Telogis and Apple partner to improve the iPhone's enterprise chops

It's part of a long line of deals to boost iOS's business capabilities

Apple has lined up a growing list of partners to help it improve the enterprise capabilities of its mobile devices. Now it's turned to Telogis, a provider of software solutions for managing fleets of mobile workers, which will refine its existing iOS apps and build new experiences for Apple's mobile platforms.

Partnerships like this one, and existing deals with IBM and Cisco, are key if Apple wants to see the iPhone and iPad take greater hold in the business world without trying to build its own broad portfolio of enterprise capabilities in-house.

Telogis has developers in Texas and New Zealand working on applications with counterparts back at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, said CEO David Cozzens. A major focus of the partnership has been changing the user experience of Telogis's products, like its Navigation app for commercial wayfinding. This goes beyond the basic route mapping found in Apple Maps, to take into account factors like the size and weight of a large truck when directing it to a destination.

The two companies have been working together for more than two years, and Cozzens said that it has led to major innovations like building an Apple Watch app for one of its products.

While the Apple Watch may seem like an odd choice for a business to deploy to its employees at a large scale --the wearables are far from cheap -- Cozzens said that the watch provides a number of key features that can help companies that need to abide by "lone worker" laws that require checking up on employees. For example, companies could use heartbeat data from the watch to tell if their workers are okay, rather than using a check-in call.

He expects more enterprise software makers to build applications for Apple's wearable device, and Telogis will be looking into building applications for other wearables in the future, too.

Cozzens said that the company will still make applications for other operating systems in order to serve their customers, so businesses that allow users to bring their own devices or have a large deployment of Android devices will still be able to get value out of them through Telogis's platform.

"What's different about this is that there's no reason we wouldn't want to work together with Apple to bring compelling, differentiated products to market, to solve these types of problems for our customers by working in partnership," Cozzens said.
"But ultimately, the decision [about what mobile platform to use] is going to be our customers'."

The news comes as Apple is slated to announce its quarterly financial results. Building up the company's enterprise credibility has been a worthwhile endeavor for CEO Tim Cook, who said last month that Apple's enterprise sales totaled US$25 billion over a year-long period, not counting the devices people brought to work themselves.

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