IBM Takes MobileFirst Approach to Education, Banking

IBM's MobileFirst technology provides flexibility, compliance and more for IT staff, employees and end users in a range of industries.

IBM MobileFirst

IBM is using its MobileFirst technology to transform user experiences in a variety of situations from education to financial services.

Big Blue announced it is working with Bancroft, a provider of specialized services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to manage a new cloud-based educational program.

In a new MobileFirst-based environment, educational staff and students can now access a library of more than 300 educational and clinical apps via an iPad more securely. The program puts mobile apps in the hands of classroom teachers, clinical staff and school administrators to better engage with students and improve the learning experience.

Bancroft recently initiated an iPad program that enables its special education team to use instructional apps to teach students basic subjects, such as math and English, and assistive technology apps to help students with disabilities overcome physical challenges.

"iPads and apps are truly revolutionary tools for the Bancroft community," said Beth Greer, a Bancroft Assistive & Instructional Technology specialist and special education teacher, in a statement. "Given the number of apps we use, successful app management is essential to our program's success. We simply could not manage and securely deploy our iPad program without IBM."

Bancroft is using IBM MaaS360, a mobile management and security offering that is part of the IBM MobileFirst portfolio, to help secure and monitor the iPads and easily manage app updates. By delivering mobile apps over a cloud rather than relying on traditional paper textbooks and on-premise learning software, therapists and educators have greater flexibility to update and customize Bancroft students' curriculum.

Moreover, students' families can potentially save thousands of dollars each year by using widely available and free interactive learning apps versus expensive and traditional educational materials, such as books and PC-based software.

Additionally, IBM said Bancroft clinical staff uses iPads to improve their ability to make decisions about the health and well being of students outside the classroom—including conducting therapy sessions and creating personalized development programs.

And because the institution has to adhere to strict confidentiality standards and HIPAA compliance requirements, the IBM MaaS360 offering enables Bancroft IT staff to remotely lock and wipe data if a device is lost or compromised in any way. The school has also been able to cut the time the help desk spends managing apps by at least two days a month.

IBM has helped Bancroft open new worlds for students, families and Bancroft staff. Greer cites an example of a five-year-old student in the school's early education program who struggled for months to pair cardboard pictures of matching objects. Using an iPad, the girl immediately matched photos. "Her teachers were in tears – they'd worked so hard with her and to see her accomplish this task was a joyful moment for them," she said.

"Bancroft's use of cloud-based mobile technology is enabling growth in individuals who have been challenged to speak or write before, which is truly transformational," said Michael King, vice president of Global Education Industry at IBM, in a statement. "Through flexible, efficient and centralized iPad management, the school's staff can now focus their efforts on education and improving lives of and outcomes for students – instead of debugging computers, constantly upgrading software and solving other IT problems."

Meanwhile, in the financial services arena, IBM is working with Busan Bank, in South Korea, to create a set of secure, customized mobile apps that will improve employee productivity and decision making to enhance the customer experience.

Busan Bank selected the IBM MobileFirst application development portfolio to create a secure platform that enables developers to create rich, easy-to-use apps for multiple devices. The new solutions empower employees to rapidly on-board new customers and complete transactions from the field to establish more personal relationships with banking customers.

"To stay competitive, it is critical we offer compelling mobile solutions to both our customers and our employees, while meeting strict security standards," said Oh Nam Hwan, CIO of Busan Bank, in a statement. "With IBM, our investments in mobile are helping to create a more rewarding professional work environment for our employees that not only increases job satisfaction, but also creates new touch points with customers for more valuable, interactive relationships."

Busan Bank employees using the new apps can streamline customer on-boarding processes by creating a collaborative, consultative experience that blends customers' personal financial goals with available banking products. Employees can complete applications, transfer funds and more from mobile devices. The mobile platform will integrate apps with the bank's back-end systems and databases so that customer information is accessible across devices and in real time to further improve customer responsiveness, IBM said.

"Our mission is to transform the way people work with a designed-for-mobile app approach infused with big data and analytics to drive a new generation of empowered employees," said Glenn Finch, global leader of the Technology and Data Practice for IBM Global Business Services, in a statement. "With the IBM MobileFirst portfolio, Busan Bank is creating a secure, flexible mobile platform to help employees be more productive and responsive, while laying the groundwork for long-term customer loyalty."