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Waking Up to Java

Something’s brewing with Java, and we don’t mean the double-roasted variety. Java ME is a software platform that bridges the Babel of mobile devices. “Developers can write applications to the Java platform and leverage them across a wide range of handsets,” said John Muhlner, group manager of Java ME product marketing at Sun Microsystems. He noted that 80 percent of handsets shipped include the Java platform, providing a commonality that greatly simplifies application development.

A new email service called Flurry, developed by a San Francisco start-up, exemplifies Java’s position as the mobile lingua franca. “We are aiming to provide the BlackBerry experience on any cell phone, any carrier, any email provider,” said Gabriel Vanrenen, Flurry CTO and co-founder. Though Flurry doesn’t target the enterprise specifically (it doesn’t offer push email), Vanrenen noted that companies could use it to avoid the costs of issuing standardized mobile email devices; Flurry will run on whatever people already have. “Java is the platform that’s on every phone model out there,” said Vanrenen. “It’s what allowed us to develop a single application for hundreds of different phones.”

While Java ME is the mighty mite of mobile, Java EE (enterprise edition) and SE (standard edition) have solid toeholds in desktop computing, and that means synergies for the enterprise, according to Muhlner. “Being able to easily extend your enterprise applications into the mobile space is a huge benefit to companies,” said Muhlner, citing field force and order management as areas where such porting is practical.

In November, Sun took the unorthodox step of issuing its Java implementation under the GPL open source license. “Why? One of the primary reasons is to engage developers,” said Muhlner. “Their ability to add to the platform enhances it considerably.”

Sun also hopes open sourcing will curtail pernicious platform fragmentation, which reduces compatibility as developers introduce proprietary variations. “You’ll have more handset manufacturers using that same [open source] code, so there will be less variance in the platform and reduced fragmentation,” said Kevin Strohmeyer, group marketing manager of the Client Systems group at Sun Microsystems.

Going forward, Java ME is set to grow in step with increasing handset capabilities. Muhlner said a new platform specification called Mobile Services Architecture will greatly expand Java’s mobile capabilities. “Whether it be graphics, location-based services or personal information management, all these capabilities will start to be standard on the Java platform, providing more advanced and compelling applications for both the mobile and enterprise spaces,” he said.

Which makes Java appear as useful for the mobile enterprise as its
liquid namesake.
—Peter M. Ferenczi

In The News

MICROSOFT and NOVELL have joined forces to improve the compatibility of Linux and Windows products. The companies will create a joint research facility to test new software that can run both Linux and Windows programs. Both companies also will provide each other’s customers with patent coverage for their respective products.

BRIGHTPOINT has agreed to sell VERIZON WIRELESS phones and services to small and medium-sized businesses. As a Verizon Wireless Value Added Distributor (VAD), Brightpoint will offer VZOffice voice and data products and services through solutions providers.

AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES customers looking for streaming media services no longer have to look very far. ONSTREAM MEDIA and MULTICAST MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES have agreed to provide emerging businesses referred by Akamai with streaming media solutions for the encoding and management of webcasting, Web conferencing and webinars.

SMARTBRIDGES and DARTWARE teamed up to improve network performance and uptime for wireless service providers, carriers, large businesses and industrial customers. Dartware’s network monitoring, mapping and alerting software, InterMapper, is now offered with smartBridges’ fixed wireless solution, Nexus Platform.

Small businesses in Austin, Texas, are getting something they’ve never had before: VoIP services. VOXPATH NETWORKS reached an agreement with ANYWARE to equip city businesses with Harmonica Complete, a hosted VoIP solution that provides merchants with a comprehensive communications system.

Navigation technology from GARMIN INTERNATIONAL is now available in XORA’s GPS TimeTrack system, to help workers find the best routes to job sites with the click of a button.

ERIDE and WAVECOM have collaborated on a geo-location technology plug-in for mobile wireless applications. The technology is designed to be used with Wavecom’s Q2686 and Q2687 wireless CPUs and can be used to monitor and track various mobile assets around the globe.

