iOS 11’s Enterprise Impact: AR, Machine Learning Makes Waves

Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt
Posted: 09/19/2017
iOS 11

As is the case with all Apple product launches, the tech world was abuzz this month with release of the iPhone 8, which now comes in three variations. But what’s really unique about Apple’s latest flagship product is its operating system offerings, as iOS 11 shows itself to be a masterclass in handheld capabilities.

In the past, iOS updates and deployments were meant to fix patches and bring about upgraded features. With iOS 11, however, the new system is being rolled out alongside the iPhone 8 for a new experience. While Apple has appealed to the masses globally on the consumer end, it has also picked up steam in recent years in the enterprise, which begs the question: what does the latest and greatest offer the business world?

As previously reported by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, a recent survey showed some 82% of enterprise mobility moments were done inside the iOS platform, compared to just 18% on Android. Those figures seem to be a direct result of the shift by enterprises into a Bring Your Own Device landscape, which MarketsandMarkets predicts will have a presence in 50% of businesses by the end of 2017.

Updated security features and retooled messaging apps will certainly help enterprises move forward with iOS 11, but there are other features that could potentially be game changers as technology use emerges in business.

“The most notable (update) is Apple’s implementation of its ARKit which will offer developers the opportunity to integrate sophisticated augmented reality features directly into applications,” said Eric Klein, Director of Mobile Research at VDC Research. “Developers have been busy creating apps using the ARKit.”

Specifically, Klein says, there are two components that will transform the way developers work with iOS 11:

  • Core ML: Core ML is Apple’s machine learning framework that allows developers to create applications with features such as face tracking / detection, text detection, barcode detection, object tracking, and image registration. Developers can use this framework to integrate machine learning models into their apps and leverage CPU and GPU to achieve the highest level of efficiency and performance.
  • ARKit: This is a framework that gives developers the ability to build complex augmented reality features into applications using visual inertial odometry (VIO). Using an iPhone/iPad’s camera and motion sensors, the kit finds specific points within an environment, and pins objects to these specific points changing the landscape and perspective of the environment you’re in. VIO integrates this camera sensor data with CoreMotion data and allows the device to detect how it moves within a room using advance accuracy and no additional calibration.

“The introduction of Core ML and ARKit by Apple will enable the company to move beyond the traditional 2D smartphone camera without implementing costly and complex software engineering, and generate additional opportunities not just on the consume side but the enterprise side as well,” Klein said. “Many software developers see AR as being a huge advantage for enterprises to improve workflows and be more efficient, and Apple’s new ARKit will likely become the largest seller of AR devices given the large base of existing users and developers they have.”

As previously reported by Enterprise Mobility Exchange, Apple partnered with IBM to create a swarm of business-focused mobile apps, including case-specific products such as the one rolled out in late 2016 that helps Finnair mechanics and technicians complete assignments and ensure safety on the company’s aircrafts.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will begin shipping September 22, with price points at $699 and $799 respectively. The iPhone X will range from $999 to $1,149, depending on upgraded features.

The X loses the home button, which will certainly be a change of pace for iPhone loyalists, and is taking advantage of facial recognition technologies for enhanced security features. Clearly this is a benefit to the enterprise user as a lost or stolen device already has a built-in protection scheme unique to its owner.

Will iOS 11 and the latest iteration of the iPhone models be enough to make waves in the enterprise? Are there enough upgrades to convert Android and Windows users? Let us know in the comments. 

Jason Koestenblatt
Contributor: Jason Koestenblatt