IBM claims wireless domain With SWAP

IBM Corp. unveiled Wednesday what it calls a breakthrough server-software technology that allows users to manage their Internet-based commercial operations while on the road.

IBM named the software SWAP (Superior Wireless Applications). When installed on a server, SWAP unlocks the services on the machine to mobile users. Using a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) such as the Palm Pilot from Palm Inc., a user can accomplish virtually any task he could while using a PC in the office connected to a server on the network, IBM said in a statement.

A sales executive, for example, could wirelessly place orders, access sales reports and tap into the company database, IBM said, adding that SWAP offers ‘rock-solid’ security with password protection, support for encryption and the ability to limit access to a specific number of devices.

“IBM isn’t the only company that is wirelessly enabling their products; they’re continuing the trend that was started about 18 months ago,” notes Tim Sheedy, research manager at the European Mobile Communications EMEA unit at market research firm International Data Corp (International Data Corp and the IDG News Service are owned by the same parent company).

“IBM seems to be leveraging its existing customer base, for example WebSphere users, to use its own technology instead of moving to a competitor,” Sheedy said, naming SAP AG, Oracle Corp. and Informix Corp. as companies that are ahead of IBM with mobile services.

SWAP was created in IBM’s development facilities in Austin, Texas. The software runs on AIX, IBM’s version of the Unix operating system, and can be downloaded onto the new IBM eServer p640, a rack-mounted Web server announced earlier this month that is specifically designed for wireless access. The p640 is priced at US$18,054.

The new SWAP software improves on Big Blue’s existing SNAPP (System Networking, Analysis, and Performance Pilot) software. This technology – released earlier this year – offered a remote administration tool for IT managers and administrators.

This announcement follows a pair of separate announcements made on Monday by IBM and rival Sun Microsystems Inc., when each launched new products and services for the corporate wireless infrastructure market. IBM on Monday also announced several deals to provide wireless technology to European telecommunications and Internet service providers.

IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., can be reached at