Apple and IBM’s partnership that has the companies working together to produce enterprise-friendly apps has expanded yet again with the addition of eight more apps designed for iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad, bringing the total number of MobileFirst apps up to now 22. The new apps are focused on the healthcare and industrial products industries, following prior announcements that saw the release of apps specific to banking and finance, travel and transportation, energy and utilities, law enforcement, retail, insurance, and more.
IBM confirms there wasn’t a formal announcement about the new releases this time around as in the past, because it’s planning to go into more detail about a selection of the healthcare-related apps at the HiMSS conference taking place later this month.
Of the eight new apps, the healthcare ones are perhaps some of the more interesting ones to be revealed. For example, one app, the Hospital RN app for iPhone, is working to reduce the operational costs associated with managing patient information by connecting with a hospital’s own systems, while also allowing its users to manage patient info, including discharges, right from the iPhone. And it works with Apple’s iBeacon technology in order to identify patient rooms then display the relevant patient data based on proximity.
Meanwhile, other apps will focus on organizing and prioritizing task assignments, including with the Hospital Lead app for iPad and the Hospital Tech app for iPhone. A fourth app, the Home RN app for iPhone, is aimed at supporting nurses who work outside the hospital offering home care services.
Rounding out the new lineup is a Rapid Handover app for iPad (industrial products industry), which lets a foreman document and share info with shift workers related to the production goals and equipment maintenance among other things. Plus, there are new apps for the retail industry (Order Commit app for iPad) and the insurance industry (Risk Inspect), the latter which uses the camera on the iPad to help document inspections.
The final new release is another application for the airline industry. You may recall that earlier this year, IBM announced a Passenger Care app to make it easier for airlines to re-book those whose flights are cancelled, delayed or changed. The new app, called Ancillary Sale app for iPhone, improves things once passengers are on the plane, too. Flight attendants will be able to sell seat upgrades and in-flight purchases including duty-free items, using their iPhone.
The partnership between Apple and IBM was first unveiled last year, and has been focused on extending the same, more user-friendly experience associated with using consumer software into the enterprise, where often, business software has felt dated, slow and clunky. This shift, generally referred to as the “consumerization of I.T.,” has spread over the years across industries, so it’s not surprising to find IBM now participating in the trend.
Over the course of the coming year, IBM plans to announce a number of new applications across industry verticals. The Apple partnership is important to IBM because it means they’re able to produce apps that connect to business’s backend systems – but the apps are just the starting point. IBM’s real business is in helping those companies make those connections. For IBM, the benefit to working with Apple is that it gives them access to Apple’s design sense, which the company would otherwise lack. Meanwhile, on Apple’s side of the deal, it means they’ll have the ability to sell more iPhones and iPads into the enterprise, expanding their market.