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A good week for the road warrior

As I started writing this column, I received an e-mail update from Tony Roman, T-Mobile's manager for international data roaming. He had followed up with Telestet, the Greek mobile operator, regarding the problems I wrote about last week.

The carrier was having a "connectivity issue," but hadn't informed T-Mobile. It has since been resolved.

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Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and chief analyst at Basex, an analysis firm that specializes in collaborative business knowledge in the enterprise. Click here to contact Basex.

 On a more promising note, the road warrior's needs were certainly in the spotlight at the 3GSM World Congress 2004 in Cannes. IBM and Nokia announced that they plan to jointly deliver mobile workforce solutions via Nokia's Communicator platform and IBM's mobile software (which includes WebSphere Everyplace Access Client, WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager Client, WebSphere Micro Environment, IBM Tivoli, and Lotus Sametime Instant Messaging Client for the Nokia Communicator). This alliance will bring increased functionality, such as instant messaging, ubiquitous connectivity, and productivity applications into the hands of mobile knowledge workers worldwide.

Fenestrae, a mobile software company, and Microsoft announced plans for a set of outsourced Exchange-based solutions that will give enterprise customers a new set of communications tools. One example cited was an SMS module that would allow users to send and receive text messages through the Outlook client.

Motorola introduced two new devices for mobile professionals, both sporting Microsoft Windows Mobile software. The MPx is a dual-hinged device that opens as a clamshell-style mobile phone in landscape mode, with a wide screen and full QWERTY keyboard. It blends the functionality of a mobile phone, PDA and e-mail client into one device. Motorola also unveiled the MPx 100, which uses a candy bar form factor to deliver e-mail, messaging and incorporating Bluetooth connectivity to wireless headsets, PDAs, laptops and Bluetooth-equipped automobiles.

Perhaps the most interesting announcement came from Cisco Systems, T-Mobile and Intel. They jointly announced a plan to collaborate on a pilot program to demonstrate that mobility is becoming more accessible and transparent. The three-month pilot will cover three countries -- Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States -- and each country will contribute 30 users as part of the proof of concept.

Each country will also demonstrate a different facet of mobility, to wit:

  • In the UK, users will use a single provider -- T-Mobile -- for two access technologies: WLAN and GPRS.
  • In the U.S., T-Mobile will provide Wi-Fi connectivity via T-Mobile HotSpots.
  • In Germany, users will test laptops, MDA2 PDAs and mobile phones via WLAN, GPRS and GSM.
  • A second phase will involve providing users with UMTS access.

    Cisco, T-Mobile and Intel are hoping to gain experience from the pilot to help them create the right offerings for the enterprise market. It is, of course, noteworthy that these three companies are joining together to explore how mobile workers use these technologies. We at Basex could have saved them a lot of time, energy, and expense by e-mailing them our Commentary columns from the past few months.

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