IBM is attempting to make its mark in the internet based wireless network space by releasing related middleware and announcing a slew of partnerships.
The WebSphere Everyplace Suite will enable organisations and service providers to create and deploy wireless ebusiness applications.
But Big Blue has also announced future technology development pacts with Intel and Cisco and partnerships with wireless device makers, Ericsson, Symbian and Palm, to enable users to access corporate applications using mobile equipment.
Ajei Gopal, chief technical officer and director of business strategy at IBM's pervasive computing division, said: "These initiatives will make wireless web ready for ebusiness. The internet was originally used for business to consumer applications and as a browser. Over time, the internet has changed the way we think of business. The same thing will happen with wireless."
The WebSphere Everyplace Suite consists of four components. It supports wireless protocols, enables users to synchronise wireless devices with a variety of data sources, includes a transcoding tool that enables data to run in a range of formats, and provides administrators with a management infrastructure.
Although the suite will not ship until the second half of this year, IBM will initially release 'quick start' versions for the financial, retail and travel industries. Existing customers include the UK's Royal Bank of Scotland, UK supermarket chain Safeway, Swiss Air and Delta Airlines.
Big Blue also plans to integrate its transcoding software into Nokia's Artus Messaging environment, and will enable its Aspira range of communication devices to work with Motorola's version of the wireless application protocol, its mobile internet exchange (Mix) and its voice markup language (VoxML).
The company has signed similar deals to integrate its middleware with mobile devices from Ericsson, Palm and Symbian, but was less specific about its relationship with Cisco and Intel. Gopal revealed, however, that it would work with them to develop "end to end wireless internet technologies for enterprises and service providers".
A bulletin by market research group, Zona Research, described the announcement as a "long haul strategy". "If IBM were not doing these deals now, it might find itself embarrassed two years down the road as other companies' middleware formed the vital connection to a huge wireless customer base," it said.
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