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Future-proofing for m-commerce

Companies with mobile websites can now guarantee their content will be available to any mobile device using any mobile language

Companies with mobile websites can now guarantee their content will be available to any mobile device using any mobile language.

New company Argogroup, which is backed by Lucent and Logica, has developed software which can be used by companies to make sure their content is future-proofed against alternatives to the wireless application protocol (Wap).

For instance, i-Mode, which is sweeping Japan, is expected to make a European appearance next year. I-Mode uses the mobile language Compact HTML (CHTML), which is different to the WML (wireless mark-up language) used by Wap.

In addition, Argogroup’s so-far unnamed solution can also make sure that different Wap devices can download content in a uniform way. At the moment, one phone may contain errors from a site – often misplaced characters – while another may download it correctly.

The software sits at a company’s mobile internet gateway and, when a device requests content, it detects whether the device uses a different mobile language from the that of the content. It then ensures that the necessary changes are made to for the content to be readable.

In the UK, the house language would typically be WML. But, as well as CHTML, full HTML is expected to make a big appearance on phones and personal digital assistants when the first high-speed GPRS (general packet radio service) networks are rolled out commercially early next year.

John Doyle, Logica’s wireless internet solutions manager, says: “This technology enables content providers to offer ‘write once, publish to all’ wireless solutions, while preserving the original data quality.” Logica backs the roll-out of CHTML as a superior alternative to WML.

Full pricing details will be released later this month. They are expected to include both per-user and per-transaction options. The software is currently being used by Lucent’s wireless internet division and is now globally protected by 12 patents.

This was last published in November 2000

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