The new iOS apps from IBM and Apple aim to 'transform industries and professions' by bringing together IBM data analytics and Apple's user-centric design.
By Al Sacco
(UPDATED: This story has been modified to add a comment from Sravish Sridhar, founder and CEO of Kinvey. The changes are marked in bold text.)
This morning, IBM and Apple announced the availability of the first set of 10 IBM Mobile First for iOS apps for iPhones and iPads. The partnership between enterprise heavy IBM and consumer king Apple was announced in July. Their first set of apps is designed for use in industries including telecommunications, transportation, financial services, retail and airlines and government.
The news is notable because the apps are the first real fruit of pact. It’s also further evidence that Apple is finally embracing the enterprise. According to IBM’s Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services, the new apps are designed to “transform industries and professions” by combining “Apple’s expertise in user-centric design with IBM’s deep knowledge of business, data analytics, cloud and enterprise-scale software.”
The two companies worked together by “studying industries and professions, drawing on years of experience, so we can identify the top ‘pain points.’ Then we consider the key differentiating capabilities of iPhone, iPad and iOS – like iBeacon or FaceTime, along with GPS, mapping, or a microphone. And we infuse the solution with the analytics to improve decision making — with context, in the moment, at the point of customer contact,” van Kralinger wrote in a blog post.
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 personalized 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 authorization to access client profiles and competitive analyses, gather analytics-driven insights to make personalized recommendations, and complete secure transactions.
Trusted Advice (Banking and Financial Markets) allows advisors 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 advisor’s office — with full ability to test recommendations with sophisticated modeling 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 like 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 optimization to deliver superior on-site service, more effective issue resolution and productivity as well as improved customer satisfaction.
The companies plan to release more apps for healthcare, utilities and consumer packaged goods in the future.
Sravish Sridhar, founder and CEO of Kinvey, a mobile and Web app development platform, says the announcement is good news for CIOs. “The Apple/IBM partnership has resulted in some beautiful and functional mobile apps, which are a great starting point for businesses looking to tap into the benefits of mobile-enabled workflows,” Sridhar says. “CIOs have high hopes for mobile but are frustrated by the extreme time and cost required to create them, so pre-packaged apps will alleviate some of this frustration. Keep in mind, however, that apps will still need to connect to an enterprise’s backend systems if they are going to have transactional functionality – these are not entirely turn-key.”