Wi-Fi app development to get US$25M boost from Sybase

The Research and Technology Park at the University of Waterloo in Ontario is getting a boost, as Dublin, Calif.-based Sybase Inc. announced a plan on Wednesday to launch a Wi-Fi competency centre at the university.

The competency centre, or research facility, housing Wi-Fi-enabled technology and staff, is just one part of a US$25-million investment by Sybase in an effort to bring reliable and cost-effective Wi-Fi, or 802.11 applications to the enterprise. The software company would also like to accelerate the development of applications to take advantage of the technology, said Rob Veitch, director of business development for Sybase subsidiary iAnywhere Solutions in Waterloo, Ont.

“What we have is a history of enabling this type of computing. What we want to do is fund some additional research and development, specifically with Wi-Fi, hotspot and application use,” he said.

Veitch said that while the technology behind Wi-Fi is revolutionary, the application and software development is the mitigating factor in making Wi-Fi more available.

“We are looking beyond the walls of the enterprise,” he said, “Wi-Fi will really make its impact by enabling the unwired enterprise and by extending the same kind of computing power you find at your desktop to people in the field.”

Some of the technology challenges that are blocking wider Wi-Fi deployment include: building applications that can adapt to varying ranges from hotspot locations; extending battery life of mobile devices; and ensuring security and support for users not located in a wired setting, he said.

By collaborating with research universities and industry partners Veitch said Sybase hopes to drives further innovation into its products.

The money will be divided into several areas including two competency centres, as well as collaboration with customers and partners to accelerate mobile application development and deliver database-powered enterprise solutions to mobile devices.

The University of Waterloo and Sybase’s Dublin, Calif. campus will be the first two locations in North America for the competency centres, with a possibility of more being developed.

The program will likely play out over the next 12 to 24 months, Veitch said.

Sybase is on the Web at www.sybase.com.