German regulator effectively confirms IBM/T-Systems talks

As it does from time-to-time, German regulator Bundeskartellamt has published a list of mergers and acquisitions which is evaluating. IBM and T-Systems are lucky enough to make the list.

Reports of the discussions emerged over the weekend, with IBM rumoured to be considering taking the mainframe service business unit off the hands of the struggling T-Systems. Although the specifics of the deal are not completely clear right now, it would hardly be a surprise to learn T-Systems is attempting to slim the business down.

On the Bundeskartellamt website, there is a page which lists some of the main transactions which the regulator is considering in its role as merger overseer. These are mainly deals which are in the ‘first phase’ and usually passed unless there are any competition concerns. Although the description is not detailed, it lists IBM will be acquiring certain assets from T-Systems.

The news was initially broken by German-language newspaper Handelsblatt, quoting an internal email which suggested 400 employees would be transferred to the IBM business in May. Subsequently IT-Zoom has suggested IBM will be paying €860 million for the business unit.

The origins of such a deal can only lead back to one place; the office of T-Systems CEO Adel Al-Saleh. Al-Saleh was initially brought to the firm, having previously worked at IBM for almost two decades, to trim costs and salvage a business unit which, recently, has been nothing but bad news for parent company Deutsche Telekom. Aside from this saga, job cuts of roughly 10,000 have been announced since Al-Saleh’s appointment.

Confirmed back in June, the 10,000 job cuts were a result of a long-time losing battle to the more agile and innovative players such as AWS and Microsoft. Al-Saleh’s objective was to trim the fat, focusing on the more lucrative contracts, as well as more profitable, emerging segments of the IT and telco world.

While T-Systems and IBM do already have an established relationship, it seems options are running thin to make this business work effectively. With headcount going down from 37,000 to 27,000, its footprint dropping from 100 cities to 10 and this deal working through the cogs as we speak, Deutsche Telekom employees will hope this is the last of the bad news. Whether Al-Saleh feels this is enough restructuring to make the business work remains to be seen.

Going under the hood of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855: plenty to like

More details of Qualcomm’s first 5G chipset have been released, bringing all-round improvements, and a 5G chipset for PCs was also announced.

On the first day of its annual Snapdragon Technology Summit, Qualcomm announced its 5G chipset for mobile devices, the Snapdragon 855, but released limited specs. On the following two days more details were disclosed. An SoC for 5G-connected PCs, the Snapdragon 8cx was also unveiled.

In addition to the X50 modem for 5G connectivity (on both mmWave and sub-6GHz frequencies) and X24 modem (to provide LTE connectivity), at the centre of the Snapdragon 855 is ARM’s new flagship Cortex A76 CPU, marketed by Qualcomm as Kryo 485. It contains 8 cores with the single core top performance at 2.84 GHz. Qualcomm claims the 855 is 45% faster than its predecessor 845, though it did not specify what exactly this refers to. More importantly for Qualcomm, the top speed is 9% faster than the Kirin 980 from HiSilicon (a Huawei subsidiary), another 7-nanometre implementation of the ARM Cortex A76.

Also included in the 855 is the new Adreno 640 GPU rendering graphics. Qualcomm has focused 855’s marketing messages on gaming performance, and the GPU is at the core to deliver it. Qualcomm claims the new GPU will enable true HDR gaming, as well as support the HDR10+ and Dolby Vision formats. Together with the display IP, the Adreno 640 GPU will support 120fps gaming as well as smooth 8K 360-degree video playback. Another feature highlighted is the support for Physically Based Rendering in graphics, which will help improve VR and AR experience, including more accurate lighting physics and material interactions, for example more life-like surface texture, or material-on-material audio interaction.

The key new feature on Snapdragon’s Hexagon 690 DSP is that it now includes a dedicated Machine Learning (ML) inferencing engine in the new “tensor accelerator”. The Hexagon 690 also doubles the number of HVX vector pipelines over its predecessors the Hexagon 680 and 685, to include four 1024b vector pipelines. The doubled computing power and the dedicated ML engine combined are expected to improve the Snapdragon 855’s AI capability by a big margin.

The integrated new Spectra 380 image signalling processor (ISP) will both improve the Snapdragon’s capability to deepen acceleration and to save power consumption when processing images. Qualcomm believes the new ISP will only consume a quarter of the power as its predecessor for image object classification, object segmentation, depth sensing (at 60 FPS), augmented reality body tracking, and image stabilisation.

