LAS VEGAS—IBM announced new software, hardware and services in support of its Smarter Planet strategy, including an extension of its MobileFirst initiative, at the IBM Impact 2013 conference held here April 28 to May 2.
IBM extended its MobileFirst portfolio with the introduction of new mobile analytics capabilities and cloud services that enable users to design more engaging mobile offerings to reach customers, partners and employees in new and compelling ways. As a result, mobile apps can be constantly tailored to meet the needs of the specific audience they are trying to reach.
Introduced in February, IBM MobileFirst is a collection of mobile enterprise software, services, cloud and analytics capabilities that help a corporation design, deploy, secure and manage mobile strategies and apps.
According to IDC, the market for mobile enterprise infrastructure software and services was $14.5 billion in 2012 and will grow at a compound annual rate of 16.3 percent to reach $30.9 billion in 2016.
In addition, using mobile analytics to collect usage data is an effective way for companies to create a better user experience and target their customers. IBM's MobileFirst platform speeds the process of building apps by enabling companies to integrate analytics and capture the complete on-device experience of how customers are using apps, including insight into gestures, dwell time and navigation.
The IBM MobileFirst platform also now includes geo-location services for developers. Now, geo-location triggers can be used to extend applications to take contextual action based on a user's location to provide personalized service. Featuring a new toolkit, developers can more efficiently monitor battery and network bandwidth. Additionally, newly integrated mobile app-testing capabilities enable organizations to improve app quality while reducing the effort needed to test across different mobile platforms.
Moreover, as mobile apps proliferate, the cloud has also emerged as a key enabler of this growth. Cloud delivery of mobile applications accelerates time-to-value and speed-to-market, making the availability of new capabilities instantaneous. According to a recent MarketsandMarkets report, mobile cloud services are estimated to grow from $216.5 million in 2012 to $7.7 billion in 2017.
To help organizations take advantage of this opportunity, IBM is also introducing new cloud services for mobile so that companies can focus on creating compelling user experiences, rather than spending time on back-end connectivity and integration issues. This includes a new mobile marketing service that helps organizations create digital passes for employees in Apple's Passbook. Accessed through the cloud, the service enables organizations to quickly design and issue passes for loyalty, events, ticketing, payments and more without having to purchase on-premise development tools.
In related news, IBM's recently announced acquisition of UrbanCode will also help its clients tap into new opportunities in mobile. Based in Cleveland, UrbanCode automates the delivery of software, helping businesses quickly release and update mobile, social, big data and cloud-based apps. UrbanCode's software is designed to simplify and speed the entire software development and delivery process for businesses. This also is important in terms of the "API economy," said Marie Wieck, general manager of WebSphere at IBM.
IBM said mobile computing represents one of the greatest opportunities for organizations to expand their business. Based on nearly 1,000 customer engagements, 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the last four years, a team of thousands of mobile experts and 270 patents in wireless innovations, IBM MobileFirst offers an array of solutions that helps businesses connect, secure, manage and develop mobile networks, infrastructures and applications.