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

IBM’s new integration with AT&T advances IBM’s DevOps play and enhances the IBM MobileFirst strategy for app development.

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.