On the OEM collaboration side, in addition to Samsung, on day 2 of the event we also saw Pete Lau, the CEO of Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus come to the stage to endorse the new 5G chipset and vow to be the “first to feature” the Snapdragon 855. Separately, the British mobile operator EE announced that it will range a OnePlus 5G smartphone in the first half of 2019.

On the same day, thousands of miles away, more Chinese smartphone OEMs including Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, and ZTE (in addition to OnePlus) also embraced the new Snapdragon chipset at the China Mobile Global Partner Conference in Guangzhou, southern China. China Mobile will also launch a customer premise equipment (CPE), likely a fixed wireless access modem, using the same platform.

Back in Hawaii, on day 3 of the Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm launched a new chipset for PC: the Snapdragon 8cx (“c” for computer, “x” for eXtreme). This is Qualcomm’s third iteration of chipset for PC, built on ARM v8.1 (a variant of Cortex A76). Similar to the Snapdragon 855, the 8cx also has the X24 integrated cellular modem with for LTE connectivity, and the X50 modem with 5G connectivity can be paired with it. The CPU also has eight cores, with a top speed of 2.75 GHz. The new Adreno 680 GPU is said to process graphics twice as fast as the GPU in the previous generation ARM for Windows chipset (Snapdragon 850) but 60% more efficient in power consumption.

Perhaps the most meaningful change is its memory architecture. The Snapdragon 8cx will have a 128-bit wide interface, enabling it to provide native support for much more software and applications, including Windows 10 Enterprise and Office 365, which clearly is a sales pitch to the corporate IT departments.

Unlike the OEM support garnered by Snapdragon 855, there was no public endorsement by PC makers yet. Lenovo did come to the stage but was only talking about its Yoga 2-in-1 notebooks that have used earlier generations of Snapdragon chipsets for Windows on ARM. On the other hand, Qualcomm does not position Snapdragon 8cx as a replacement for the 850 but rather as a higher end contemporary, with 850 mainly targeted at a niche consumer market.

In general, this year’s Snapdragon Tech Summit has delivered more step change with the new product launches. More concrete industry support was also on show, indicating that, depending on how fast and extensive 5G is to be rolled out, we may start seeing true 5G smartphones in the first half of next year. We may need to wait a bit longer before a reasonable line-up of always-on 5G connected PCs can hit the market.

How to get your business VoIP-connected without stumbling and falling periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Nick Johnson, CEO of Evolving Networks, looks at some of the confusion over connectivity for VoIP and how to overcome it.

Monopolies are seldom evil conspiracies but we all know where they lead – consumers end up with little or no choice and higher costs. Irrespective of industry or product, the monopoly dictates the suppliers, products, services or solutions that suit them, rather than offering what fits the consumer’s precise requirements.

That makes it interesting when disruptors enter the same marketplace and cause everyone to reassess how things are done.

In the IT and telecoms sector, new arrivals are typically more agile, have much greater focus on innovation and are able to offer the market better alternatives, either in terms of cost or functionality, or both. The established providers suddenly realise the upstart presents a real challenge to their cosy monopoly.

The mis-selling of connectivity for VoIP is a good example of this phenomenon. Established enterprise carriers have been operating in a set way for several years, using the age-old principle of fear, uncertainty and doubt to convince organisations they can’t possibly have a VoIP infrastructure with anything less than a leased line. No, to do so is just is out of the question.

This hidebound view that VoIP will only work with a leased line was certainly valid a decade ago. Now, however, with the emergence of better technology, better connectivity, and the arrival of innovators in the market with proven solutions, the customer has a wealth of other options. Gaining ground fast is multi-path ethernet delivered via an uncontended, multi-VNO access network with seamless integration of software and monitoring. It makes VoIP work brilliantly and the pedlars of leased lines are, at the very least, mistaken, when they say it won’t.

This optimised capability is especially worth considering when there is an increased push for VoIP in light of BT’s commitment to stop selling ISDN lines and public switched telephone network (PSTN) circuits by 2020. The technology is set to be switched off altogether by 2025.

Nobody can doubt that in today’s business environment connectivity is critical; there’s simply no way around that. It is used to access applications and systems, unite staff and connect an increasingly mobile workforce. As a result, quality, speed and resilience are three non-negotiables.

VoIP’s main requirement is quality. When communicating via VoIP with colleagues, prospects and stakeholders, quality is critical which means no lags, jags or inconsistent connectivity. Not only is a leased line expensive, depending on location, it certainly won’t offer the resilience and quality needed.

