A second wave of mobile enterprise apps from IBM and Apple puts a focus on the healthcare industry, with new tools for hospital nurses and home care service professionals. Other new MobileFirst apps are designed for industrial, retail, insurance and airline users.
IBM and Apple announced their new mobile enterprise partnership last year, and rolled out their first wave of apps in December. The goal is to eventually develop and release more than 100 mobile apps for enterprise iOS users in a wide range of industries.
By combining forces, the companies aim to help enterprise customers make more effective use of iPads and iPhones in the workplace by integrating these devices with IBM's big data and analytics capabilities. Among the companies already using the initial MobileFirst apps are Air Canada, Banorte, Citi and Sprint. The UK-based chain Boots has also started using an app to provide retail assistants with real-time data on stock availability, in-store ordering and other services for customers.
Coordinating Healthcare Teams
Released with little fanfare this time around, the second wave of iOS enterprise apps includes four new tools for the healthcare industry: Hospital RN, Hospital Lead, Hospital Tech and Home RN. According to IBM, the new offerings are designed to reduce costs, help coordinate care across multiple teams and "empower healthcare workers with unprecedented support so they can focus on patient care."
Hospital RN, for example, lets nurses use their iPhones to access patient diagnoses and care plans, manage discharge orders, view patient requests, receive safety alerts and optimize task planning with other staff members. It also allows RNs to access location-specific iBeacon technology, which displays relevant data about different patients based on the proximity of their rooms.
Similar information and task management services are available to other healthcare workers through Hospital Lead (for charge nurses and care managers), Hospital Tech (for nursing assistants and technicians) and Home RN (for home-based nurses). These apps are designed to help different healthcare professionals better work as teams and provide a new level of coordinated care, according to IBM.
On Track for 100 Apps
Among the other new MobileFirst apps are Rapid Handover, designed to help industrial foremen manage shift workers, monitor equipment status and handle safety and productivity tasks; Order Commit, for retail merchants who need to track vendor purchases and performance; and Risk Inspect, which helps insurance inspectors access records and claims histories, and record notes, photos, audio and video on site with their iPads.
Another new app, Ancillary Sale, aims to help airline flight attendants build customer loyalty by using their iPhones to provide personalized services and upgrades to passengers in flight based on past purchasing behaviors.
A spokesperson for IBM's Global Business Services told us that the addition of the latest eight MobileFirst apps means there are now 22 offerings that have been released through the partnership with Apple. The companies are on track to deliver 100 iOS business apps by the end of the year, she said.
So far, the MobileFirst apps cover nine industries: banking/financial markets; energy/utilities; government; healthcare; industrial products; insurance; retail; telecommunications; and travel/transportation. Development of the next wave of apps is well underway, the spokesperson added.