IFS and IBM are collaborating on the next generation of mobile business solutions that will be device independent and based on new online-when-available technology, rather than always online or always offline.
"First-generation mobile applications, running on low-powered personal digital assistants, offered cost savings for field service applications, but the technology was proprietary and solutions were developed for specific devices," said Michael Hallen, president of IFS research and development.
"The second generation of online-connected wireless application protocol and Web solutions ran multiple devices and offered broader functionality, but they were only practical in controlled environments such as warehouses and offices.
"With the new IFS/IBM approach, an on-the-move user will be able to pick up data in any location from any one of the variety of mobile devices that are rapidly appearing on the market. IFS' component approach combined with IBM Java technology for mobile devices is a perfect match to fulfill market demands.
"We have worked with IBM products for the previous generations of mobile solutions. When it was time to select an infrastructure for the future, we did an extensive evaluation of products from all major vendors. IBM's WebSphere Everyplace technologies proved superior."
Within the joint effort, IFS is developing IFS Mobile Engine, a server component for data synchronization and mobile transaction processing. IBM is contributing the messaging infrastructure, plus client-side technologies from the IBM Solution Partner Center at Hursley, Winchester, England.
The client solution is based on Java 2 Platform Micro Edition running on top of an IBM J9 Java virtual machine, using DB2 Everyplace for secure storage and MQ Everyplace for reliable transaction processing.
In addition to supporting IFS Mobile & Wireless Services solutions, IFS Mobile Engine will offer a full Web service interface extending offline and synchronization capabilities to other applications. The solutions are expected to be available in the first quarter of 2003.
"IFS holds a leading position in both defense and service and asset intensive industries -- industries where core processes are performed out-of-office and on-the-move. With IFS expertise and presence in these markets, we can be sure that the solutions built will really provide the benefits and fast payback customers require," said Lawrence Sellin, mobile Internet alliances executive at IBM.
IFS develops and supplies component-based business applications for medium and large enterprises. IFS Applications, which is based on Web and portal technology, offers 60+ enterprise application components used in manufacturing, supply chain management, customer relationship management, financials, engineering, maintenance and human resource administration.
IFS provides customers step-by-step evolution to the extended enterprise with e-business solutions that offer partner, customer, and supplier collaboration.
A top five global business applications supplier, IFS has more than 3,200 employees, with sales in 43 countries. The company is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange (XSSE: IFS). More information is available at www.ifsna.com.