IBM, AT&T team on IBM MobileFirst offering

IBM doubling investment in mobile software, services this year, official says

IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled Thursday its IBM MobileFirst portfolio that includes mobile security, analytics, application development software, and cloud-based services.

As part of the MobileFirst launch, IBM is expanding its partnership with AT&T (NYSE: T) to provide developers with tools to create mobile apps and services for enterprise customers, including features such as speech recognition and mobile payment capabilities.

As part of the partnership, AT&T will tap into the research at AT&T Labs across of range of IBM's mobile platforms, including the IBM Worklight mobile app platform.

AT&T's application programming interface platform, along with IBM Worklight adapters, will enable the 31,000 members of the AT&T developer program to create and deploy enterprise apps for IBM's customers. These adapters include speech, texting, and device capabilities, as well as notary management and payment.

The expanded IBM-AT&T partnership is one aspect of the broader IBM MobileFirst initiative, explained Ed Brill, market director of IBM Mobile Enterprise.

"Through MobileFirst, we expect organizations will be able to position themselves for the business of mobile and be able to capture additional business opportunity that is exploding," Brill told FierceMobileIT. Brill said that IBM is doubling its investment in mobile software, services and ecosystem this year.

In the software area, the MobileFirst initiative includes a mobile app platform, mobile access and app security products, mobile device management, and mobile analytics. In the area of services, IBM MobileFirst includes advising enterprises on mobile strategies, mobile infrastructure and mobile applications portfolios. And in the ecosystem area, IBM is rolling out new mobile resources and programs for business partners, developers, and academics.

IBM MobileFirst builds on experience with nearly 1,000 customers, assisting them to become mobile enterprises, and leverages thousands of mobile experts, 270 patents in wireless innovations, and 10 mobile-related acquisitions in the past four years. 

IBM, along with Accenture and Infosys, were recently ranked at the top of the enterprise mobility services market by Forrester. The firms have strong positions in enterprise applications, social, cloud, analytics and other areas that "take mobility from a standalone discipline to a transformation investment for clients," the report said.

At least one analyst thinks IBM MobileFirst is a "really big deal." The new mobile portfolio includes cloud, big data and social components, as well as app development and device management, explained James Governor with RedMonk.

"Every mobile engagement IBM does with a client is going to have significant pull through in other areas. In that respect, IBM's mobile commitment is somewhat like its Linux commitment back in the day. IBM won't make money directly selling a mobile operating system (it will leave that space to the likes of Google), but in associated revenue streams and product lines," Governor wrote in a blog

For more:
- see IBM's MobileFirst and AT&T partnership releases
- read Governor's blog

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