IAnywhere provides messaging for mobile apps

IAnywhere Solutions has released a new messaging product for its mobile database software called QAnywhere, which lets developers write applications for "occasionally connected" devices that can synchronize frequently throughout the day with back-end systems, the company said Monday.

IAnywhere is a division of database provider Sybase. Its SQL Anywhere Studio is the most widely used "small footprint" database for laptops, handheld computers and other devices used by workers in the field, according to various analyst estimates.

While it's relatively easy to write applications for SQL Anywhere Studio that synchronize with back-end databases at the start and finish of each day, customers had been asking for a way to let mobile workers exchange information more frequently with a variety of back-end systems, said Roger Kehl, an iAnywhere senior product manager.

QAnywhere is a "store and forward" application-to-application messaging technology that lets them do that, he said. Developers can write applications that synchronize with back-end application servers and messaging systems that support Sun Microsystems Inc.'s JMS (Java Message Service).

"This extends the options available to developers, so they can now link to back-end systems besides just their databases," he said.

The technology could help companies provide better customer service, said Carl Zetie, an analyst with Forrester Research. For example, if a delivery company can exchange up-to-date information with its drivers more often, it can update schedules and give customers a better idea of when a delivery will arrive, he said.

"IAnywhere's option today is based on the AvantGo technology they acquired, which is OK, providing the client application is reasonably simple. If you have a rich client, like a sales force automation or a field services application, then it's much easier to do it with a message queuing product," Zetie said.

Other options available to developers include IBM's WebSphere MQ Everyplace messaging software, as well as products from pure-play vendors such as Cranbury, Broadbeam. But QAnywhere appears to be the most affordable option, according to Zetie.

Customers pay US$60 per seat to use QAnywhere with Windows devices, or US$30 for Windows CE devices, Kehl said. The software is shipping now with SQL Anywhere Studio 9.0.1, and customers pay the extra charge for QAnywhere at deployment time if they use it.

"That's significantly lower than how this kind of software has previously been priced," Zetie said. "One of the things they promised to do was shake up the pricing in the message queuing market, and it seems they are doing that."

Along with a messaging API (application programming interface), QAnywhere supports transmission rules for optimizing message delivery; transaction and message compression; message encryption during storage and transmission, and other features, iAnywhere said.

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