AvantGo 4.0 M-Business Server

Bridging the wired and unwired mobile world with device-independent access to corporate applications

Bridging the wired and unwired mobile world with device-independent access to corporate applications

In today's business environment, organisations and service providers increasingly need to provide wireless-enabled access to their staff, customers and business partners. This requirement is coupled with the need to offer a 24-7 service due to changing working practices, customer expectations and global obligations. The growing number of access devices available to end-users, coupled with a plethora of differing operating systems and wireless networks, has created a potential minefield for businesses and service providers alike.

The AvantGo 4.0 M-Business Server solution enables organisations, service providers and application developers to communicate with staff, customers and partners via a device-independent mobile channel.

Enterprise solutions
AvantGo provides the M-Business Server product to enable organisations to communicate with employees and business partners over a range of handheld devices, while still utilising existing networks, established Web-based applications and legacy systems. The software avoids device-dependent code. Businesses can write an application once and content will be automatically distributed, in the correct format, to a wide range of devices.

It uses a server, installed at the user's data centre, which manages outward interaction and allows access to legacy systems and applications. The company also supplies a hosted offering on its server should the enterprise prefer it.

One benefit of the AvantGo technology
"M-Business server enables organisations to disregard the idiosyncrasies of differing operating systems, wireless networks and mobile device characteristics"
Source: Butler Group
is that reliance on support and development staff is greatly reduced. Early adopters of mobile technology, which developed in-house mobile front-ends, are faced with the constant challenge of modifying their applications as new devices appear on the market. By designing the product so that additional modules can be incorporated as new device types are introduced AvantGo provides some protection against future developments.

Product operation
The M-Business Server application basically
"Interoperability is the curse of the mobile world. "
Source: Butler Group
controls the interaction between the end-user device, a range of directory applications including Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), Active directories, NT domains and custom directories, and a range of specifically designed mobile engines.

Simple administration is a key factor in any networking solution. M-Business Server allows for remote browser-based administration of content and applications on either an individual or workgroup basis.

M-Business Server has the ability to manage interactive forms, colour graphics, JavaScript applications and tables, as well as supporting barcode scanning. It supports established standards, including: XML, HTML, SSL, ASP, CGI and JavaScript.

AvantGo also offers an HTTP user interface to simplify the delivery of applications across multiple platforms.

The mobile engines available with Version 4 include:

Mobile engine for Microsoft Exchange
  • Allows end-users to access the full functionality of all Microsoft Exchange applications, including corporate e-mail, calendar functions, contact lists, to-do lists and memos.

  • Facilitates synchronisation between different time zones, thereby enabling a common view of diary schedules.

  • Utilises existing authentication and access control to simplify administration

Mobile engine for custom applications

  • Enables users to remotely access back-end systems such as Sales Force Automation (SFA) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

  • Allows access to corporate Intranets for real-time and corporate information.

Mobile engine for the Web
  • Enables users to remotely access any corporate data or application on any device, over any network.

  • Provides self-registration and end-user account management.

  • Allows for creation of new accounts and selection of new applications via a browser-based interface.

  • Support of all current mobile devices, including RIM Blackberry and Bluetooth devices

Mobile engine for Lotus Notes
  • Allows access to all Lotus Notes applications including: e-mail; calendar functions; address book; and legacy databases, includes Microsoft Word e-mail attachment support.

  • Allows access to any custom Lotus Notes applications. Provides the means to access multiple distributed Lotus Notes Servers, thereby simplifying administration.

Mobile Internet service
ISPs face an even larger challenge than enterprises when the connectivity of handheld devices is considered. Enterprises can restrict the number of devices they will consider to the extent they may only allow access through company-supplied devices. Conversely, an ISP has to communicate with potentially millions of end-users, via whatever handheld device the individual has purchased. To offer one-to-many connectivity, AvantGo supplies a mobile Internet service to enable ISPs to offer scalable, secure and personalised access to millions of end-users.

For the end-user, AvantGo distributes free client software, available via either an Internet download or on a CD. This software enables private individuals to access personalised content from more than 1,500 optimised sites. Web access is not confined to the currently available optimised sites (the number of which are increasing monthly), as the ability exists to connect to any Web site. The range of optimised sites includes most news feeds, sports channels, major portal sites such as Yahoo!, MSN and financial information. There are currently more than 2.5 million end-users using the free, downloadable, handset-independent software.

There are several products currently available on the market that offer similar features to M-Business Server. But the feature that sets AvantGo's solution apart is the ability to dynamically access information via online, off-line and push modes. Whilst always-on connectivity will become widely available with the introduction of GPRS, there is still the requirement for the ability to work offline and queue completed tasks for transmission when desired. AvantGo satisfies this requirement and also provides the facility to push alerts to end-users.

About Butler Group Research and Advisory Services
This paper is reproduced from Butler Group's Research and Advisory Services. For more information on this and other technology focused services, contact Mike James on +44(0)1482 586149, email [email protected] or visit www.butlergroup.com/company/products.asp

Further information
Avantgo: www.avantgo.com

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