POLICE OFFICERS IN SAN JOSE, CALIF. are now testing out a tiny computer by INTERMEC that scans drivers’ licenses and displays information about the violation on the screen. Once the ticket is signed, it is stored on the computer and automatically downloaded into the city court system’s database.

Virginia’s FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL system is using an AirWave Management Platform from AIRWAVE WIRELESS to operate a wireless network with more than 7,000 access points. The district is the first to use a new feature that lets network engineers and administrators see wireless network usage data from a secure portal. COMAG has replaced its telecommunications system with an open standards–based solution from CALLXPRESS. Employees of COMAG, a publishing company, now have access to voice, fax and email messages in one inbox and can retrieve them by telephone, wireless device or computer.

Data and Internet traffic in GREENWICH, ConN., is now on just one network. The town upgraded its entire metropolitan area network infrastructure to a Metro Ethernet service from OPTIMUM LIGHTPATH. The town’s 16 municipal government facilities, four libraries and 15 schools were previously on three physically disparate networks.

FOOD LION has deployed a management application system from REFLEXIS SYSTEMS in more than 1,200 supermarkets throughout the 11 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. The system allows Food Lion managers in the field to view store workloads and visit only those stores that face problems.

CHARTER BUSINESS has deployed more than 200 FORTIGATE integrated security systems to broadband business customers across the country. The systems provide cost-efficient unified security solutions for small businesses and home-based workers that connect to their companies’ remote branch offices.

THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL in Aurora, Colo., is getting a wireless network. The system from MOBILEACCESS NETWORKS will enable caregivers to review medical records on a wireless laptop or look at patient data on a PDA or Tablet PC. Wireless services and applications will be delivered over a single, unified platform.

Wireless Internet access is no longer grounded at Boston’s LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. The FCC stopped attempts by airport officials to shut down private alternatives to airport-controlled WiFi service, giving air carriers the opportunity to offer WiFi at their terminals and lounges.

SONICWALL has come up with a way to instantly create a secure 3G wireless broadband network without a fixed Internet connection. The TX 190 can be used to establish high-speed networks for
various outlets, including mobile point-of-sale stations, seasonal kiosks, portable ATM machines and disaster recovery networks.

New York city’s transit system will soon be NiCE. The Big Apple’s MTA is planning to use technology from NICE (through SIEMENS TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS) to capture, reconstruct and analyze voice communications for its new Rail Control Center. The technology will allow the MTA to reconstruct events on its subway system.

It took nearly 10 years, but SOUTHERNLINC WIRELESS has finally become the official communications partner for the state of ALABAMA. Local groups and municipalities using the SouthernLINC Wireless system can now more easily connect with state officials through the Push to Talk Service, a communications system that proved its worth during the last few hurricane seasons.

KERIO TECHNOLOGIES has released a new version of its MailServer that offers Direct Push email for WINDOWS MOBILE smartphones and PDAs. Users can wirelessly synchronize their email messages, calendar data, contacts and tasks in their Kerio MailServer account with a Microsoft Windows Mobile–based device.

SPRINT NEXTEL and Pantech wireless have come out with a mobile broadband connection card that operates on current Sprint networks and supports higher data speeds. The PX-500 card offers users with compatible laptops access to the Internet, including audio, video and data applications wherever the Sprint Nextel network is available. //

The CDG Honors Leaders in 3G

In an event that coincided with the 11th annual 3G World Congress, the CDMA Development Group (CDG) honored 15 companies for their commitment and contributions to the 3G industry.

“The CDMA community is leading the industry in the delivery of 3G wireless services, so there are many accomplishments to recognize,” said Perry LaForge, CDG executive director. “The CDG congratulates all of the recipients and applauds their contributions.”

The contributions ranged from the launch of pay-per-view mobile television programming from Sprint Nextel and a virtual roller coaster ride from Digital Chocolate to the availability, by Valtron, of voice and high-speed data services in the Andes. LG Electronics captured its second consecutive award for last year’s introduction of the Chocolate CDMA2000 multimedia phone, which supports video and audio streaming, MP3 music downloads, picture and video messaging, and Bluetooth connectivity.

