Dejima pulls menus from wireless apps

Dejima unveiled software on 6 September designed to bring the ease of use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) more in line with...

Dejima unveiled software on 6 September designed to bring the ease of use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) more in line with that of PCs.

The company's Direct software will allow everything from an entry in a sales force automation application to a stock quote to be accessible through natural language queries. By avoiding menus, Dejima claims it can save users time and make a complex application more bearable on wireless devices.

Dejima claims the product will allow companies to improve the delivery of enterprise class applications such as Customer Relationship Management software to handhelds, two-way pagers and other wireless devices. It will allow a salesperson to make text queries such as "5,000 chips deliver by October 15", and will then search through databases to say whether the order can be completed by the desired date.

The software sits on top of existing server-side applications, adding its natural language search capabilities to existing applications. The software is Java-based, which makes it easier to deliver content to a variety of devices and to connect into application program interfaces on large server-side applications, said the company.

On the client-side, support is offered for short message service, wireless application protocol, Web, e-mail and I-mode.

The company has created libraries of commonly used terms to make searches point to the right information, said Julian Tandler, product manager of Dejima's enterprise business unit. The company interviewed workers to find out what words they use for certain tasks in their industry; acronyms and other terms used within a specific company can even be added to a language database.

"We help provide enhancements to wireless offerings by allowing the user the option of just asking for what they want in the way they want to ask for it without going through the menu structure," Tandler said.

For business users, Dejima's product can sort through things such as product catalogues, contact information and calendar appointments, all from a single search page. A user, for example, who has forgotten the date of a meeting but knows who it is with could type, "meeting Bob", and the software would locate the appointment.

In consumer markets, a content-focused Web site could use the Dejima software to help users find information quickly. Someone might type "Manchester" into a query box and then be able to choose from Manchester United's football score on the day or possibly the weather in Manchester without going to a portal and pressing several keys to find the information.

The product will be launched in October and a pricing structure will be set as testers comment on the "value add" provided by the Direct product, said Tandler.

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