So, can quality and reliability be achieved without resorting to paying for a leased line? Why can’t VoIP work on multi-path ethernet (aggregated) connections like FTTC?

The answer to that question is simple: it can. VoIP works perfectly well on multi-path connections. This is welcome news for businesses, because using multiple lines means that both the challenges of quality and resilience can be resolved. The technology of multi-path aggregated connectivity delivers real benefits to organisations of all sizes using VoIP. Aggregated lines can offer increased bandwidth and capacity, enhancing data throughput speeds and application performance, while providing built-in resilience.

The emergence of disruptive companies in the market, such as those offering SD-WAN services, has changed the state of play entirely. Not only are connections more resilient, but thanks to the application of a software layer to connectivity, they can offer additional services such as fault-finding, continuous monitoring, and prioritisation of traffic. These are vital capabilities for high-performing VoIP. Of course, not every vendor gets this right. They may, for example, lay software over the top of connectivity while possessing no means of managing that inevitable disconnect between software and infrastructure layers. As a result, it’s critical to choose the right vendor.

Is a leased line a bad idea? Apart from the cost and the lack of resilience, consider the following scenario: Your business is using VoIP, delivered and supported by a leased line. There is a fault on the line and all connectivity to your organisation fails. You have no email, no access to cloud-based applications and, even worse, no phones.

If, on the other hand, your business was making use of a multipath aggregated FTTC connection, you would never need to worry about resilience. Due to the nature of the multi-path connectivity, there are numerous connections being aggregated together from different platforms, presented as a single virtual connection. If one line from one provider fails, there is another one (or more) to pick up the slack and ensure connectivity is uninterrupted.

Stimulating a mind-shift from established assumptions is never easy, but it is necessary to push the industry forward. When we examine connectivity, it’s clearly no longer sufficient to do the same things we’ve been doing for the past ten years. The market has moved on, end-user and business requirements have become more demanding and new ways of tackling fast-emerging challenges are urgently required.

40% of the world’s population on 5G by 2025, says GSMA

GSMA’s Director General spoke at Huawei’s MBBF 2018 event, talking up the prospect and promises of 5G and artificial intelligence

Mats Granryd, the Director General of the telecom trade organisation GSMA made a keynote speech themed on “intelligent connectivity” at Huawei’s MBB 2018 event at London’s ExCel today. Granryd put spotlight on 5G and AI as the key enablers to what the telecom industry has to offer in the years to come.

In addition to predicting that 70% of the world’s population, or roughly 6 billion people will be on mobile internet, GSMA forecast 40% of the world population will be on 5G networks. When it comes to AI, on top of improving individual experience (e.g. Personal Assistants) and serving new industry needs (e.g. network slicing), Granryd highlighted what the combined AI capabilities can do for society. The GSMA’s “Big Data for Social Good” initiative has launched in seven countries around the world. Mobile operators in those markets have worked with local partners to enable air pollution warning, malaria spreading prediction, and natural disaster preparedness, using big data and machine learning and prediction capabilities.

Guiqing Liu, EVP of China Telecom, the world’s largest integrated operators in the world by subscriber number, then took the stage to share what China Telecom saw as the biggest opportunity for telecom operators to undertake the digital transformation, especially with the ascendency of industry markets. Liu included four key capabilities the industry in particular the operators need to master to succeed in the transformation. They are: end-to-end slicing to cater to different user and industry needs; FMC edge computing to deliver seamless experience; 5G+Cloud based network and services to provide flexible and special customisation; and 5G+AI to both optimise service delivery and network management.

Liu also outlined the key challenges the industry is facing before 5G can become a real commercial success. He conceded that use cases now are still very much focused on eMBB, and the industry has not thought through how to change business models in the new era, including how to bill customers for the new use cases. On network challenges, in addition to the CAPEX and OPEX and skill gap, Liu also pointed the indoor coverage weakness intrinsic of the high frequency bands most 5G networks will be built on.

Alibaba Cloud opened two data centres in London

The e-commerce giant Alibaba is challenging Amazon and Microsoft in cloud service by adding London to its global data centre map.

If anything can indicate that the world is still confident in the UK as a business hub, amidst all the confusions over deal or no deal of Brexit, new investment from Alibaba can certainly do. The cloud service division of the e-commerce giant, Alibaba Cloud, announced on Monday that it is opening two data centres in London.

“Our decision on the location is driven by the rapidly growing customer demand in the U.K. The United Kingdom is one of the fastest growing European markets for Alibaba Cloud,” said an Alibaba spokesperson. “We are also working with many global and local partners to make sure we are offering best-in-class technologies, services and consulting to customers.”

