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IBM Impact: Worklight enables single mobile app development across Android and Apple iOS

30 Apr 2012
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LAS VEGAS: IBM is helping firms that want to go mobile with a series of product releases around application development, security and connectivity.

IBM has wasted no time in exploiting the technology it acquired through its January purchase of mobile app platform provider Worklight, which underpins the Mobile Foundation release.

Big Blue has launched a new set of mobile development and integration tools that will allow businesses to build a single application and then run it across multiple mobile platforms, whether Apple iOS, Google Android or RIM Blackberry, for example.

To support this simplified development approach, IBM has also updated WebSphere Cast Iron. Another acquired product, Cast Iron lets firms connect their mobile apps to cloud services and other back-end systems.

IBM Endpoint Manager has also been refreshed to allow firms to manage up to 250,000 devices, from servers through to smartphones, from a single management console. 

Speaking at the IBM Impact show in Las Vegas on Monday, Bob Sutor, vice president for IBM Mobile Platform, said that Mobile Foundation is a key release for the firm as the number of businesses looking at supporting mobile grows, whether that is developing apps or managing devices.

He noted that on average 61 per cent of IT chiefs feel they should be supporting mobile, adding that in certain industries such as financial services, healthcare and government this number is much higher.

Mobile Foundation’s biggest selling point is that the development work is repeatable, according to Sutor.

“The industry is progressing at different rates for mobile. Banks and insurance companies are already looking at doing their second mobile application. The first was beautiful, but too expensive,” he said.

“They can either buy into one mobile product, or they can use a platform that allows them to build five or 10 or 15 mobile apps. Companies want it to be repeatable.”

In the same way, firms are looking for the web development skills available through their existing software engineering teams to be transferable to the mobile app space, another capability of Mobile Foundation through its support of standards such as HTML5. 

"They don’t want to rewrite the back-end web development platform to do mobile, they want to extend what they’re already doing,” Sutor said.

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Madeline Bennett

Madeline Bennett is editor of V3 and The INQUIRER. Previously, she was editor of IT Week. Prior to becoming a journalist, Madeline was an English teacher at a London secondary school. Madeline is a regular technology commentator on TV and radio, including Sky, BBC and CNN. 

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