Apple And IBM Launch First Industry-Specific ‘MobileFirst’ Apps

The first applications developed as part of IBM and Apple’s enterprise partnership have been made available to customers in the transport, finance and retail sectors, along with software designed for government organisations.

The two firms agreed a deal in July to bring IBM’s cloud, analytics and mobile management services to iOS and to supply customers with iPhones and iPads running industry-specific applications.

Precious little has emerged since the tie-up since then apart from the creation of ‘Apple Care for Enterprise’, which combines Apple and IBM’s customer service strengths to better serve business clients.

Apple IBM apps

But now the two firms’ collaboration is bearing fruit as the first wave of ‘IBM MobileFirst for iOS’ applications are now being used by customers including Citi, Air Canada and Sprint.

The ‘Plan Flight’ and ‘Passenger+’ apps help airlines manage fuel, report issues and offer personalised customer service, while the ‘Advise & Grow’ and ‘Trusted Advice’ apps help banks and financial advisors better serve their clients with analytics and complete secure transactions.

Apps are also available for other sectors, most notably the ‘Incident Aware’ service which helps police prevent and tackle crime through maps, video feeds, escalation risks and information about the victim’s status.

“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,” says Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, 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.”

Apple enterprise push

Apple hopes that the enterprise market can help revive flagging sales of its tablets and has also reportedly created a dedicated sales team that has met with CIOs of potential clients in the past few months.

iOS 8 has a number of features specifically targeted at the enterprise, including pass code protection, VIP threads, automatic out-of-office emails for Microsoft Exchange, support for third party document providers in iCloud and expanded document management for books and PDFs – something which is seen as vital for the education sector.

“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,” says 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.”

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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