Newfoundland firm fills wireless void

A St. John’s, Nfld.-based company has created some wireless technology that fills a void in today’s marketplace, according to one Canadian analyst.

Consilient is introducing its Wireless Rapid Application dePloyment, or WRAP, technology to the marketplace as a means of porting existing vertical client/server applications for wireless delivery. That will result in tools that can integrate with existing software tools developed for the wireless-enabling market, said Trevor Adey, president of Consilient.

“There are all kinds of organizations out there in the business landscape that have established ways of doing things and workflow systems,” Adey said. “What we are trying to do with WRAP is get those same systems that they are comfortable with and enable them on wireless devices. Instead of taking new or proprietary or off-the-shelf applications and integrating them into the work processes that the company was engaging in before, what we are doing is allowing the company to use the same work processes and same applications, but extend them to the mobile workplace.”

That saves time and money, he continued, because so many work-order processes exist that necessitate a client using the telephone or a wireless radio solution to call out dispatch orders. This technology allows customers to take the technology on their desktop and enable it on wireless handheld devices so that voice calls don’t need to be made.

Workers receive mobile work orders electronically on the screen and see what they have to do and where they have to go to do it. Once the work is done, they send back a notice so dispatchers can update their files.

“Sending the data directly to a device and then allowing a mobile service person to send the data directly back into the accounting systems and the billing systems increases accuracy and reduces the amount of time required to do these transactions,” Adey said. “This increases the efficiencies in getting the accounts receivables in from the clients. Not only does it increase efficiencies from the workplace, but it reduces the time for receiving cash from your clients.”

Warren Chaisatien, an analyst with IDC Canada, said this is a smart move for today’s marketplace, but Consilient will have to move with the times if they want to keep it effective for the future.

“Today, apart from applications like e-mail and Web-page browsing, enterprise applications that [Consilient is] referring to are usually not made wireless-enabled, even though we have a number of enterprise applications talking to handheld vendors,” Chaisatien said. “I think their technology fits into a market hole right now.

It appears to be an emulator that fits between the enterprise application and the device, so instead of fixing the problem at the root cause, like making the application wireless-enabled, which can be time-consuming and expensive, WRAP copies the screen of the application and modifies it and sends it to your device wirelessly.”

But that only works for now, the analyst added, because this market opportunity may not last long.

“What we are seeing is that all the players in the wireless industry are starting to get their act together, and that includes people like Microsoft and Palm application vendors and carriers like Bell Mobility,” Chaisatien said, adding that he sees Consilient doing well with this until around 2005. “When these people get their act together, enterprise applications will be really wireless on the device instead of the approach that WRAP is trying to take. Until four or five pieces of the jigsaw come together, WRAP is doing a good thing filling this hole right now.”

For now, Adey’s early adopting marketplace is keeping Consilient busy.

“These people need this data to do their jobs,” he said of the market his company is targeting. “We see this market as being early adopters because they are paying for these products out of budgets that will introduce efficiencies to the company and will have a return on investment.”