The way banks, airlines, wireless carriers, and even governments do business could soon change if Apple and IBM have anything to say about it. The two companies now have 10 apps designed to streamline business operations behind the scenes, which may lead to better service for the rest of us.
The new apps are the first wave in a lineup that's expected to include up to 100 iOS apps for business. IBM is firmly entrenched in enterprise, while Apple's presence in the halls of giant corporations has been largely unofficial, in the form of employees using their personal iPhones to send company emails. So the two companies partnered up in July to bring their complementary strengths to businesses on iOS.
One app called Incident Aware will give police a real-time look at maps and video from crime scenes, as well as information about victims and suspects, and better backup request capabilities.
Another, Sales Assist, is designed to help retail employees offer better service to shoppers by giving them access to customer profiles with past purchase history for improved recommendations. The app also helps staffers manage inventory.
Apple and IBM produced a pair of apps for airlines: Plan Flight for pilots offers a look at flight schedules, flight plans, and crew manifests and the ability to report in-flight problems to crew on the ground. The other, Passenger+, gives flight crews information about passengers so they can tailor special offers to them.
Citi, Sprint, Air Canada, and Banorte are the first four IBM clients using the apps at launch. Apple is offering AppleCare for Enterprise, a 24-hour customer service line, while IBM takes care of on-site issues.
The two companies will continue to release apps throughout 2015.
Why this matters: This isn't the first time Apple has ventured into enterprise, or the first time the company has worked with IBM (remember the PowerPC?). The partnership is still in early days, but with IBM's expertise in enterprise needs like data analytics and Apple's deft design touch, IBM MobileFirst for iOS could become the enterprise suite of tools to beat — and make everyone's lives a lot easier.
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