IBM aims to dominate Wap market with WebSphere

IBM unveiled a wireless intitiative last week that promises to deliver Web applications and content to multiple wireless devices,...

IBM unveiled a wireless intitiative last week that promises to deliver Web applications and content to multiple wireless devices, writes Caroline Davis

Bundling its WebSphere server software with its WebSphere Transcoding Publisher Package, Tivoli Subscription Manager and other software ingredients, IBM says it has created "the most complete solution for enabling mobile e-business".

Despite IBM's promises, it is early days for the wireless Web. Gartner analyst Nick Jones said the initiative was necessary because by 2003 all e-business strategies will need a mobile commerce element. He said the package "will be valuable as part of multi-channel applications and architectures".

But he said this is only "one useful piece in a complicated jigsaw. Businesses must decide where to get WAP servers, and e-business models". He has concerns about the viability of transcoding software. Transcoding converts data from one display format to another, for example from HTML to WML, so a Web site can be accessed from a mobile phone.

Jones said human psychology plays a major part in creating the optimal user experience on a device and this cannot be translated between different devices.

Also the same device may be used for more than one function. A mobile phone may be used for voice then Wap, causing problems for a server trying to decide which format to send out data.

So although the WebSphere package may be useful in a business-to-employee environment, Jones does not believe it is ready for the business-to-business world.

IBM's wireless mobile partners

  • Nokia

  • Motorola

  • Cisco

  • Ericsson

  • Palm

  • Symbian

  • Intel

  • Read more on Wireless networking

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