Compaq Rides on M-Commerce Trend

SINGAPORE (06/12/2000) - In the area of wireless communications, the world is shifting from utilizing wireless devices for just simply obtaining information, to doing electronic commerce transactions on these mobile machines, said Larry Schwartz, group vice president, Compaq Computer Corp.'s telecommunications division.

Taking advantage of this trend, Compaq unveiled its MPI-eC (Mobile Internet Platform-enterprise Commerce) here last week. The offering incorporates advanced technologies for mobile users to use their handheld devices to receive Internet-based data, and do commercial transactions in a secure and fail-safe fashion.

By 2003, more people will access the Internet via wireless devices than with PCs, said Schwartz, referring to predictions by IGI Consulting. The researcher also expects that 830 million wireless devices will be used to access the Internet by 2005, he added.

For mobile commerce, Schwartz suggested that businesses like banks (a target customer segment for MPI-eC) could employ a strategy that telcos have successfully taken with handphones.

"Banks could bundle wireless devices as part of their banking services," he said.

MIP-eC which is also aimed at network operators, runs on Compaq's NonStop Himalaya systems, Windows NT/2000-based ProLiant server, and later this year, on AlphaServer systems with Tru64 Unix.

It makes it possible for service providers and businesses to deliver business-grade wireless Internet services through transaction integrity and security; tight linkage with back-end business applications, databases, and content portals; continuous availability even with extremely high transaction volume; and scalability, Compaq said.

The vendor developed MIP-eC at its Singapore Engineering Design Centre that was formed last year for the sole purpose of developing new telecommunications technology.

"Having our worldwide debut of the product in Singapore symbolizes the industry's recognition that the mobile commerce lead is in Asia," Schwartz said.

MIP-eC features multiple protocol support for Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) 1.1, Short Message Service (SMS), HTTP, gateways for integration with back-end applications and data sources, and the ability to create personalized applications based on user preferences.

In addition, it will support emerging standards such as General Packet Radio Switching (GPRS), Bluetooth, and Universal Mobile Telephony Services (UMTS).

For security, MIP-eC accommodates Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technologies.

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