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February 23, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 4:58pm

IBM and VMware join EMM app standards effort for iOS

News: Community has more than 60 customers including Box and Cisco.

By Alexander Sword

A newly formed AppConfig Community is setting up a common industry standard for enterprise app configuration and security for the iOS platform.

The community members, including IBM MaaS360, MobileIron, VMware AirWatch and JAMF Casper Suite, will create tools, best practices and educational forums to simplify app development and deployment and accelerate the adoption of business apps.

Developers have previously had to use proprietary software development kits (SDKs) to enable configuration and security features of apps through EMM.

The key difference is that whatever enterprise mobility solution is used by a company, the same app will work, making the journey much smoother for developers.

The Community has also announced an open XML schema for iOS enterprise app configurations, which aims to streamline app deployment by helping developers define app configurations across apps and for businesses to consistently deploy these configurations.

This means that apps built for iOS using native frameworks and the XML schema will work consistently across all participating EMM providers.

The more than 60 customers of the Community include Box, Cisco, Oracle, Salesforce and Workday.

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Within the enterprise, AppConfig provides four main services. These include app configuration, allowing the auto-configuring of URL and port settings, group codes, email addresses and license keys to eliminate the need to educate end-users about first-time setup.

It also includes the ability to enforce security policies and access control, provides app tunnels and enables single sign-ons across enterprise apps using existing identity management solutions.

"By standardising the way apps are built and delivered, the AppConfig Community will accelerate the pace of mobile transformation," said Dean Hager, CEO at JAMF.

"The AppConfig Community is important for both iOS developers and IT leaders who need to build, secure and deploy enterprise apps at scale. Our partnership with Apple and the cofounding of this new community, further drives our mission to help enable business transformation with impactful enterprise apps," said Jim Brennan, director of Strategy and Offering Management for MaaS360, IBM.

Speaking to CBR last year, Cathal McGloin, VP of mobile platforms at Red Hat said that this lack of standards was due to the way mobile had emerged in the enterprise.

"Because mobile crept into the enterprise, everybody just did their own thing and there were no standards. In the same way, when the web came out, there were no standard products for, say, web servers and everybody built their own," he said.

"Eventually over time, standards emerged [for the web]. We think the same will happen with mobile."


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