CA Touts Unicenter Platform for Device Management

NEW ORLEANS (04/11/2000) - Left behind through many of the announcements and innovations Computer Associates International Inc. has generated at its CA World 2000 conference here so far, CA's Unicenter TNG (The Next Generation) system management system finally grabbed headlines today, thanks to partners that are deploying mobile e-business platforms via CA's flagship management product.

Presented aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Liner, "Enchantment of the Seas," CA showcased partner companies that are using integration with Unicenter to bring end-to-end management services and products to devices and appliances normally not connected to an IT infrastructure.

The demonstration revealed how "real-world management" is being ushered into the realm of wireless and mobile systems, network devices, and services and fed into handheld computers, PDAs (personal digital assistants), satellite dishes, cell phones, vending machines, and kitchen appliances. Some of these wireless management systems are also actively conducting business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions, said Ken Farber, CA senior vice president, worldwide alliances.

Not by coincidence, the very ship on which the presentation was held employs Unicenter TNG to manage the back-end infrastructure of the cruise line's IBM AS/400, Windows NT, Unix, Sun, and Tandem components, said Tom Murphy, chief information officer of Royal Caribbean cruise line. Murphy said Unicenter TNG has helped make possible the availability of the ship's "Internet Café," which lets passengers surf the Internet while on board, and watch interactive TV in passenger cabins.

A CA partnership with cStar, a developer of communication control devices, has produced the "Unicenter TNG Optimal Vending Solution," designed to bring vending machines directly into the e-business landscape by having them act as network nodes. By integrating its SkyGate and DirectGate wireless communication technology with Unicenter TNG, cStar can incorporate remote diagnostics, monitor inventory levels, change price levels, schedule service calls, and track real-time sales through a wireless interface or power-line carrier.

The two companies also intend to create methods to monitor other nontraditional IT resources such as utility meters, pipe lines, traffic lights, ATMs, and home appliances.

The ability to process and send information remotely to and from a new host of wireless and mobile devices might even outweigh the clear manageability benefits, said Laurie Wood, director of Global Alliances and Business Development at Palm.

"It's not so much managing these devices, it's about controlling the content and information in the hands of these devices," Wood said.

Computer Associates International Inc., in Islandia, New York, is at http://www.cai.com/. cStar Technologies, in Toronto, is at http://www.cstartech.com/. Palm Inc., in Santa Clara, California, is at http://www.palm.com/.

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