Among the services the data centres will provide include a so-called “elastic computing”, which is a dynamic system to manage traffic spikes in the network, as well as deliver application services and big data analytics. Alibaba Cloud’s UK clients come from sectors like retail, finance, media, education, research, and logistics, and include public companies like the software maker SDL and the B2B media and event company Ascential.

Cloud service has become a key battlefield for the webscale companies and are clearly delivering results for the market leaders. Over 60% of Amazon’s operating income was from AWS, its cloud service division, in the first half of 2018, while Azure has been the most stellar performer among all Microsoft products.

Meanwhile cloud services have also attracted unwelcome following. According to a report by PwC, “Red Apollo”, a hacking group based in China, launched a series of sustained cyber-attacks last year, specifically targeting cloud service providers. The logic goes that, if they could break the defence of a major cloud service, they would be able to spread spying tools and malware to all the companies on these outsourcing services.

London joins Frankfurt to form Alibaba Cloud’s network in Europe. By the time the new data centres are up and running the company will have 52 data centres sites in 19 regions for its cloud service.

Only one in four businesses are ready for digital era – Vodafone

Despite dawn breaking on the digital economy, Vodafone claims only 24% of businesses globally could reasonably call themselves cyber ready, but those who are should prepare themselves for a cash boost.

Releasing its Cyber Ready Barometer, a report to measure how firms are progressing towards the digital era, Vodafone states the average score for UK businesses in terms of cyber readiness is 46/100, with only 34% of businesses achieving ‘Advanced’ status. Those who are classed as ‘Cyber Ready’ scored 4.3/5 for reported stakeholder trust (customers, employees and regulators) while 47% reported annual revenue increasing by at least 5% in the last 12 months.

“From our perspective the biggest takeaway from the research was how few business are truly cyber ready and how many were not doing the basic controls,” said Vodafone Enterprise Cyber Security Lead Maureen Kaplan. “The need to protect organizations is absolutely critical but only one in four are actually proactive. That is worrying from a societal view point.”

One of the reasons for this could be a disconnect between the IT department and the employees within the business. While the IT department is searching for new ways to make the business digital ready, Kaplan worries whether right steps are being made and even if the department has a complete understanding of the business.

A good example of this is the growing mobility trend in the UK. On average, the IT department believes 43% of staff use their own device for work, while 63% of employees stated they do so. A significant proportion of those using smartphones or personal computers for work purposes could be deemed a threat to the organization.

With the UK government targeting digital as a means to ensure the economy remains competitive in the post-Brexit era, these statistics should be quite a worry. That said, perhaps a bigger concern is the security aspect of the piece.

Cyber ready isn’t simply a case of being capable of achieving new revenues, securing data, both customer and business, is just as critical. Aside from the impact this can have on relationships with customers, the financial penalties for not meeting the required standards are starting to ramp up very quickly. Interestingly enough, those who have been the victim of a data breach are generally deemed more cyber ready than those who haven’t.

That said, looking at the business case, Kaplan suggests the idea of being cyber ready and secure can be used as a differentiator. 34% of consumers said they are increasingly aware of security threats being discussed in the media, 70% consider themselves to be at risk of a cyber-attack or online threat, while 63% have stopped using at least one online service due to security concerns. 43% don’t trust the security of companies they still use.

When it comes to consumer adoption of the digital economy the trends do seem to be increasing despite these security concerns. The average consumer currently now uses nine different connected devices at home and eleven different online services, ranging from online banking to gaming and fitness trackers. Concern is highest about the security of mobiles devices (83%) and computers (82%), but newer devices like voice assistants (60%) and smart home controls (53%) are also a cause for concern. Financial data is naturally the biggest worry, though only 51% expressed concern about using social media and only 45% online dating services. These are less obvious threats, though personal information taken from these services can be used to build profiles on users to navigate around security protocols (security questions for example) or create fake accounts for authentication.

In terms of the business opportunity, 59% of the research’s respondents suggest they would be prepared to pay a premium for higher levels of security on the products and services which they use. This claim suggests there is a business case and revenues to be won through a greater focus on security, though only 29% of businesses see there are significant financial benefits from having higher levels of security. With 71% of businesses not recognising the opportunity, and 59% of consumers prepared to pay a premium for peace of mind, there is certainly money to be made through security.

