MWC 2015: A Race for the Best Approach to Killer Apps

Charlotte Dunlap
Charlotte Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • MADP vendors roll out mobile applications to validate platforms.
  • Newer entrants challenge traditional forms of app development.

Showing off innovative mobile applications has become a way for vendors to validate the sophistication of their mobile app platforms. We saw SAP do this two years ago with its analytics-driven football league apps based on the SMP platform, and IBM and Apple have been showcasing their newest application collaborations founded on the IBM MobileFirst platform during this week’s Mobile World Congress. The partners expect to have 100 such advanced mobile applications by year-end.

Futuristic mobile applications help us dare to dream of what life could be like. Who knew when Pivotal Labs built the first Uber car service mobile apps that such a mobile-driven model could shake the taxicab business to its core? As a frequent flier, the prospect of data-driven mobile applications used by the airline industry to improve my flying experience thrills me. Similarly, when I watch the demo of apps co-created by IBM and Apple, it’s staggering to imagine the ramifications of early response emergency teams having access to real-time video and up-to-date information as a factor in determining how to react to particular situations.

From a developer perspective, the choice of underlying platforms varies widely between application platforms providers. Pivotal Labs is challenging more traditional PaaS and MADP/MEAP approaches through technology stemming from its acquisition of Xtreme Labs. Under the Xtreme Programming project within Pivotal, engineers embrace the ‘Agile’ methodology and continuous delivery to create enterprise applications that can stand up to today’s real-time demands.

It’s a new world in the architectural design process of these new applications. IBM and Apple sat down not with the airlines’ IT operations teams, but with the flight attendants who are in the trenches with passengers every day. Mobile consultant EPAM is also keen on close collaboration between engineers and the worker bees of the organization. Using an approach referred to as ‘Contextual Inquiry,’ EPAM’s mobile application architects have gone to the mat to ensure their customers receive the most effective user experience, including spending a week on the road with long-haul truck drivers to get a first-hand account of their pain-points and to see the possibilities of mobile apps that would improve their work experience.

Vendors are convinced the more apps they roll out, the more customers will clamor for them or risk being left behind against competitors that are offering clients advanced consumer experiences.

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