IBM Releases Tablet Apps For Its Enterprise Systems

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Eight new apps have been released that help make popular tablets usable with IBM enterprise systems

IBM announced eight new social networking and collaboration mobile apps designed to address enterprise-class requirements on tablets.

The new software, available for download today from popular application stores, takes what IDC rates as the industry-leading IBM social networking, real-time collaboration and online meeting capabilities from behind the company firewall and places it into the hands of tablet users.

Meetings on the fly

The new offerings span a range of tablets, including the iPad and Android platforms. The software allows employees to more effectively collaborate and share data, images and conduct meetings on the fly more securely as part of their everyday work experience, IBM said.

IBM introduced new applications, including social networking for iPad, attending online meetings, instant messaging, accessing business documents, reducing calling, and providing easier access to mail and calendar. IBM also released new software for building applications faster and better, and for improving the Web experience for users.

The social networking for iPad is available from the Apple application store at no charge for existing IBM Connections users, the new application includes a new interface ideal for tablet devices and allows for unique document editing capabilities. Meanwhile, employees can attend online meetings from their tablets anytime, anyplace. LotusLive Meeting is available on Android, BlackBerry, iPad and iPhone devices, and users can view shared presentations, chat with meeting participants, and virtually raise and lower hands from tablets and other mobile devices.

IBM Sametime software users can also lead, participate in and manage browser-based meetings from their iPad or Android tablets.

In addition, new mobile applications for iPad and Android enable IBM Sametime users to use tablets to take immediate action on urgent business tasks by providing one-on-one or group instant messaging, background notifications and the ability to send photos through the chat window.

Document display, email and telephony

Also available now in application stores, IBM Lotus Symphony Viewers allow mail users to view any Open Document Format-based (ODF-based) document, spreadsheet and presentation on their iPad, iPhone or Android device. IBM Sametime Unified Telephony on tablets allows a user to initiate calls to whatever phone happens to be nearby by controlling call-routing preferences and device selection as well as have his or her one unified number appear in caller ID.

Providing easier access to mail and calendar, IBM Lotus Notes Traveler now enables IBM mail users to easily add widgets to their Android home screens for quick, convenient access to mail and calendar, and allows users to call people listed in their calendar views with just one click.

“Millions of tablet and smart phone devices will be unwrapped this holiday season,” said Alistair Rennie, general manager of social business at IBM, in a statement. “The ability to play Angry Birds is fun, but being able to also securely access business applications, enterprise content and accelerate your organisation will be the real gift that keeps on giving.”

Indeed, the use of tablets in business is on the rise. Increasingly, employees require enterprise connectivity from their personal smartphones and tablet devices. This phenomenon is also known as the “bring your own device,” or BYOD, to work trend.

According to IDC France, the tablet market is forecast to exceed 4.1 million in 2012, representing 48 percent growth from 2011. A recent IBM study revealed that 73 percent of business leaders surveyed currently allow mobile devices or tablets to connect to their corporate networks.

For example, employees at global medical device manufacturer ConMed Linvatec used the IBM Lotus Notes Traveler application on iPad devices at a recent medical trade show, IBM said. The application allowed ConMed employees to demonstrate its medical devices, collect sales leads and send product information to prospective customers right on the spot. ConMed Linvatec is a global leader in the fields of arthroscopy, endoscopic medical video systems and powered surgical instruments.

Early adopter praise

“As a result of using IBM collaboration software on iPad devices, we generated more leads and acted on them sooner than ever before,” Dale Westrate, messaging systems architect for ConMed Linvatec’s Largo division, said in a statement.

This new software is part of a suite of capabilities IBM offers to effectively address 21st century workforce trends. For example, IBM recently introduced a new mobile service that helps organisations protect against data loss and other risks caused by device theft, unauthorised access, malware, spyware and inappropriate applications.

IBM is also advancing the use of business analytics by delivering expanded native mobile-device support with IBM Cognos Mobile on the iPad. Available to try out in Apple’s iTunes store, the software enables mobile workers to take their business analytics on the road whether offline or online, allowing for uninterrupted productivity.

With the recent acquisition of i2, IBM will offer software that increases the ability for law-enforcement professionals to generate leads and solve cases. The technology is the most widely deployed tactical lead-generation tool in the US, and will soon include a mobile application, Coplink Mobile Plus, for iPad, iPhone and Android devices. Coplink Mobile Plus can be test driven by existing Coplink customers today.

In addition to ConMed Linvatec, other global organisations, including Bekins Van Lines, Cincinnati Zoo, Cummins, VCC Construction, and schools like Virginia Commonwealth University are using IBM products to create a more effective workforce through the use of tablets and other mobile devices

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