One company that appears to be increasingly important in Microsoft's evolving Web services strategy is peer-to-peer (P2P) pioneer Groove Networks, which Microsoft bought a 20% stake in. Groove will demonstrate a prototype of a client-based P2P product designed to work with Microsoft's forthcoming Pocket PC.
Using Simple Object Access Protocol (Soap), Groove has built an extensible integration framework called the Remote Client Framework, which allows the client to interact with any other environment capable of processing Soap.
"Ultimately the goal of the Remote Client Framework is to allow us to integrate with other environments either through a third-party application or through some other Groove client that we can connect through end-to-end security to tap into the native Groove environment," said Matt Pope, manager of device platforms for Groove.
Groove will demonstrate how the client version can exchange data seamlessly with a version of Microsoft's Outlook for the Pocket PC and show it working within a Groove environment.
Although the prototype does not support Microsoft's Instant Messaging and Windows messenger, Pope said Groove is considering such support in the final version of the product. He declined to say when the product would be completed.
Accenture, one of the world's largest consulting companies, will also show off its first application prototype of based on .NET My Services. The product is designed to assess how emerging technologies will impact the package delivery industry.
Called Accenture's Dynamic Delivery, the product uses several .NET My Services components including .NET Presence, .NET Calendar, .NET Notifications, .NET Wallet, and .NET Locator. The idea behind the product is to fundamentally change the delivery paradigm from being address-oriented to becoming user-centric by allowing services such as dynamic package re-routing.
"We think this will resonate well with anyone who has missed a delivery," said Vaiju Shah, a manager at Accenture's Technology Labs. "We can reduce missed deliveries by better using calendar and location information and hereby create a new chargeable service, in this case dynamic rerouting of a package to someone no matter where they are," Shah said.
The new prototype reportedly addresses a handful of basic business problems associated with package delivery, according to Shah. For instance, the application alerts a customer when a package is scheduled for delivery. That customer is then directed to a Web site that authorises that delivery, as well as being able to have the shipment immediately re-routed to a new address where the customer will be located.
Peter Urban, an analyst at AMR Research, said that Microsoft, Sun, IBM, HP, and Oracle Web services products are now maturing enough for companies to start using them in testing environments.
"Microsoft is the furthest along from a development perspective," Urban said.