IBM, Lotus tie up to power wireless synchronization

IBM Corp. plans early in 2002 to unite its relational database wireless synchronization engine with the Lotus Domino Everyplace Server, in a new release of the WebSphere Everyplace Server family of software.

The move is part of IBM’s ongoing effort to realize closer technology ties with its Lotus Software subsidiary and to provide a more complete wireless synchronization offering to customers looking to wireless-enable business applications and information.

IBM’s DB2 Everyplace with relational database synchronization capabilities will come together with the e-mail and PIM synchronization in Lotus Domino Everyplace, in an attempt to address the requirement for synchronization that underlies enterprise efforts to extend e-mail and applications to wireless devices, said Jon Prial, vice-president of marketing in the pervasive computing division at IBM, based in Armonk, N.Y.

“Between those two elements [e-mail and relational database synchronization] you have all you need to deliver the information to the device,” he said.

Expected in the first quarter of 2002, the WebSphere Everyplace software family also will ship with support for the SyncML standard, an XML-based technology designed to enable synchronization of remote data and personal information across multiple networks, platforms and devices. IBM and Lotus are founding sponsors of the SyncML Initiative.

SyncML support is critical to create the greatest amount of interoperability between all types of devices and servers, Prial said.

“You cannot limit what it is someone can do with one of these devices and who they can synch up with. We have to open that wide with open standards,” he said.

IBM’s long-term vision in the wireless space is to provide a common infrastructure for wireless, stitching together Lotus, Tivoli, and IBM technologies.

“We see the infrastructure requirement to support wireless devices coming together to a common infrastructure base, and IBM is bringing all those technologies together, whether it is synchronization, trans-coding, or subscription and device management. It is all part of a broader solution base.”

The current piecemeal approach to enterprise wireless networking is giving way to a drive for common platforms to ensure interoperability and cohesiveness, according to Jennifer DiMarzio, industry analyst at Summit Strategies in Boston.

“Wireless is an emerging market so you’ll see a lot of different point solutions that don’t work well with each other. But if they don’t work together on the backend, the information becomes siloed and that is not how an e-business is supposed to work,” she said.

As companies start to add more wireless applications it is increasingly important to support wireless in a more streamlined way, DiMarzio said.