As part of Oracle?s attempt to become as ubiquitous as arch rival Microsoft, the database supplier has now set up a kiosk division to take the concept of thin clients and the network computer one step further.
Oracle has appointed Mark Lucas, former president of the Kiosk Management Corp, to head up its UK business unit, but he declined to comment on how big his team was, or who, exactly, was involved in the US.
The division, which will be formally launched very soon, will package up Oracle?s Video Server and Web Server to act as back-end servers to its so-called ?thin kiosk? technology.
It will also provide a software developers kit and technical ?cartridges? or Corba-compliant class libraries for controlling talking heads on video clips or adding support for touch screens to enable developers to build ?thin kiosk? applications.
Lucas said: ?At the moment, video clips and applications have to be developed and run on each individual kiosk, which makes them very storage and memory hungry. In the past, you couldn?t build kiosks big enough and it was very expensive. But, with thin kiosks, you put the applications on a back-end Web or Video server and pull down what information you need, when you need it, via a browser. Adding new applications means no increase in costs because you do it all at the server level.?
He added that in Oracle?s view, kiosks would act as thin clients in an intranet-based environment, becoming little more than a cabinet with a touch-screen and browser, with added support for card readers, printers and cameras, if required.
Thin kiosks could be used in the same way as the current ?fat kiosks?, providing information on local government services, for example, if installed in public libraries.
As a result, Oracle is currently in discussions with ISVs developing kiosk-based applications, about porting their applications over to its environment, but is unlikely to sell them or the relevant hardware as a packaged option.
It is also talking to content suppliers wanting to apply the same concept to set top boxes for use in the home market
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