IBM, AT&T Partner to Help Enterprises Build Better Mobile Apps

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-06-04

IBM, AT&T Partner to Help Enterprises Build Better Mobile Apps

ORLANDO, Fla.—IBM and AT&T announced they are working together to help businesses develop more network-efficient mobile apps.

Announced at its IBM Innovate 2013 conference here, the new integration of AT&T and IBM technology enables enterprises to conduct comprehensive testing and analysis of their apps' network and battery usage on mobile devices and quickly make necessary changes, creating higher-quality, better performing mobile apps, Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of Middleware Software in IBM Software Group, told eWEEK. LeBlanc said the integration plays into IBM's DevOps strategy.

Big Blue officials said IBM clients will be able to determine how their enterprise mobile app is performing on any wireless network, and then improve performance through development tools. The integration of AT&T's Application Resource Optimizer (ARO) with IBM's software development solution for Collaborative Lifecycle Management (CLM) expands the development capabilities of the IBM MobileFirst strategy.

"ARO tackles a fundamental coding challenge developers face today—finding and fixing performance and power bottlenecks that detract from a great user experience," Carlton Hill, vice president of developer services at AT&T, said in a statement. "ARO can help developers create apps that conserve battery life, load pages faster and consume network resources in a smarter way, all of which improve the customer experience."

AT&T's ARO is a free, carrier-agnostic, open-source diagnostic tool that enables developers to analyze the performance of their apps—whether they are business or consumer apps. Launched in January 2012, ARO is now used by more than 1,500 developers, and users are seeing better results across the board, from a 35 percent reduction in excess data usage to apps that run up to 60 percent faster. Improving app performance and creating better customer experiences, ARO saved more than 500 terabytes of data in its first year, AT&T officials said.

ARO enables developers to diagnose previously undetectable inefficiencies in app-to-network interaction. It can identify the events happening at multiple layers within an app and pinpoint inefficient resource usage. ARO can then make specific recommendations on how developers can optimize their apps to improve performance, speed and battery utilization while also minimizing the network impact.

Rapid growth in mobile computing is driving demand for faster and more frequent software delivery with rapid response to customer feedback, increasingly achieved with a continuous delivery, or DevOps, approach. User choice and ease of movement mean that performance speed and quality are of the essence for businesses, said LeBlanc, who has ultimate responsibility over IBM's MobileFirst initiative.

A sluggish, battery-draining and high data-consuming app can cripple customer relationships and an enterprise's ability to conduct business. By testing for these pitfalls early, businesses will now be able to develop apps that are battery life- and data network-friendly, increasing customer use and satisfaction.


IBM, AT&T Partner to Help Enterprises Build Better Mobile Apps

"Businesses are challenged with the need to provide rich mobile applications, while avoiding device power and network usage pitfalls that frustrate and turn away customers," said Kristof Kloeckner, general manager of IBM Rational Software, in a statement. "With today's news, we are advancing our DevOps strategy in support of better mobile application delivery."

Built on an open-source platform and independent of any specific wireless carrier, ARO provides direct feedback to developers about how their app is behaving on any network, allowing them to test and deliver apps with improved battery life, faster response times and more efficient network handling. In addition to graphically presenting network, device, application and user behaviors and interactions, ARO also applies radio and power models to provide feedback about exactly where power and data drains are happening.

By linking ARO analysis with mobile development capabilities from IBM, development and testing teams will be able to run battery and data analysis, instantly creating a set of defects in the Rational CLM solution with one click. With this comprehensive view, directly from customer usage models, business analysts will be able to plan for new requirements, developers will understand which areas need improvement around network and battery usage, and testers will be better enable to communicate about defects with the operations team. This streamlined, click-through process has the option to be partially automated through Rational Test Workbench, and even further optimized by virtualizing services not available or ready for testing, increasing overall productivity.

The IBM Collaborative Lifecycle Management solution enables development teams to create high-quality software through collaboration across teams, and breaks down silos causing delays in development work. CLM is built on the IBM open lifecycle integration platform Jazz, which provides requirements management, quality management, testing, change and configuration management, project planning and tracking in a single environment, and can be linked and synchronized with existing tools organizations may be using today.

In February, IBM and AT&T announced an expanded relationship to provide software developers with a set of new tools to create and deploy next-generation mobile apps. Under that partnership, the companies said customers would benefit from access to secure, high-quality apps, including those featuring speech-recognition and mobile-payment capabilities.


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