The goal is to come up with a complete fresh generation of mobile applications for United employees.
United Airlines is working with IBM and Apple to come up with a brand new generation of mobile airline apps to be used by its employees.
The intention to create the mobile applications reflects a new strategy underway at United Airlines.
United has already issued over 50,000 Apple iPhones and iPads to its gate attendants, flight attendants and other front-line workers. This new effort with IBM and Apple will help those employees to be able to gain more functionality out of those devices with airline apps geared specifically to their needs.
Linda Jojo, chief information officer at United Airlines, explained that “A partnership with Apple and IBM gives our app-development enterprise scale, reusability, and — most importantly — speed.” Jojo added, “We’re going to be able to deliver more tools and technologies faster to our front line than we could if we were building it all ourselves.”
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United is currently collecting feedback from its front-line workers to decide on functions and features for the airline apps.
United’s top tech exec explained that the airline is hoping to develop the new mobile app features and functions based, in part, on the feedback received from the people who will actually use them. Jojo said that some of the tech currently under development helps flight attendants to remain in communication with maintenance teams regarding issues they have discovered.
In this way, employees do not need to restrict their communications with each other to workstation computers. Instead, they can use mobile devices to share information. Among the many goals of these mobile apps is to be able to reduce congestion during emergency situation and to help smooth the flow during high traffic periods.
Jojo said the airline apps reflect the new situation among the employees. “They’re not stuck behind a desk anymore,” she pointed out. The announcement of the applications is only the latest step they are taking within United’s partnership with Apple and IBM. That was first established in 2014 and is continually upgrading the technology-based processes used by the airline’s employees.