In the very near future many hand-held device users will use them as a means of conducting remote electronic transactions. This...

In the very near future many hand-held device users will use them as a means of conducting remote electronic transactions. This has major implications for storage technology. Frank Booty reports.

A report produced by Forrester Research - 'Europe's mobile internet opens up' - claims a third of all Europeans will use the Internet through mobile phones in 2004. Operators will try to control content and commerce services in the early years, but by the end of 2002 new Mobile Internet Providers (MIBs) will deliver open access to the internet for all.

The rise of mobile internet access, and the spread of portable IT appliances, have implications for storage, its management, and associated technology.

Hamish Macarthur, managing director of storage market analysts Macarthur Stroud International, comments: 'Storage on mobile devices will be replicated. Initially we see products, such as Sterling Software Lifeguard, being able to replicate data changes on a notebook, and the next time the user signs on to pick up his e-mail, the replicated backup is secured centrally.'

The explosive growth of storage to cope with business demands will create a need for new software tools. 'The virtualisation of storage should make management more consistent, while also enabling users to access their information requirements, whenever and wherever they are, in a timely and responsive fashion,' says Macarthur.

Ron Riffe, business development manager with Tivoli's storage business, says: 'Tivoli wants to be ready for pervasive computing, and pervasive storage management. That's storage following you around. We're preparing for the management of all devices that have storage on them, and that involves the use of the Internet. This year we have patented a new technology to handle this.

'This is a backup technology allowing us to look at information inside files at the block of data or byte level,' says Riffe. 'We could back up the word 'the', for example, rather than the whole file, if that was all that had changed. The technology is efficient enough to begin to do backup operations over wireless links.' Indeed pervasive computing is expected to be wireless.

'In the longer term, we'll move to management of data by 'policies',' says Riffe. 'An example of a 'policy' is where a customer sets up a wireless data link. As we move into pervasive computing, these 'policies' will expand. Suppose someone travels from the UK to Germany. The digital signature tells the network where the person is located. A global positioning system gives the geographical location. A wireless link allows data transfer. Relevant pieces of data will be transferred to the handheld device, wherever that person is located.

Riffe says Tivoli is applying the techniques used for managing data in the data centre environment to the pervasive computing environment. Its newly-patented technology is used to move bytes, rather than whole files, and only the bits that are changed are backed up. 'This is all part of our plan to be prepared for pervasive computing,' comments Riffe.

'Tivoli Management Agent is a lightweight agent fitted in any device, such as personal digital assistants, refrigerators, and vending machines. Applications for management are built on top of these agents,' says Riffe. 'It's about building scenarios we'll be able to manage.'

Tivoli's European sales manager, Nick Drabble says: 'IBM's microdrive holds 340Mb in a one-inch-square package. That'll be 1Gb this year. Today Kodak gets 340 colour photos in a camera. With 1Gb that's one-hour's worth of real-time video. With TMA spread across millions of devices globally, distributed management tasks are immense. TMA can go into phones, PDAs, cameras - anything.'

The International Telecommunications Union recently agreed on future-proof solutions to support seamless global roaming across networks, with six network-related standards. These aim at 'facilitating global roaming, and ensuring seamless service delivery, via the various fixed and mobile networks around the world'. Pervasive voice, packet data, and multimedia, can be expected on a mobile device near you. Soon.

Pervasive mobile commerce

Butler Group, an IT consultancy, is predicting a massive growth in mobile commerce in banking, retail, and other industries, such as construction and professional services. The prediction comes on the back of expectations of one billion wireless application protocol (WAP) enabled phones in use by 2004. More people are also expected to be browsing the Internet, using mobile devices, than via PCs. Europe is expected to see the bulk of activity.

Deutsche Bank is working with Nokia to develop mobile banking applications, and Internet retailer Boxman is working with Ericsson to allow mobile phone users to purchase over the internet. Japan's 'DoCoMo' service (internet access service), claims 500,000 new subscribers a month, and has set its sights set on overtaking AOL as the world's largest subscriber based internet access service.

Martin Butler, chairman of Butler Group, says: 'By 2003 we'll see mobile phone users giving verbal commands and experiencing video, music, and full multimedia functionality.' Butler has set up a free mobile commerce portal

Meridian Research Inc. notes 'If Noth America, Europe and Asia-Pacific are combined, the potential number of digital wireless device users approaches a staggering 300 million. By 2003 this number is expected to surpass a half a billion users

Allies Business Intelligence (ABI) saya 'WAP based terminals will account for one third of all user terminals by 2005. WAP-based handsets will grow from 12% of all handsets produced in 2000 to 33% in 2005 as wireless operators begin to define data offering that will suit users.'

Mobile Insights has predicted 'the worldwide market for instant messaging will frow from 50 million to 175 million by 2002, and that most of that growth will be attributed to mobile users.

Framington, Mass May 25, 1999 - More than 111 million people subscribed to wireless services in 1998, producing almost 40 billion in revenues. By 2003, there will be nearly 186 million subscribes, generating revenues of almost $69 billion. This data comes from a recent report from International Data Corporation (IDC), U.S. Wireless Services and Devices Market Assessment, 1998-2003.

Dataquest figures predict that one billion mobiles will be connected to the Internet by 2003. IDC expects 18.9 billion handheld devices to be shipped worldwide in 2003.

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