“We are very impressed by the features and design of LG’s CDMA Chocolate Phone,” said LaForge, who handed out the awards with Greg Young, CDG president and CTO for Tata Teleservices. The awards ceremony took place on Dec. 6 in Hong Kong, where hundreds of executives in the telecommunications industry had gathered for the 3G World Congress and ITU Telecom World 2006.

Other winners included Verizon Wireless for its introduction of the VZ Navigator; Valtron for using a CDMA450 network to provide voice and high-speed data services to 127 pueblos in the Andes; and Airvana for making the industry’s first Quality of Service–enabled mobile-to-mobile VoIP call on a commercially available network.

Verizon Wireless, Lenovo, Qualcomm and Sierra Wireless were honored for launching the ThinkPad Z60 series (in October 2005) using a Sierra Wireless module and Qualcomm chip.

Enterprise award winners included Tidewell Hospice and Palliative Care, and Vallent. Tidewell Hospice was honored for its deployment of Sierra Wireless and Novatel Wireless PC cards to connect the notebooks of its medical staff to a Sprint Nextel network, which improved patient care and saved the organization $6,000 per day in productivity. Vallent was honored for helping wireless service providers to simplify applications and services across its network and offer more customer-centric quality management.
—Michael Barbella

The Push Felt ’Round the World

Nokia proved that it is indeed staying device agnostic after its purchase of push email middleware provider Intellisync last year. The world’s largest handset vendor is powering Orange Business Services’ new managed push email solution for multinational companies. Critics had assumed Nokia would leverage last year’s acquisition as a way to sell more Nokia phones, but the solution will support a wide range of mobile devices and operating systems, including Windows Mobile, Symbian and Palm.

For Orange, the new offering provides a stronger email proposition for multinational companies. It previously had a weak offering in this segment, and it relied primarily on Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the Microsoft Direct Push solutions. The Nokia/Intellisync solution comes with some sophisticated device-management capabilities to spur adoption, such as the ability to remotely configure, update and manage a fleet of mobile devices. The solution also enables automatic synchronization between mobile devices and data stored on the company’s email server. New emails, calendar appointments and contact details are automatically pushed to the mobile user’s device, and updates made on the mobile device are automatically reflected on the user’s PC. However, competitors RIM and Good Technology already offer these automatic synchronization services on a standard basis.

What does this mean for RIM? Analysts are advising that RIM take some defensive actions in the European market to keep its leading market share, such as sharpening its focus on security management and a professional services offering to position itself against Nokia.
—Lynnette Luna

Follow the Suds

In an effort to speed product shipments and reduce operational costs, Heineken is brewing up a wireless supply chain application that tracks beer from Europe to the United States using satellite and cellular technology.

The project, still in its pilot stages, seeks to create paperless documentation for Heineken’s beer as it moves across the Atlantic. Heineken launched the project in partnership with IBM, Safmarine (an international shipping company), Dutch Customs, U.K. Customs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the University of Amsterdam. In the next few weeks, the University is expected to release exclusive research summarizing the projects’ benefits and challenges to date.

IBM, meanwhile, hopes the Heineken project delivers a quantifiable ROI that prompts more companies to test similar systems. “More than 90 percent of cargo travels in containers,” notes Stefan Reidy, manager of IBM’s Secure Trade Lane supply chain solution. “And each container trip generates dozens of documents for a total of 5 billion trade documents processed annually.”

Today, most of this data is exchanged manually or through electronic data exchange, which is problematic, says Reidy. “There is no single source or integration point for trade data, and that limits supply chain visibility.”

The Heineken solution leverages a service-oriented architecture (SOA), IBM WebSphere, the EPCglobal network and Electronic Product Code Information Services standards.

“Rather than build and maintain a large central database with huge amounts of information, distributed data sources are linked, allowing data to be shared in real time between Heineken, Safmarine and customs authorities in the Netherlands, England and the United States,” explains Reidy.

In addition to cutting costs, Heineken expects the system to reduce administrative burdens; provide greater transparency and accessibility of business data in the supply chain for improved security; and the improve the efficiency of European customs and taxation practices.
—Joseph C. Panettieri

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