Daily links for 05/31/2012

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Daily links for 05/30/2012

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Mobile: Build, Connect, Manage, Secure, Extend, Transform

In various IBM presentations about mobile starting at the Impact conference at the end of April, we’ve been using a slide that looks like this:

IBM Mobile Strategy

I’m going to give a quick introduction to some of the terms on the slide and what we mean by them.

Client Mobile Initiatives

From IBM’s perspective, what is the client trying to do with mobile and why might they want to talk to IBM about it? In an earlier draft of this we used the phrase “client mobile entry points.” This wasn’t always clear to people, but it did convey the idea that a customer is starting from one very specific aspect of mobile and wants to have a discussion about that. The three areas on the slide intersect all parts of the mobile lifecycle.

Now let’s start in the upper right corner and move clockwise.

Build and Connect

It is often the development or IT staff that begins here.

Where do mobile apps come from? What is necessary to construct the part of the app that lives on the device, smartphone or tablet, and the part that lives on the server on the backend? What tools are available for the developer for the full application lifecycle? How about testing for all the mobile operating systems and devices? For the device, what framework will allow you to have exactly the right balance of native code and HTML5 to give you the functionality, performance, and portability you need? How will you handle having apps for at least Apple iOS and Android? On the server side, can you use Java to create the code to support whatever you mobile app is supposed to do?

Regarding connectivity, this includes from the device to the backend and then also among the backend systems, applications, and databases to which you need to communicate. Having a system that can talk primarily to only one kind of backend system might seem expedient today but will possibly not support everything you want to do with future mobile apps. Having a mobile server that sits in the corner and has only weak integration with your services, messaging systems, and enterprise services busses is not really being enterprise-ready.

Manage and Secure

It is often the operational IT staff or CIO’s office that begins here.

It can be very hard at times to separate all the capabilities needed for security, application management, and device management. I think it is a very smart career move to become highly proficient in all the elements of mobile security.

Almost everything you can use for security for the web, you can use for mobile. You need to manage security at the device level, at the individual app level, over the network, and within the enterprise infrastructure. Since mobile devices will increasingly be used for portions of sophisticated attacks from many directions and sources, you’ll need security intelligence based on analytics that can correlate, detect, and shutdown such attacks.

The area of data separation is getting a lot of attention these days through techniques like partitioning, containerization, and virtualization. We’ve seen many ways of doing this, especially for Android, and I’m waiting to see what Apple might do in this area.

It’s best to catch security problems before your app goes out the door.

At Impact I heard an estimate that there were close to 100 Mobile Device Management vendors out there. Choose carefully for the long term, especially if this is your most important and earliest mobile project.

Extend and Transform

This is place where the business side usually starts. Geolocation from the mobile device is frequently necessary for these apps to differentiate themselves from laptop alternatives.

Many customers are extending existing applications or channels to mobile. Have an online retail website? Create, or have someone else create, a dedicated and branded mobile app that allows catalog browsing and purchases.

If you are a bank, similarly create a mobile app but decide what functionality should be in there. I might apply for a mortgage from within my laptop’s browser but I won’t be doing it from my smartphone.

So extend means to take what you’ve got and add a mobile dimension. This is increasingly becoming table stakes, or required, for B2C enterprises. Many companies are focusing on doing this and many people are getting paid to help them do it.

For me, “transform” is the really interesting one of these two, however essential “extend” is. This means combining multiple services to create significant added value. Put another way,

a transformational mobile app is one that significantly improves the quality of your personal or business life, allowing you to do things you have never done before, and permitting you to be more effective and productive in an especially seamless way.

Transformational apps often pull in social and commerce aspects, backed by analytics. They may involve partnering between players in difference industries such as financial services, hospitality, retail, healthcare, government, and travel and transportation.

Daily links for 05/18/2012

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Daily links for 05/16/2012

  • “According to Price Waterhouse Coopers’ latest Digital IQ survey, 66% of organizations are investing in mobile technologies for their employees. But these businesses are reacting to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon, most are not preparing for it.”

    tags: mobile

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Daily links for 05/12/2012

  • “Innovate 2012 will show you how to harness the power of software-driven innovation to deliver smarter products and improve business outcomes. IBM Rational will share the stage with customers, business partners and your peers to show you how you can make the most of your investments now by managing complexity, lowering risk, and driving down costs.”

    tags: ibm

  • “Sources tell 9to5Mac that Apple will abandon Google’s mapping back-end in the next major iteration of iOS, replacing it with a brand-new mapping application powered by Apple technology. We’ve independently confirmed that this is indeed the case. Sources describe the new Maps app as a forthcoming tentpole feature of iOS that will, in the words of one, “blow your head off.” I’m not quite sure what that means, and the source in question declined to elaborate, but it’s likely a reference to the photorealistic 3-D mapping tech Apple acquired when it purchased C3 Technologies. C3 did use missile-targeting technology to develop its gorgeous 3-D models of major cities, so …”

    tags: apple map ios

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Daily links for 05/10/2012

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What I learned about mobile at IBM Impact 2012

In this post I talk about IBM mobile products and what happened at a large IBM conference. As a result, it is more specific to IBM’s offerings than some of my other blog entries.

This week I’ve been in Las Vegas at the IBM Impact conference. The days have been a blur of meetings with partners, customers, and colleagues from around the world. We’ve talked about the new PureApplication System and updates across the software portfolio for connectivity, integration, business process and decision management, and application integration.

