IBM Aims to Build Wireless Ecosystem

Pushing to become a key player in the market for wireless enterprise
infrastructure, IBM Monday used the 3GSM World Congress in
Cannes, France as a platform to unveil a slew of new wireless infrastructure
products and strategic alliances.

The key component in IBM’s strategy is the Wireless Enterprise Delivery
Environment (WEDE), a framework for the interconnection of wireless networks
and enterprise systems which dovetails with Big Blue’s existing Service
Provider Delivery Environment (SPDE) and will help companies provide
end-to-end mobile solutions for their customers and mobile workforces.

The SPDE is a software, hardware, and services play which aims to give
wireless and wireline telecommunications service providers the flexibility
to introduce new voice, text and Internet-based services to their customers
faster, easier and at lower cost. The WEDE goes a step further by taking
those capabilities and putting them into the hands of the enterprise.

WEDE details the horizontal infrastructure required to provide a common
development and deployment platform that allows companies to rapidly and
cost-effectively support new applications — including mobile sales and
field force automation, e-mail access, asset monitoring, supply chain
management and mobile commerce — and also to provide access to new devices
and networks.

It is based on the standards advocated by the Open Mobile Architecture (OMA)
initiative, which attempts to specify common interfaces and technology
enablers used by every company in the mobile telecommunications industry. It
focuses on the interoperability of mobile services across terminals,
operators and markets. It utilizes a mobile extension for Java 2 Platform
Enterprise Edition (J2EE) based application servers.

“We no longer see the operating system as the center of the universe,” Ozzie
Osborne, vice president of Strategic Alliances, IBM Pervasive Computing
Division, told “What we’re looking at is a layer
across it.” He added, “The hardware layer here is transparent to us. There’s
nothing that really goes down to that layer. Wireless, 802.11, wired — it
shouldn’t matter to us.”

To support the platform, IBM has established two Wireless Enterprise Labs:
one in Raleigh, North Carolina, and one in LaGaude, France. The two labs
will implement the Wireless Enterprise Delivery Environment using IBM and
its business partners’ software and hardware. IBM said its business partners
will be able to use the labs as a testbed to integrate components into
wireless solutions based on the WEDE.

A host of IBM partners are building on the WEDE’s foundation to provide
their own solutions. At 3GSM, IBM and Nokia plan to demonstrate
standards-based solutions — built on WEDE, WebSphere Infrastructure, and
Nokia’s business terminal platforms — designed to help companies mobilize
their business processes. The two partners said they also plan to develop
and implement joint solutions across a range of Nokia business terminals,
including the Nokia 6800, and Symbian-based devices like the Nokia 9210i
Communication and Nokia 7650. IBM also plans to develop and deploy its
WebSphere Everyplace Access client for the Symbian platform.

Big Blue is also collaborating with Sony Ericsson to provide secure
end-to-end solutions with advanced mobile handsets, intended to accelerate
business usage.

It also unveiled an end-to-end middleware solution with Wavecom, geared to
providing enterprise users and network operators simpler and more efficient
connections between different machines across the IT ecosystem. The solution
embeds IBM’s MQIsdp messaging protocol onto the Wavecom Wireless Module,
allowing it to transform data from handsets and other devices so that it
matches the data requirements of other enterprise mobile applications. IBM
said the wireless modules can be integrated into a number of devices ranging
from vending machines to electricity meters and industrial appliances.

IBM worked with Alcatel to create a solution that will give mobile workers
access to back-end applications from their laptops or PDAs over multiple
networks with seamless services continuity. The solution builds on Alcatel’s
GPRS, WLAN and ADSL access offerings and IBM’s WebSphere and Lotus software.

Another partner is SFR, which combined its GPRS data offering with IBM’s
WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager to facilitate cross-network roaming
that allows mobile users to switch between a wired network and GPRS without
having to restart applications/

It also unveiled isMobile Blå Coordinator suite, a joint effort with
mobile field force automation specialist isMobile and Midray (a Debitel
company in the Swisscom Group which provides mobile services to the business
market from mobile network providers like Vodafone and T-Mobile), which
enables companies with mobile workforces to increase their service
efficiency and reduce their work order cost.

Palm refused to be left out. It announced the availability of IBM’s Lotus
Domino Everyplace Access Server and Lotus Sametime Everyplace on its new
PalmTungsten W handheld.

While much of IBM’s attention at 3GSM is focused on the enterprise, it also
had several new offerings for the service provider market, including
extensions to the existing IBM Rapid IP Services for e-business Solution
(WebSphere Everyplace Subscription Manager, WebSphere Business Integration
for Telecommunications, DB2, and WebSphere Portal) in an effort to address
service provider needs in delivering public wireless LANs. It also unveiled
an integrated WAP 2 platform based on Openwave’s Mobile Access Gateway 6 and
WebSphere Application Server, Portal Server, DB2 database software, pSeries
e-Servers and storage. IBM said the platform will give operators the ability
to drive lower costs and faster product cycle times.

IBM also launched an on-demand wireless e-business solution with Smartner,
based on WebSphere Everyplace middleware and IBM servers. The strategy is to
reduce the total cost of ownership for mobile office solutions with simple,
rapid deployment, and highly scalable mobile access of e-mail servers from a
variety of devices.

Big Blue is also developing a solution with InfoSpace which will target the
mobile professional by unifying general and vertical industry information
services, navigation and other location-based services, and availability
management services into a single offering which delivers to mobile phones.
The solution will include InfoSpace’s managed service offering for mobile
push-messaging, WebSphere Portal running at the wireless carrier, and
WebSphere Everyplace Access running at the enterprise behind the firewall
and interfacing with Lotus Notes or other enterprise information systems.

Finally, the company established the Developer Center for Telecom and
e-business in an effort to support WebSphere Telecom Application Server. The
center gives IBM partners a place to leverage Big Blue’s development
facilities, test applications in a network environment, and explore new
channels for products.

News Around the Web