Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mainframe Mobile Has Arrived

by Brenda J. Christie

In one of my earlier posts, Mainframe Goes Mobile, I wrote about the technical aspects of combining Mainframe and mobile technologies.  Fast forward a few months, and a September 15, 2015 IBM Systems Magazine article, "Thanks to Mobile Apps, Users Can Access IBM zSystems Services and Data" ,  announces the winners of IBM's second Mainframe Mobile App Throwdown held in May of this year.

First place went to a team at the healthcare company, Aetna,  for developing an app which can lower the likelihood of incompatible drug interactions, and consequently, reduce the deaths from such errors.  The FDA puts the number of drug-interaction deaths at 7,000 per year, so this app has the potential to save lives.  The app, Nurses in Motion (NIM), is used by nurses participating in the Visiting Nurse Association. The app uses the IBM Process Portal,  and accesses CICS, DB2 and MQ on the mainframe.  A video below explains how the IBM Process Portal works.

A Turkish team, Akbank A.S., came in as a tie for second place for creating an app which allows bank withdrawals via bluetooth.  The app, Money Withdrawal With iBeam, works without using a card or pin, and as such reduces the likelihood of being defrauded by use of a scammer or stolen pin. The app leverages Apple's iBeam technology, CICS and DB2 on the mainframe and works with blue tooth-enabled ATMs.

German company Deutsche Bahn Trains also took second place for its Rails In Motion app which uses CICS Web Services and tablets to manage its railway system and assets, for example, to check brakes.  Using smart devices and tablets enabled with RIM, mobile workers can now scan numbers, take pictures of car ID numbers, use voice to record readings and findings.  This is a nice step forward from manually writing results while wearing gloves.  A further improvement will come when the activity can generate a work order for additional work or generate a purchase order for required parts.

Third place went to Turkish Bank, Garanti, for a mainframe mobile app which reduces network activity and CPU usage when pulling currency rates.  The Currency Rate App uses MQTT (machine-to-machine/Internet of Things Protocol) and IBM MessageSight.

For good reasons, and to safeguard lives and property, the barriers to melding different types of technologies are being removed.  With each success more confidence is being generated and proof of the mainframe's relevance in today's economy demonstrated.  Consequently, expect to see more of these mergers between technology in the future.  The mainframe is here to stay!

Bye for now,

Brenda J. Christie