Sybase goes iAnywhere

Sybase Inc. prepared itself in July 2000 for what appeared to be the imminent explosion of the wireless data business by spinning off a wholly-owned division to deliver mobile

solutions. iAnywhere Solutions, run from Waterloo, Ont., was set up to market the company’s SQL Anywhere Studio suite for creating mobile and embedded applications for Palm and Windows CE devices, as well as its own iAnywhere Wireless Server.

“”By 2003, up to one-third of business applications will be wireless-enabled for the workforce,”” iAnywhere’s president Terry Stepien said.

In a recent forecast by IDC, enterprises might not be there yet, but they are still interested. Crawford Del Prete, IDC’s senior vice-president of hardware and communications in the U.S. said that the 802.11 wireless networking protocol is an example of the corporate hunger for technology that moves with people.

Despite the complexity of 802.11– 802.11a is not compatible with 802.11b — Del Prete said it’s proof that people will respond to something complicated rather than nothing at all.

“”The focus on mobility today is backwards. We’ve been given all these devices with this functionality”” but haven’t given enough thought to where people can be productive using the technology.

The Internet by numbers

A panel of Internet auditors in July 2000 said that while instituting a standard online auditing practice would be a good idea, they had few ideas on how to best achieve and enforce it. Yahoo Canada’s managing director, Mark Rubenstein, said that something was “”amiss. We’re not holding Web sites accountable and we should.””

The panelists, which included members from the Canadian offices of Media Metrix, Nielsen/NetRating, Yahoo.ca, About.ca and GreyIntreactive Canada, agreed that many Web sites were unwilling to submit to third-party measurements. “”People always take the path of least resistance and least cost,”” Rubenstein said and urged media buyers to refuse to purchase space online if a site’s traffic isn’t independently verified.

Has anyone heard from Audrey?

Intel Corp. entered the Internet appliance market with its Dot.Station product, aimed at the home consumer with surfing and e-mail in mind in July 2000. Doug Cooper, the marketing manager at Intel Canada, said the product was “”designed to address the consumer who wants ‘Net access, but isn’t typically what you’d consider to be a PC owner.””

The appliance integrated access to the Internet, e-mail, a built-in phone and home organization applications. The theory behind the product was that it would be a standard communication device without the cost and maintenance associated with PC ownership. Cooper said it would “”become like a utility, like phone service or television cable,”” and predicted growth in the area. A Cahners In-Stat Group analyst agreed, predicting a 73 per cent market growth for Internet terminals, Web phones and TV-based appliances by 2005.

Unfortunately for these visionaries, Dot.Station went to an early grave along with other attempted Internet appliances such as 3Com’s Audrey and another Intel attempt, Rex.

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