While much of the world looks at security as a box ticking exercise, simply remaining compliant and avoiding hefty fines, that is not the message Vodafone; being secure can be a way to make money as well.

Nokia ties the knot with Tencent for 5G R&D

Nokia has entered into a partnership with China’s internet giant Tencent to undertake 5G related R&D for webscale companies.

An MOU was signed in MWC Asia in Shanghai between the two companies to set up a full-fledged 5G lab in Shenzhen, China, where Tencent’s headquarters are. WeChat, the crown jewel of Tencent’s plethora of apps and services, is more a platform at the centre of an ecosystem than a standalone app. It has more than 1 billion monthly active users who make payments, hail car rides, order takeaway foods, among other things, as well as messaging, sharing pictures and videos, and networking that WeChat started out to do.

As Tencent further diversifies itself to other industries, including its recent entry into connected cars and autonomous driving, 5G’s promised capabilities, in particular edge-computing to vast reduce latency will be critical. By entering into a partnership with Nokia, which is strong in R&D, Tencent has a chance to influence how the 5G technologies can be applied to certain use cases. No wonder then the focus of the lab will be on selected verticals that Tencent has special interest in, with transportation, energy, entertainment, etc. being highlighted.

It is also a smart move by Nokia, who desperately needs to find new growth opportunities than selling more network gears to telecom operators, in particular when operators in Europe, Nokia’s traditional markets, are more cautious in rushing into 5G than their counterparts in North America and Asia.

As Nokia told’s Jamie Davies, interest in 5G in Asia is more on the ways to scalability. This is an ideal case to test scalability. While it is an internet giant in every sense, Tencent is highly concentrated in China. For Nokia this would be a controlled experiment and would be valuable when it knocks on the doors of other local heavyweights like Alibaba, as well the truly global webscale companies like Google and Facebook.

MWC Shanghai: Co-creation and collaboration becoming the new buzz of 5G

Buzzwords are nothing new to the telecoms and tech space, but 2018 is starting to see the rise of a few more; co-creation and collaboration

In most cases, vendors and telcos use tech-orientated buzzwords to dazzle, amaze and confuse customers, but this is a new type of euphoria. Its softer, less tangible and more acute. Co-creation and collaboration are necessary aspects of developing the digital economy, but purely by the flexible nature of the concepts, the buzz-bending, hype-escalating PR ‘gurus’ of the industry are going to have some fun here.

The definition and application of the two words are relatively simple on the surface. 5G can potentially take telcos beyond the realms of connectivity utility, providing an opportunity to become more of a consultative service provider. Instead of selling SIMs, telcos will be able to evolve offerings to be more than connectivity for enterprise customers. This means solutions which can proactively improve the efficiency of business operations.

Think of intelligent factories, smart cities or autonomous vehicles. In these examples, connectivity can be used to enhance the business, instead of just making it work. But before this dream of new revenues can be realised, the business needs to be transformed and new solutions need to be imagined.

This is where co-creation and collaboration comes into play. Telcos cannot simply knock on the door of a customer with a 5G offering and say ‘here you go, have come capacity, bandwidth and latency’, a solution specific to the industry, or the individual business, has to be created. It is a different type of business model.

One company which is taking this approach is NTT Docomo. Speaking during MWC Shanghai, CEO of Docomo Beijing Labs, Lan Chen told us the team now has more than 1400 industry partners, with plans to continue to grow. Chen said each of the partners were working with the Docomo research team to create products specific to industry, whether it would be AI-driven taxi solutions which predict demand or virtual assistants which are contextually aware. These partners range from technologists in enterprise organizations, to the internet giants like Baidu, as well as academic researchers. The point is they have experience in building services and products specific to the verticals.

Docomo is defining this research as co-creation, and there are already examples of services in the real world. Chen said there are several taxi companies working in Japan and China to hone the predictive demand service, and while it is not perfect, progress is certainly being made.

Elsewhere on the agenda, Intel had the chance to beat its chest and declare how collaborative it is. Robert Topple, GM of the 5G Advanced Technologies group, pointed to the work the team is doing with operators around the world to discover the future benefits of 5G.

“Important thing about 5g is the need to focus on scale not speed,” said Topple. “When you architect, it’s important that you build the foundation for bigger ideas in the future.

“Need to be software defined, virtualised wherever they are, but also built for the use cases of tomorrow. 5g is not about today.”

