Location/context -Sensitive Application Development Platform Revealed for 802.11 WLANs

Newbury Networks, a Boston-based startup funded by idealab! Boston and run by executives from other wireless companies, announced yesterday the availability of a solution for building location and context-aware applications for 802.11b networks.

The new platform is called AuraServer. The company described it as a solution enabling the development of appplications that leverage wireless users, locations, and 802.11b wireless LANs. Newbury demonstrated the platform to executives at this year’s DEMOmobile 2001. Newbury stated that the platform is designed primarily for producing applications that increase the efficiency of mobile workers in vertical markets such as those in hotels, airports, warehouses, and corporate environments.

The applications produced using the solution are designed to increase the efficiency of mobile workers by adding a layer of location and context sensitivity information. AuraServer is structured around two primary components that integrate information based on the user and his or her location – these are called Auras and Locales.

Auras, according to Newbury, identify user location, services available at that location, and user accessibility to other users and locations.

Locales define contextual spaces known to the AuraServer system. They define which services are available in the spaces and provide information about the Auras currently in their space.

Auras and Locales are used by AuraServer to provide information and data to mobile workers in their working environments.

The AuraServer platform, according to Newbury, integrates with any back-end enterprise application through an Enterprise Java Bean (EJB) interface. The client layer, called AuraClients, is a Java-based application which run on PDAs like Palm OS and Pocket PC devices. Sun’s Personal Java 1.2 is also supported. Development tools create client screens and custom applications.

Newbury stated that the AuraServer is available immediately for implementation with assistance from Newbury Network’s professional services organization or through the company’s certified consulting partners. AuraServer supports Windows NT, UNIX, and Linux-based platforms.

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