Apple and IBM reveal the first fruits of their mobile pact: big data apps

10 Dec 2014

IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty and Apple chief executive Tim Cook in July

Apple and IBM have revealed the first products to come from their strategic alliance announced in recent months: a suite of IBM MobileFirst iOS big data and analytic capabilities.

The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions are now available to enterprise customers in retail, banking, insurance, financial services, telecommunications and for governments and airlines.

The first slew of IBM clients today announcing support for IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions include Citi, Sprint, Banorte and Air Canada.

In July, Apple forged a global partnership with IBM in a move that will open the consumer tech giant up to opportunities in the lucrative enterprise space and see IBM sell iPhones and iPads optimised for enterprise mobility.

“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.”

Built exclusively for iPhone and iPad, IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps are delivered in a secure environment, embedded with analytics and linked to core enterprise processes.

IBM said 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. 

The new quest of business

“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, 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.”

The collection of IBM MobileFirst for iOS 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 more informed decisions about discretionary fuel.

Passenger+ (Travel and transportation) empowers flight crews to offer an unmatched level of personalised services to passengers in-flight – including special offers, rebooking, 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 advisers to access and manage client portfolios, gain insight from powerful predictive analytics – in the client’s kitchen or at the local coffee shop, rather than the adviser’s office – with full ability to test recommendations with sophisticated modelling tools all the way to complete, secure transactions.

Retention (Insurance) empowers agents with 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, such as collection of e-signatures and premiums.

Case Advice (Government) addresses the issue of workload and support among caseworkers who are making critical decisions, one family or situation at a time, on the go. The solution 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 fulfillment.

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.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years