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Business Objects Upgrades Wireless Portal

Recognizing the growing push for corporate workers to access company portals from handheld devices while traveling to remote destinations, Business Objects Tuesday launched the new version of the company's mobile business intelligence (BI) portal.

InfoView Mobile 4.0 lets workers to access key corporate information from their personal digital assistants or Web-enabled cell phones, and view data in several formats including color and charts.

Business Objects said the release is the continuation of a strategy the company created in March 2000, when it launched the first version of its wireless business intelligence portal. As many portals are, the information is personalized to ensure that only the relevant data is displayed and users do not waste time scrolling through irrelevant information.

4.0, the new version, extends support for PDA users by enabling customers to download WebIntelligence reports onto PDAs via synchronization and then view these reports in an offline mode. For example, a sales manager could get an update on sales of top customers while in the subway or on a plane. The product name has changed from BusinessObjects InfoView Wireless Edition to BusinessObjects InfoView Mobile to reflect these new product features.

Business Objects said a major selling point of the new portal is InfoView Mobile delivers more capabilities to mobile devices. Version 4.0 is tailored for PDAs, meaning tables are displayed properly and charts can be resized to fit the screen dimensions of the output device. Also, users can navigate reports to look at the data from a different view or drill into underlying details.

The portal also features a report synchronization feature, from which users may access corporate and personal reports that have been downloaded from the WebIntelligence server. For instance, a sales executive could download performance indicator reports for each region under his responsibility and could drill into each region to view sales by individual account. Users can also access their information in online mode, where they would run a report on the server, send the report to the PDA, and view the report on the PDA while connected.

Gene Villeneuve, director of portal and mobile product marketing at Business Objects, said the company made the necessary adjustment when it realized customers are extending access to information beyond personal computers to mobile devices.

InfoView Mobile has been tested, too, by optical networking giant Nortel Networks and major mobile players such as Palm Inc.

Marina Levinson, vice president and chief information officer at Palm, said: "Palm is committed to helping Palm economy players like Business Objects extend Mobile business intelligence solutions while enabling fast ROI to companies investing in Mobile technology on the Palm platform."

BusinessObjects InfoView Mobile 4.0 has completed beta and will be generally available at the end of this month. InfoView Mobile 4.0 runs on both NT and UNIX platforms and runs on any Palm OS PDA including Palm Pilot, IBM Workpad, HandSpring Visor, and Prism, as well as Windows CE-driven PDAs including Compaq iPAQ and HP Jordana. InfoView Mobile 4.0 also has added support for the Pocket IE HTML browser, Handspring's Blazer HTML browser, and Pocket PC devices.