Looking at the R&D work, in Sydney the team is working with Telstra and Ericsson to use 5G to support eSports. This is something which is very unique; gamers can become content creators inside the game as opposed to linear content platforms of the past. This impacts the way in which you build 5G for gaming. In Japan there is work with Docomo applying mobility concepts into vehicles. The need here is to make sure an effective handoff between base stations and radio heads occurs, while also maintaining the experience. With autonomous vehicle the environment will change from a cockpit to passenger experience, which Topple highlighted changes the way which we need to think about connectivity and engagement.

Other projects included drones in China for maintenance of the Great Wall of China, an initiative with AT&T in the US for create wireless networks to support 4K video content and smart mining projects in Estonia with Telia. Each of these examples build the case for collaboration.

A final example is a conversation with Jane Rygaard, Head of 5G Marketing at Nokia. Rygaard pointed to the development of 5G networks and Bristol is Open as a great of example of where collaboration can work brilliantly. In Bristol, the initiative has evolved into a mish-mash of university academics, the local authorities and private industry all collaborating with the aim of making 5G accessible and successful for the digital economy. It accounts for different perspectives, ultimately making connectivity more useful.

Bristol is fast becoming one of the most technologically advanced cities in Europe, but it pales in comparison to some of the Asia metro areas. Bristol has a population of roughly 450k, which allows for some interesting PoCs, but China has 120 cities with a population of more than one million people. The scale, should collaboration be done effectively, offers great opportunity to apply variables on PoCs and collect mountains of data to hone models and services.

Collaboration and co-creation might seem like a simple idea, but the foundations of the telco business need to be sturdy and thorough. Such practices need a new structure and external contributions to be a success, something which is starting to catch on in Europe now. That said, the Asian telcos are miles ahead.

Walking around the exhibition floor, the industrial use cases were clear. Almost every stand had elements of enterprise emblazoned on the temporary walls and stacked high in the marketing literature. Asia has been thinking about this evolution for some time, adapting business models, moulding the ecosystem and liaising with external partners to create a more fluid and innovative environment. Industrial applications, the solutions and the communication strategies to engage customers are much more mature.

Collaboration and co-creation might seem like fluffy buzzwords which can fuel the lofty ambitions of creative PR powerhouses, but there is substance to the claim. Those who genuinely embrace the fundamental changes to business which collaboration demands will find themselves in an attractive position to reap the rewards of the enterprise connectivity game. Those who simply use the buzz to empower the marketing department will soon be found out.

Apple and Accenture announce alluring alliance

Apple and Accenture have jumped into bed with each other to create a new digital agency which will help customers design business solutions for iOS.

It’s a relatively simple idea; the digital economy is growing and people want to make money off it, but they don’t know how. In theory, when you take experts from one of the largest business consultancies in the world, and put them together with Apple employees, they should be able to make your idea more compatible with the iPhone or iPad.

Accenture will create dedicated iOS practices within Accenture Digital Studios, its consultancy unit to capitalize on the digital transformation craze, at several locations around the world offering expertise which the customer may not already have access to. These skills include visual and experience designers, programmers, data architects and scientists, and hardware and software designers.

This is not a complex idea. Accenture knows enterprise IT systems, Apple knows about the iPhone and iPad. Bring them together and they can optimize your apps and business processes for the devices.

It might also be worth noting that this is not a particularly new idea from the Apple team. Similar partnerships, focusing on optimizing business for iOS, are currently in place with the likes of Cisco, Deloitte, IBM and SAP.

“Starting 10 years ago with iPhone, and then with iPad, Apple has been transforming how work gets done, yet we believe that businesses have only just begun to scratch the surface of what they can do with our products,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“Both Apple and Accenture are leaders in building incredible user experiences and together we can continue to truly modernise how businesses work through amazing solutions that take advantage of the incredible capabilities of Apple’s technologies.”

“Based on our experience in developing mobile apps, we believe that iOS is the superior mobile platform for businesses and are excited to be partnering with Apple,” said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture CEO. “By combining Accenture’s vast digital capabilities and industry expertise with Apple’s market leadership in creating products that delight customers, we are in a perfect position to help our clients transform the way they work.”

The new proposition will be an attractive one for those who want to tap into the fortunes being held by iLifers. But perhaps there is something more here, maybe this is the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend in its most real form.

In years gone, a basic Android operated device, or perhaps even a Blackberry were the options for staff on the go. Now with so many individuals choosing their own devices, and many of them being dedicated iPilgrims, there is of course a need to optimize any apps, processes or functions for the iOS platform as well. After all, if you want your staff to work while on holiday or the toilet, you have to give them the right tools to be able to do so.