Enterprise solutions provider Mincom has launched itself into the wireless market astride software developer Technisyst's newly developed software in an effort to converge wireless applications into a mobile office.
According to Mincom's Utilities VP Allen Vaughn, the new mobile energy solution will end the utilities industry requirement for users to be tied to the desktop. "The power of the mobile technology solution is its flexibility, being appliance independent. It allows users to interact with Mincom's enterprise solutions and their whole office environment while they are on the move via WAPs, mobile phones, laptops or mobile data terminals mounted in vehicles," he said.
By making the system independent, Technisyst has removed one of the major bugbears of the wireless sector - interoperability and cooperation between content providers and applications providers stemming from the varying scripts and protocols involved.
Earlier this year, US-based research and consulting company Ovum sent out severe warnings to channel companies, pointing out the dangers of investing too much in a technology yet to be proven. However, most of these warnings are in relation to wireless application protocol (WAP) - the scripting used by some wireless devices, but not all.
As IDC analyst Joel Martin points out, WAP technology is in its infant stages and is being morphed and redeveloped daily. No one is certain where the market will lead, but Martin predicts that the final products will most likely be a hybrid of what is currently on the market. A network set up to use the WAP protocol could be outdated inside a couple of years, if not sooner.
In the face of these warnings, Brian Webb, Technisyst's managing director, remains unfazed. He believes that one of the strongest aspects of Technisyst's middleware is that it allows the uptake of new wireless technologies as they develop. "Every different network uses its own particular protocol which handshakes between the towers and the actual vehicles at the end ," he said. "As a new provider enters the marketplace, be it WAP or otherwise, all we need to do is add that to the program so that it will talk to it. It works on the same principle as the drop down list on your desktop that asks you what sort of modem you've got."
"At the moment we are using the devices and technology that are on the table today, but it is all such new technology we were careful not to lock ourselves in."
According to Webb, wireless networking is a billion-dollar industry that will be at least twice as big as the Internet. "Australia as a marketplace is at the blossoming stage," he said. "Australia is a huge adapter of technologies once they get going and in terms of using wireless technology for things like job dispatch, resource allocation, and being able to monitor things, they are going."