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Collective Wisdom Launches European WAP Services

Collective Wisdom, the only Italian firm listed in the Internet 500, has announced the formation of Collective WAP, a division of the European Web agency dedicated exclusively to the development and design of applications, Web services, and content for wireless devices.

"WAP has a number of advantages over the web as a platform for personalized services," said Collective Wisdom president, Mark Abouzeid. "First, a cellular phone knows where you are and therefore, can provide you with localized information on demand. Second, cellular phones have much deeper penetration and acceptance in Europe than computers. We don't need to convince users to try a new technology, simply to adopt new services."

According to Forrester Research, nearly 30 percent of Italians own a cellular phone. In Sweden, this figure has already been exceeded, while 17 percent of the United Kingdom population are using wireless telephones. France, with 15 percent, and Germany with 11 percent, round out Europe's top users.

"We are currently working with clients from Italy, Israel, the United States and other countries," said Abouzeid. "All of whom have specific applications to bring to WAP."

Collective WAP, based in the central Italy region of Tuscany, has developed a team of expert resources in WAP technology and architectural design. According to Abouzeid, the company's current client book includes a unified messaging service which will allow computer and WAP users to communicate in real-time, an information and entertainment network for WAP users, and medical data/notification via WAP devices.

In Italy, with a target user population of 29 million persons versus 5.5 million Internet users, WAP is a clear way for manufacturers and ISPs to expand their market. In addition, deep discounting of WAP devises by manufacturers such as Alcatel, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and Siemens, has already made WAP acceptance in Italy a reality. TIM, the Internet division of Telecom Italia, presently offers WAP gateway services, and other providers like Omnitel and Wind are close behind.

"We are not only looking to porting current web sites to phones but exploring new services which would not be possible on the web. For example, through Collective WAP's affiliation with On-Line Communications, one of the leading agencies in the pharmaceutical industry, we are examining ways to significantly increase prescription yields through WAP notification," explained the WAP Collective president.

As a concurrent announcement, Abouzeid pointed out that Collective Wisdom has also registered WAPmoda, a site that will focus primarily on design issues for wireless devices. The site is expected to launch in May.