The Liberty Profile in the new WebSphere Application Server version 8.5 has been an especially hot topic. Conversations about that often go something like “It takes up less than 50Mb. Wow! It loads in 5 seconds. Show me! You can develop with it on your Mac. IBM did that?”

We’ve also had quite a few conversations about mobile and I’ve learned a lot.

Now I’m one of the executive leaders for mobile at IBM and I discussed it (briefly) on the main stage on Tuesday, gave an hour+ talk on “Top 11 Trends for Mobile Enterprise,” did press interviews and a panel with journalists, and challenged and was challenged by industry analysts on the topic. So I had a lot to say about mobile. But more than whatever I said, I learned an incredible amount of what our customers and partners are doing with mobile today. We also discussed how IBM’s new mobile products, IBM Worklight 5.0 and the IBM Mobile Foundation, could be essential to them over the next few years.

Here’s a bit of what I learned.

System integrators are looking to pick the one or two best mobile platforms on which to focus their efforts. The hybrid mobile app development model in IBM Worklight is very appealing because of its open standards and technology approach, and because it allows the creation of everything from pure native apps to those that are mostly HTML5 content.

Security and app management are critically important. Both IBM Worklight and Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices, included in the IBM Mobile Foundation, have capabilities that address this. In some organizations, the BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, movement is accelerating their concerns but also their need to react quickly. My suggestion is to consider security and device management as extensions of what you already do for your website, web applications, and hardware like laptops and servers. Don’t think of mobile as this odd new thing, consider it as adding on to what you do already.

Partners have started building mobile apps on Worklight, often without any initial guidance from IBM. This is wonderful. It reaffirms what we knew when we acquired the company earlier this year: Worklight is an elegant product that you can use to create mobile apps for multiple device types, connecting them securely to your backend infrastructure.

Mobile apps are not islands. That is, don’t think of a mobile app server as something that sits in the corner by itself while the rest of your infrastructure is elsewhere. We included IBM WebSphere Cast Iron in the IBM Mobile Foundation because we knew that customers and clients needed to have apps talk to enterprise applications like SAP but also services that run on clouds.

Infrastructure support for a mobile app could be very little or might need to be very large. IBM Worklight 5.0 will ship the Liberty Profile of WebSphere Application Server in the box. So you get small and fast. If you have an existing WebSphere Application Server ND deployment, you can put IBM Worklight right on top of that. This includes WebSphere running on System z mainframes using Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Mobile can extend your business. If you have a web presence for retail, mobile can extend that. If you are a bank and have ATMs, mobile can extend some of those functions to mobile devices. If you have automotive repair shops, mobile can increase customer trust and loyalty.

Mobile can transform your business. Your first mobile apps will enable some core functionality, but later apps and versions may bring in social, analytics, commerce, and industry-specific elements. Don’t think of just an air travel app, think of one that helps me use my time in airports productively and eat healthily.

So to sum it up: mobile is surging for good reasons, customers and partners are asking the right questions, IBM Worklight is appealing to them as platform on which to build multiple mobile apps, we think the IBM Mobile Foundation is a solid base on which construct your mobile enterprise, and I’m looking forward to showcasing the many, many mobile apps created by and for our customers and partners at Impact 2013.

Daily links for 05/02/2012

  • IBM has been steadily investing in the mobile space for more than a decade, both organically and through acquisitions: building a complete portfolio of software and services that delivers enterprise-ready mobility for clients. Increasingly, enterprises are reaching beyond their traditional IT boundaries by consuming new Cloud services and creating new mobile applications for employees and customers for broad consumption by customers, partners and developers.”

    tags: ibm mobile foundation

  • “IBM also added ways for enterprises to bring their current data and services to mobile devices. New capabilities in IBM DataPower appliances are designed to help IT departments quickly bring their existing resources to mobile devices. WebSphere Cast Iron, based on technology the company acquired through its 2010 buyout of hybrid cloud software vendor Cast Iron, can help enterprises link mobile applications to clouds and other back-end infrastructure, according to IBM.”

    tags: ibm mobile

  • “Looking to give solution providers a leg up in the mobile computing market that is expected to grow from $22 billion in 2012 to $36 billion by 2015, IBM today rolled out Mobile Foundation, a portfolio of IBM mobile computing technologies that are designed to simplify the management of mobile computing and applications in the enterprise.”

    tags: ibm foundation mobile

  • “Building on its recent acquisition of Worklight, the new foundation further expands IBM’s strategy to provide clients with a mobile platform that spans application development, integration, security and management. For example, using the IBM Mobile Foundation, an airline can transform the way it interacts with its customers by establishing a secure two-way relationship with mobile applications, IBM said. Now, they can use their applications not only to keep customers apprised of their travel plans and current weather conditions, but also send push-notifications to alert them if there are changes or opportunities for upgrades. This is all made possible by deep integration into the airlines’ back-end systems and relevant cloud services.”

    tags: ibm mobile

  • “IBM has wasted no time in exploiting the technology it acquired through its January purchase of mobile apps platform provider Worklight, which underpins the new Mobile Foundation release. At its Impact show in Las Vegas on Monday, the firm launched a new set of mobile tools that let developers build a single application and then run it across multiple mobile platforms, such as Apple‘s IOS, Google‘s Android and RIM’s Blackberry.:

    tags: ibm mobile

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