IBM to tie handheld users to corporate data

Positioning its MQSeries middleware to take advantage of the expected explosion of wireless handheld devices, IBM this week debuted MQSeries Everyplace, which allows users to conduct secure business transactions.

The new product, which can have a footprint as small as 60KB, allows mobile users to access essential corporate data residing on server-based business applications from devices run by the Palm OS, Windows CE, the Java Virtual Machine, Epoch, and those with applications ascribing to Win32 APIs.

"Right now sales of [personal digital assistants] are outselling PCs three to one, with some analysts predicting that by 2004 more than 80 percent of wireless devices will have Internet access. The industry is evolving these things from being something that just does calendaring and e-mail to something that is useful for commercial purposes," said Rob Lamb, director of business integration for IBM Software Group, in Somers, New York.

Based on analyst expectations, Lamb believes the worldwide market for pervasive computing technologies and services will grow to more than $US200 billion in the next three to five years.

An advantage of the new product, according to Lamb, is it gives users the assurance of "once-only delivery" of messages, eliminating the need for multiple retries, lost messages, and duplicated messages.

"Users have been able to connect wireless devices into LAN-based systems for a while, but not with the certainty that when you send a piece of information it is going to get there and get there only once," Lamb said.

Because it is based on technology that has been field-tested for years and works on more than 35 different platforms, Lamb believes MQSeries Everyplace can sidestep the frustrations some mobile users have with unstable networks, inconsistent connections, constrained bandwidth, and limited battery resources.

There will be two versions of the product, one with 56-bit encryption and another with 128-bit, the latter being the highest level of encryption the U.S. government allows, Lamb noted. Both versions support the usual array of Internet-based protocols including HTTP, TCP/IP, UDP, and WAP.

Besides handheld devices, MQSeries Everyplace works with phones, laptops, workstations, and unattended devices such as sensors and probes.

Ed Scannell is an InfoWorld editor at large.

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