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IBM brings business apps to the Apple Watch

May 22, 2015, 10:12 PM UTC
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CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Apple unveiled the Apple Watch wearable tech and two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

IBM’s partnership with Apple to bring business-centric applications to iOS devices continues to grow, this time with support coming for the Apple Watch.

Apple updated its website this week with new details on a variety of IBM (IBM) enterprise apps that can now function on Apple’s much-hyped smartwatch. The apps target the healthcare sector, field-service technicians, and public safety officials.

Using the Hospital RN app, nurses can supposedly use the Apple (AAPL) Watch to receive push notifications, so they can stay up-to-date about a patient’s healthcare needs. The Field Connect app will apparently send information regarding weather, power outages, or any sort of hazard that may impact a field technician’s job straight to a user’s watch.

For public safety officials, the Incident Aware app will stream urgent alerts to one’s Apple Watch. It’s easy to imagine a police officer getting a ping on his or her watch that lets them know about dangerous situations as they respond to a distress call.

The common thread for all of these apps is that they emphasize the use of push notifications. While they also offer other features, including GPS mapping for iOS devices, the small-sized screen of the Apple Watch seems to limit the amount of features IBM can pack into the apps without creating a cluttered experience.

Still, these are early days for Apple Watch development, so it makes sense that the first batch of IBM-developed features seem to act more like accessories for current iPhone or iPad apps. They don’t seem to be stand-alone features, but rather apps that work in conjunction with ones already found on a user’s iPhone or iPad to create a multi-device app experience.

As Fortune’s Stacey Higginbotham reported, the Apple Watch opens up the opportunity for a wide range of business applications. These watches have a lot more to them than just being used as fitness trackers. For example, businesses could use the smartwatches as a way to keep tabs on their employees and, from the data obtained through these devices, use it to discover patterns in how certain teams work with each other.

These latest IBM apps don’t seem to be doing anything as complex as data analytics yet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t in the future. IBM recently launched its IBM Watson Health unit that uses the company’s data processing system to analyze healthcare data, such as medical records and diagnostics.

With a smart phone app like Hospital RN that feeds important patient data to nurses, there’s a lot of opportunity for that data to be synced up to the Watson Health Cloud for data processing that may benefit health-care providers.