Conference showcases big and small enterprise appliances

Conference showcases big and small enterprise appliances

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

Information technologists are the samurai of the Internet age, futurist James Canton said at a recent conference sponsored by Giga Information Group Inc. of Stamford, Conn.

Canton, president of the Institute for Global Futures in San Francisco, said IT managers 'have the tools to reinvent organizations' but need some reformation themselves. Fewer than 3 percent of IT executives spend any time with users, he said, and that leads to isolation from the people who are driving the adoption of new technologies.

The conference featured demonstrations of several up-and-coming enterprise technologies:

•'Bluestone Software Inc. of Mount Laurel, N.J., at www.bluestone.com, gave an eight-minute demonstration in which a representative scanned the bar coded name tag of a person randomly selected from the audience into a Symbol SPT 1740 RF PalmPilot handheld from Palm Computing Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif. The representative also entered the person's cellular phone number.

Bluestone's ConXML application then converted the scanned data into Extensible Markup Language and sent it to a Symbol Spectrum24 wireless LAN receiver connected to the company's Total-e-Business server, which automatically displayed the person's name on a Web page and custom-printed the name on a T-shirt.

The Total-e-Business software then sent e-mail to an on-stage PDQ Smart Phone from Qualcomm of San Diego. The phone dialed the person's cell phone with a notification that the shirt was ready.

Bluestone says Total-e-Business can mediate between many device types using existing LANs, WANs and radio-frequency protocols.

•'Radiant Logic Inc. of Novato, Calif., displayed its Virtual Directory Server and Information Resource Locator, which are designed to make database information more accessible. The VDS architecture maps databases and creates IRLs for each database record or view. The IRLs then go into a directory tree structure, where users can navigate across islands of data by clicking on familiar directory folders.

Radiant Logic showed the technology working with standard Web browsers, computers running Microsoft Windows and mobile phones.

IRLs can be embedded into applications across enterprises so that core data is usable in different processes, regardless of the source environment.

•'Attachmate Corp. of Bellevue, Wash., demonstrated CellFrame, which connects Web-ready cell phones to mainframe data. Attachmate has tested CellFrame with the European division of Sharp Electronics Corp. of Paramus, N.J., processing parts orders via cell phones.

•'Sun Microsystems Inc., at www.sun.com/sunray1, showed off its book-size Sun Ray 1 enterprise appliance, an alternative to networked PCs that is said to require no changes to existing applications and does not tie a user to a fixed location. With a smart card, a user can work at different units and sites, accessing the same personalized desktop PC applications, including legacy mainframe and Windows NT applications.

The Sun Ray 1 leases for $9.99 per unit per month over five years. Equipped with a server, monitor and network connections, plus Sun's StarOffice productivity suite, the per-seat price is $30 per month over the same 60-month term.

• Unisys Corp. showcased the company's new e-@ction Enterprise Server ES7000, a massive unit designed to handle Intel's forthcoming IA-64 Itanium processors. The new machine accommodates up to 32 Pentium III Xeon processors, field-upgradeable later to Itanium.

Users can configure a cabinet with Itanium partitions and Pentium III Xeon partitions. The demonstrator swapped one processor board for another in seconds with no interruption in operations.

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