Wireless apps options increase

SAP AG will be working with Palm, maker of handheld wireless devices, to develop wireless solutions for the MySAP.com Mobile Workplace environment, an official of SAP said yesterday.

Palm and SAP are jointly developing mini-applications for mySAP.com Mobile Workplace, which are expected to become available by the end of the year, said Boston-based Howard Beader, director of mobile solutions for SAP Labs, headquartered in Palo Alto, California. In addition to its business partnership with SAP, Santa Clara, California-based Palm is providing its employees with wireless access to back-end platforms via its "Palm at Palm" project, Bender said.

"Salespeople are not willing to wait 10 minutes for their laptops to boot up," said Beader, referring to the need for immediate, wireless access to ERP (enterprise resource planning) data. Real-time, wireless access reflects the faster pace of doing business in the new economy, and it is "really not going to be an option; this is going to be the standard", he said.

Salespeople and field service staffs will require access to product pricing, availability, and configuration information in real time, Beader said. They will also need to conduct wireless transactions.

The Palm project is one of many that SAP has underway in the United States. Currently, there are 10 wireless pilot projects in progress with companies in the consumer products, aerospace and defense, discrete manufacturing, beverage, and processing industries, Beader said.

"Some will be in limited production by the fourth quarter," Beader said. "Or definitely by the first half of 2001." Worldwide, SAP has undertaken approximately 60 wireless projects, Beader said.

In addition to Palm, SAP has partnerships with Nokia for WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) products and services, supporting Mobile Workplace, and with Microsoft to jointly develop Mobile Workplace solutions for the Pocket PC handheld organisers running Windows software. Casio Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer, and Symbol manufacture the devices.

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