RealTime IT News

Lycos Discloses Wireless Ambitions

Lycos Inc. Tuesday unveiled its comprehensive wireless initiative designed to enable Web searches through nearly any type of wire-free Web device.

Based on Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) programming, "Lycos Anywhere" allows wireless search functions from any major portal.

Lycos's strategy leverages its personalization platform built on a device-agnostic technology that provides consistent user results, regardless of the wireless device or carrier. Users can start a Lycos wireless search from a personal start page launched from "My Lycos."

Ron Sege, Lycos executive vice president, said "Lycos Anywhere" is the most comprehensive wireless offering of any major portal.

"It is an effective combination of content, search, e-commerce and applications," Sege said. "The wireless market is exploding as more users adopt new value-added tools. It's a worldwide phenomenon, and Lycos's global infrastructure positions us to take a leadership role in the marketplace."

The Lycos wireless launch complements its May merger with Terra Networks S.A., which created a hybrid firm dubbed Terra Lycos. Through a partnership with Terra's parent company, Telefonica S.A., Lycos gained access to an extensive communications infrastructure consisting of more than 60 million customers globally, including 21 million wireless customers.

After the deal is done, Terra Lycos will own nearly half of a new wireless joint venture. Lycos plans to contribute products and services including its powerful wireless personalization platform. Combining the mobile services of the companies allows the firms to be first to market with new wireless services.

The heart of Lycos's strategy beats on corporate demand for one, unified wireless Web experience. Lycos believes that users want a common form of navigation as they switch from one wireless device to another. Lycos's personalization platform allows millions of users to determine what information is delivered to wireless devices and desktops, in what order. Users simply set up a profile a computer, cell phone, or even a pay phone to outline the information they seek.

Jason Pavona, Lycos director of wireless strategy and personalization, said personalization is the key to customer satisfaction when delivering information to a limited device space

"Lycos Anywhere lets the user decide what information is most important, and that information is formatted specifically for each device, maximizing the efficiency, and therefore the satisfaction, of the experience," Pavona said.

According to Cahner's InStat Group, the growth of wireless services like Lycos search will come from corporate demand for wire-free communication services.

Kneko Burney, InStat director of e-business infrastructure and services, said corporate America is going mobile.

"As the year 2000 marks the rapid extension of the enterprise across multiple boundaries, large firms are struggling to manage growing numbers of mobile workers, remote branch offices and telecommuters," Kneko said.

In-Stat estimates that large firms in the U.S. support nearly 1 million remote office locations around the globe in addition to roughly 5 million telecommuters, an average of 96 locations and more than 450 telecommuters per firm. By 2004, the average large corporation will support approximately 153 remote branch offices and 660 telecommuters.

Kneko said large companies are using wireless devices to keep employees productive, even while they're on the go.

"This year, more than 13 million enterprise employees will use wireless phones and other similar devices," Kneko said. "By 2