Sun and five of its business partners - Oracle, ICL, Parallax, Relay and MDIS - are opening eight Java Centres across Britain to show the benefits of Java technology for general business and specific industries.
The Centres will provide Java and Internet services, proof-of-concept demonstrations and specialist advice for businesses and Sun resellers.
"It's all part of the education process, of showing businesses how you can build viable and cost-effective information systems this way," said Matt Reid, Sun business development manager for the Java Centres. "There's a huge demand for this type of education at the moment."
An intensive programme of seminars will begin in about six weeks with Sun's three Centres in Farnborough, City of London and Sale, concentrating on general IS concepts and the business partners' Centres showing how Java-based technology can applied in vertical industries.
Potential attendees for the seminars will be recruited through direct mail, Sun's customer magazine and through direct and business partner sales teams.
"The focus for each Java Centre will reflect the core competence of the business partner," said Reid.
Thus Relay, a Sun authorised reseller and the company's business partner in the educational market, will demonstrate bespoke products for public authorities and has already provided a system called the Shared Care Intranet Information System for a Welsh NHS Trust to deliver medical records and other information.
Oracle will show its Java-enabled products, integrated with its databases and Interoffice front end. MDIS will focus on integrating its own and third party Java-based applications into complete business solutions.
Parallax will display three-tier client/server systems with Java and Corba-compliant applications and has already begun work with the Swaps and Securities Risk Management Systems Division of investment bankers JP Morgan to develop global Web-based cross-product trading systems.
More UK Centres will be set up this year and the concept will be extended across Europe and in the US. But Reid said he did not expect every Sun Authorised Reseller (SAR) to become a Java Centre. Rather SARs will be encouraged to link up with existing Java Centres under a broader Sun initiative called the Internet Associate Programme, providing Java-based applications for integration into vertical business solutions.
"We announced five yesterdayand I am talking to another 15, so I expect it to grow quickly this year," said Reid. "But I do not have a target to deliver a specific number of Java Centres - it's quality before quantity that's important, we want them to be centres of excellence."
Sun servers will be used predominantly in the Java Centres with various clients including mobiles and PDAs.
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