Personalization Will Grow, Sun President Says

ATLANTA (06/07/2000) - High-technology companies must consider the importance of portability, proximity and personalization as they develop new products that take advantage of new high-speed networks, according to Sun Microsystems Inc.'s president.

Personalization might be the most important of the three, said Ed Zander [CQ], Sun's president and chief operating officer, in a keynote address here at SuperComm today.

"I'm often asked what's the next killer app. I don't think there is a killer app, I think it's all about personalization," Zander said. "Devices and services are going to know who you are and what you want to do."

A mobile phone will "know," for example, that its owner is in a meeting and can't be interrupted. Or the device will be able to transmit data to a rental car as a customer approaches the counter to fill out a contract. Such data would include the car's destination, the customer's preferred radio station and the temperature at which the car's heater should be set.

Turning to portability, there are already enough products on the market, led by Palm Inc.'s handheld device, to demonstrate that the feature is a critical factor for people who need to access the Internet away from the office.

"You have to understand this portability thing," Zander said. "If you are at a company and you are developing today, you have to think about where are your customers, where are your employees, suppliers and what devices will they use to access the data they need. It's really important to understand that in terms of how you build your business."

Developers also should consider the importance of proximity to ensure that portable devices can link to other computers to make it possible to find a restaurant within a given environment, such as an airport, Zander said.

Sun has placed bets on a number of developments that the company believes are coming to the Internet and computing. One is the massive scale that will be needed to move the huge numbers of transactions.

"We are actually... pushing a lot of computing science here in terms of figuring out how to build very, very large backbone systems," Zander said. "One of the big bets in this industry is can we scale this thing."

Sun, based in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at +1-650-960-1300 or via the Internet at http://www.sun.com/.

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