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The company formed by the Sun Microsystems-Netscape Communications alliance, iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions, introduced a Mobile Access Pack for its iPlanet Portal Server last week at the CeBit show in Hanover, Germany, extending the portal platform to include integrated wireless capabilities.

The product pack, which can be deployed on top of iPlanet's Portal Server, allows mobile access to enterprise services and applications and lets service providers offer portal services through any Internet-based device.

The Mobile Access Pack is integrated with iPlanet's Messaging, Calendar, and Directory Server software products and supports WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), iMode, SMS (Short Message Service), and location-based services, iPlanet officials said.

Adding wireless functionality to the portal server answers an enterprise need for tight integration of services and information, said John Fanelli, director of marketing for communication and portal products at iPlanet.

"If I receive an SMS message, I should have the access to the phone number that ties in with the message address. So if I need to respond urgently, I have the option to call back directly. This provides tight integration of services that gives business users greater synergy with various forms of communication," he said.

IPlanet, in Palo Alto, California, also introduced two other portal packs that can be deployed separately or in conjunction with the other packs. The Secure Remote Access Pack provides remote access to personalized corporate portals and intranets via a VPN on Demand feature, which establishes secure tunnels that allow users to access corporate portals or any resource behind the firewall from any Web browser, according to iPlanet officials. The Personalized Knowledge Pack offers collaborative knowledge management with search, categorization, and document collaboration.

According to analyst Carl Zetie, director at research company Giga Information Group, the strength of iPlanet's wireless portal offering is its cohesive architecture.

"What makes this interesting is it is an integrated portal strategy across the desktop and mobile devices. It is an integrated and architectural approach," he said.

"Some other application server vendors have one architecture for desktop and another one for wireless. Assuming you need to deliver an enterprise portal to employees and customers, iPlanet's approach means you only need to deal with one set of technologies, regardless of whether the channel is the desktop or a WAP phone. You still need to design separately for each, but the management, configuration, and technology would be common," Zetie said.

In addition to its portal packs, iPlanet introduced a new Enterprise Edition of its Portal Server. The enterprise version, which is based on a J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application platform, offers enhanced availability and scalability, officials said.

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