses, gather analytics-driven insights to make personalised recommendations, and complete secure transactions.
  • •Trusted Advice (Banking and Financial Markets) allows advisors to access and manage client portfolios, gain insight from predictive analytics—“iIn the client’s kitchen or at the local coffee shop, rather than the advisor’s office”—with full ability to test recommendations with modelling tools all the way to complete, transactions.
  • •Retention (Insurance) gives agentsv access to customers’ profiles and history, including an analytics-driven retention risk score as well as smart alerts, reminders, and recommendations on next best steps and facilitation of key transactions like collection of e-signatures and premiums.
  • •Case Advice (Government) addresses the issue of workload and support among caseworkers who are making critical decisions. Adjusts case priorities based on real-time analytics-driven insights, and assesses risk based on predictive analysis.

  • •Incident Aware (Government) converts an iPhone into a “vital crime prevention asset,” presenting law enforcement officers with real-time access to maps and video-feeds of incident locations; information about victim status, escalation risk, and crime history; and improved ability to call for back-up and supporting services.
  • •Sales Assist (Retail) enables associates to connect with customer profiles, make suggestions based on previous purchases and current selections, check inventory, locate items in-store, and ship out-of-store items.
  • •Pick & Pack (Retail) combines proximity-based technology with back-end inventory systems for transformed order fulfilment.
  • •Expert Tech (Telecommunications) taps into native iOS capabilities including FaceTime for easy access to expertise and location services for route optimisation to deliver superior on-site service, more effective issue resolution and productivity as well as improved customer satisfaction.

To supplement the IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps, the partnership between Apple and IBM offers business customers additional levels of capability integrated for enterprise mobility, including:

  • •Mobile Platform and Enterprise Integration—Leveraging IBM’s global industry consulting expertise, client experience design and enterprise systems integration from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration. Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalogue, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In addition to on-premise software solutions, all these services will be available on Bluemix—IBM’s development platform on the IBM Cloud Marketplace.
  • •Supply, activate and manage—Streamlined end-to-end procurement, deployment and lifecycle management—at scale; along with cloud solutions for enterprise security, device management, and data and process integration. IBM Global Financing leasing options and services to allow organisations to keep pace with latest device releases.
  • •AppleCare for the Enterprise—Providing IT departments and end users with 24/7 assistance for their devices from Apple’s award-winning customer support group, with on-site service delivered by IBM.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson sadly passed away in Jan 2021 and a much valued senior associate editor at iTWire. He was one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is the author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’He was in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism. Graeme will be sadly missed by the iTWire Family, Readers, Customers and PR firms.

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