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Issue #2003 - 16 (May 2003)
(Updated May 15, 2003)


IBM Announces Wireless Startup Program for Enterprises

In an effort to entice businesses to stick a toe in the wireless waters, IBM has pulled the wraps off a new package of software and hardware to tie enterprise employees to company networks using wireless devices.Called the Mobile Office Entry Jumpstart, the all-in-one package starts at $100,000 per kit and includes WebSphere software and 50 Palm-based Tungsten PDAs.

The idea behind Jumpstart, says IBM, is to let businesses that haven't yet deployed wireless connections to the greater network to "start small and grow to enterprise scale." The Jumpstart package bundles both the new version of IBM WebSphere Everywhere Access, and the Everywhere Connection Manager software. Everywhere Access, middleware that connects wireless-equipped workers to a company's back-end databases, productivity apps such as sales-force automation software, and IM platforms like Lotus Instant Messaging, has been updated to include new notification and alert features, according to IBM.

Intelligent Notification Services alerts wireless users of important information coming in from enterprise E-mail, partners, and back-end systems such as databases and server-based applications. An incoming order, for instance, that hits the company's sales force software, could send a notification directly to the Tungsten PDAs handed out to employees as part of the Jumpstart deployment. To keep PDA-armed workers in contact, Jumpstart includes Everywhere Connection Manager, software that services the handoffs between wireless access points ranging from those in public networks to the ones on the company campus or in the building. Connection Manager ensures that a connection to the PDA isn't lost as users roam from one hot spot to another.

On the hardware side, Jumpstart puts Palm's Tungsten PDA in the hands of 50 workers, along with 50 wireless aircards to access the WebSphere software from laptops if the company chooses that route. The Tungsten PDAs, which feature a color display, built-in keyboard, and handheld editions of popular Microsoft office desktop applications such as Word and Excel, will run client versions of Everywhere Access and Everywhere Manager.

The U.S. Air Force has already deployed Jumpstart's core components at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, as a way to provide its logistics managers with up-to-date information from its back-end parts delivery system, called Automated Manifest Tracking System. AMTS is used to account for delivery of aircraft parts between airbases and the Defense Department's Defense Logistics Agency. At Hill, said Myron Anderson, the base's provisional IT director, WebSphere Everywhere Access and Everywhere Connection Manager "offers fast implementation and immediate e-mail access across a range of devices, and access to legacy applications like AMTS." IBM will custom-fit Jumpstart bundles for smaller-sized companies that require fewer than 50 PDAs, but didn't release pricing details of those configurations. 

Source: Techweb site
For more information: http://www.ibm.com/pvc

MobileInfo Comments and Advisory: Without analyzing IBM's extensive pricing and configuration, the price tag of $100,000 for the wireless jumpstart package appears as a pretty good deal so long as it includes all the professional services to make it happen. IBM's WebSphere installation is onerous and all the software connections are not straight forward. If it is 50 PDAS and a stack of CDs, you should watch out for huge professional services bill. The devil is in the details of what the vendor will and will not d for $100,000. 

Note: This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and section 21E of Securities Exchange act of 1934 in USA. Similar provisions exist in other countries. There is no assurance that the stipulated plans of vendors will be implemented. MobileInfo does not warrant the authenticity of the information. Readers should take appropriate caution in developing plans utilizing these products, services and technology architectures.  All trademarks used in this summary are the property of their respective owners.

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