IBM has teamed up with eight Web integrators to create wireless Internet services in a bid to sell more of its software tools.
Called the Pervasive Computing Alliance, the partners have agreed to build at least half of their wireless projects using IBM middleware products.
The Web integrators taking part are Agency.com, Answerthink, Luminant, Organic, R/GA, Rare Medium, Razorfish and US Interactive. Initially, they will use IBM's WebSphere Everyplace Suite to build so-called 'pervasive' computing applications.
Ajei Gopal, director of strategy at IBM's pervasive computing division, said the WebSphere server products enables non-PC device users to work anywhere.
"With non-PC devices you can still be integrated into enterprise and other solutions of the infrastructure because the enterprise suite provides the technologies such as gateways, synchronisation software and data management," he said.
Gopal pointed out that in the mobile computing space, middleware has become increasingly important. "The plumbing is necessary because reliability and scalability put demands on the middleware. IBM is aggressive in creating the solutions. The partnerships were a natural progression," he said.
The products will be available through the partners and IBM.
The company is pushing its wireless skills hard. Last month IBM announced its WebSphere Commerce Suite to build mobile electronic exchanges. It has also formed alliances with Cisco, Intel, Motorola, Nokia and Ericsson for other wireless initiatives.
Market researcher Yankee Group predicted there will be more than one billion mobile phone owners by 2003 and about 60 per cent of those phones will have Internet access.
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