wireless application service provider (WASP)

WASP is also an acronym for the Web Standards Project.

A wireless application service provider (WASP) is part of a growing industry sector resulting from the convergence of two trends: wireless communications and the outsourcing of services. A WASP performs the same service for wireless clients as a regular application service provider (ASP) does for wired clients: it provides Web-based access to applications and services that would otherwise have to be stored locally. The main difference with WASP is that it enables customers to access the service from a variety of wireless devices, such as a smartphone or personal digital assistant (PDA).

Although the business world is increasingly mobile, many corporations are resisting the idea of wireless communication, because of concerns about set-up and maintenance costs and the need for in-house expertise. WASPs offer businesses the advantages of wireless service with less expense and fewer risks. Because mobile applications are subscribed to, rather than purchased, up-front costs are lower; because the WASP provides support, staffing and training costs are lower.

WASP services may include:

  • Constant system monitoring
  • Diagnostics and resolution
  • User support
  • Text formatting for various devices
  • Problem detection and reporting

There are still issues to be resolved. Coverage areas remain limited, for example, and data synchronization among devices can be problematic. Nevertheless, WASPs provide an easier, safer, and cheaper way for organizations to add mobile components, and a number of major companies are opting for them. UPS, Sprint, and eBay are among the early subscribers to WASP services. Interestingly, some ASPs have begun to offer WASP services, while others are purchasing them.

This was last updated in November 2010

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