Enterprises Turn to Pocket PC for Mobile Business Solutions
New Windows-Powered Mobile Devices Deliver The Security, Compatibility Corporations Require
New York - April 19, 2000 - Today at Pocket PC launch events in New York City and London, Microsoft Corp. and industry partners announced that companies including Jamba Juice Co., Starwood Hotels, Nabisco Inc., EMC Corp., Dresdner Bank Group, Husky Oil Ltd., Avis Europe and the United Kingdom's Royal Mail are piloting or deploying Microsoft® Windows®-powered Pocket PCs. Before Pocket PCs hit store shelves today, these enterprises had already been evaluating the devices as a critical platform for their mobile business solutions. Whether standardizing on Pocket PCs for corporate purchases like Nabisco, or rolling out specialized vertical applications like Husky Oil, leading enterprises are finding that Pocket PCs can boost productivity, improve customer service and reduce operating costs.
"Companies are looking for ways to extend their systems to provide employees with access to their business processes and information wherever they need to work," said Bob Muglia, group vice president of the Business Productivity Group at Microsoft. "Pocket PCs' tight integration with Microsoft Office and BackOffice® family applications and a familiar Windows operating system-powered development environment, coupled with the versatility of the platform, make them the ideal tool to extend a company's computing power and productivity to the mobile professional."
Windows-powered Pocket PCs, the next-generation mobile devices from Microsoft and industry partners, offer customers the best way to connect to their most essential information while away from their desk, yet are flexible enough to satisfy the personal demands of today's busy mobile lifestyle. Pocket PCs were designed to be a secure extension to the enterprise, with core security processes and technologies. They include power-on password protection and support for SSL and PCT, 40- and 128-bit encryption, CryptoAPI 1.0 and Windows 2000 challenge/response.
Connectivity With Critical Business Data
Pocket PCs help users connect with their critical data - from core applications including the Outlook® messaging and collaboration client, Word, Excel and Internet Explorer browser software to specialized line-of-business applications. As more mobile devices enter the workplace, organizations are creating internal standards to ensure that the devices fit well with the enterprise infrastructure and are manageable by IT. Nabisco has chosen the Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC as a corporate standard for its employees.
"At Nabisco, it is important that our mobile workers have the ability to keep in touch easily with their crucial data, such as contacts, calendar, e-mail and Web content, but we also needed a mobile device that our IT department was confident it could support," said Stephen Seidel, senior workstation analyst at Nabisco. "Because of the familiarity of Windows, with Pocket PCs our employees can quickly and easily be more productive. For these reasons we standardized our corporate purchases on the ultra-thin Compaq Aero (now iPAQ) Pocket PC."
Pocket PCs are expandable, through software and hardware with industry-standard expansion slots. The devices are built using powerful 32-bit, low-power CPUs and contain 16 to 32 MB of RAM, giving developers enough power and memory to add specialized applications. Pocket PCs also support CompactFlash and PC Card (PCMCIA) slots, enabling organizations to deploy varied and powerful line-of-business solutions by using options such as storage cards and wireless connectivity as well as digital cameras, modems, network adaptors, bar-code scanners and other peripherals.
Husky Oil is expanding Pocket PC capabilities by utilizing Pocket PCs from Symbol Technologies with a bar-code reader and Abaco Inc.'s thin-client software, Varadero, so the company can manage the maintenance repair operating (MRO) supplies used in maintenance processes in its Western Canadian plants.
"We have designed a system for Husky that allows data collected from remote locations to be fed across its corporate network and then distributed automatically into a number of supplier ERP systems including SAP," said Mike Finch at FinTech Services Ltd. "We're excited about the solution because it will help our customers reduce inventory tracking costs and will improve data accuracy in their warehouse facilities. We chose the Pocket PC and Abaco's Varadero for the strengths of the technologies and the familiar Windows-powered environment."
Extensibility Within the Enterprise
Development tools, including the Microsoft Visual Basic® and Visual C++® development systems and the Visual InterDev® Web development system, ensure that more than 5 million developers for Windows already know how to develop for the Pocket PC to create client/server, thin-client and Web-based business applications. The Pocket PC also supports Microsoft technologies such as Microsoft Message Queue Server (MSMQ) for reliable business transactions even when disconnected, ActiveX® Data Objects (ADO) and OLE DB APIs for access to enterprise databases, ActiveX Controls for small code modules, the Common Executable Format so developers can write their code once and run it on any Pocket PC regardless of CPU, and the CryptoAPI for companies that want to utilize their preferred encryption technology. These familiar development tools and technologies, along with the integration with BackOffice applications, enable corporations to rapidly deploy solutions leveraging their existing knowledge base.
"EMC stakes its reputation for superior customer satisfaction on effective communication between our headquarters-based technical support personnel and customer service engineers in the field," said Joseph F. Walton, senior vice president of Global Customer Service at EMC. "We expect that Pocket PC will make this communication simpler, more efficient and increasingly cost-effective. At the end of the day, EMC customer service experts will be able to manage their time more flexibly and productively, leading to enhanced customer relationship management."
The ease of development and the potential of the Pocket PC as a line-of-business tool has prompted a number of large enterprise ISVs to support the platform and make their applications available on the Pocket PC, including Baan Co. NV, Computer Associates International Inc., Healtheon/WebMD, Oracle Corp., Pivotal Corp., SAP AG, Shared Medical Systems and Sybase. A number of key enterprise infrastructure ISVs also announced support for the Pocket PC, including Abaco, Attachmate Corp., AvantGo Inc., Citrix Systems Inc., Extended Systems Inc., JetForm Corp., Odyssey Software, PenOp, River Run Software Group, River Bed and V-One Corp. These products provide enterprises with functionality parallel to that which they have been using on desktop PCs, including forms-generation tools, databases, thin-client technology, workflow tools, sales force automation tools, systems management, direct server synchronization, legacy application access, transaction processing, signature capture and virtual private networking.
Customization for Specific Enterprise Needs
Already more than 130 Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs) trained on deploying Pocket PC-based solutions are available worldwide to help organizations interested in deploying mobile solutions. MCSPs offering Pocket PC services include EDS, Cap Gemini Group, Plural Inc., SEMA Group, Ameranth Technology Systems, CasioSoft, Forte Systems, Step Technologies, Extreme Logic, Rainier Technology, TBS Software Inc., WinLix, ExpandIT Solutions, Aston IT Group, ARS, KnowIT and Thinque Systems Corp.
"We've already experienced tremendous enterprise demand for Pocket PC-based wireless solutions," said Keith McNally, president of Ameranth Technology Solutions. "The integration between Pocket PCs and BackOffice products has been a decisive factor for many of our customers such as Starwood Hotels, which is using Pocket PCs integrated with a Microsoft Access solution to streamline housekeeping quality control; Pyxis, with its Pocket PC-enabled medication verification and documentation system; and Jamba Juice, which is using Pocket PCs to reduce customer wait times during peak hours."
More information about MCSPs that support Pocket PC can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/mobile/enterprise/sp.asp.
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