June 2003, Sybase,
Inc., has unveiled a $25 million strategic initiative to bring
reliable and cost-effective Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) applications
to the enterprise. Sybase will collaborate with leading research
universities and industry partners to overcome current barriers
to the development of "always available" applications
for the unwired enterprise, helping companies extend the desktop
computing experience to mobile and remote workers.
The first stage of the Sybase Wi-Fi initiative will include the
launch of a network of Wi-Fi competency centers, one of which
will be hosted at the Research
and Technology Park at the University of Waterloo , Ontario,
Canada, one of the world's foremost technology research institutions.
In addition, Sybase will collaborate with its customers and its
network of over one thousand partners to accelerate mobile application
development and deliver database-powered enterprise solutions
to mobile devices. Sybase will also initiate a global marketing
campaign in conjunction with its partners to raise awareness of
how Wi-Fi technology enables the unwired enterprise -- delivering
the right information to the right people at the right time.
"Sybase, through our iAnywhere
Solutions subsidiary, is already helping over 10,000 corporate
customers benefit from mobile and wireless information
access," said John Chen, Sybase chairman, president and CEO.
"We also offer the largest mobile content service in the
world, with over 8 million registered users of My
AvantGo. Our new initiative will leverage that expertise to
meet the enormous pent-up demand for reliable enterprise Wi-Fi
applications that deliver measurable ROI."
"Pervasive computing and Wi-Fi technologies together are
a significant area of research for the University," said
Vic Diciccio, Director, Institute for Computer Research, University
of Waterloo. "The University of Waterloo and Sybase have
had a long history of collaboration and we're extremely excited
to have this opportunity to advance unwired enterprise computing."
Sybase today is solving many of the technology challenges that
are blocking wider Wi-Fi deployment, including:
-- Roaming -- Sybase mobile technologies overcome connectivity
and roaming barriers through industry-leading data management,
enterprise synchronization and messaging technologies that give
mobile workers the unique ability to be "always available"
and work either on or offline for consistent access to their data
and corporate applications.
-- Security -- End-to-end security features reduce the security
threat of mobile devices operating outside the firewall. Protection
includes both on-device encryption and communications stream encryption
to ensure the confidentiality of business-critical information.
Mobile systems management further strengthens security by providing
a reliable mechanism to distribute security patches and enforce
the use of secure configuration for Wi-Fi users. Sybase also plans
to adopt Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standards when they are
-- Device Battery Life -- Sybase's "always available"
architecture leverages local data storage, allowing workers to
avoid the extreme battery drain of online connections by accessing
important information offline, and then synchronizing when convenient.
"Although enterprises see great potential in applying Wi-Fi
technologies to their business, many are still confused about
employing Wi-Fi, with security, application persistence, and ease
of deployment/use as primary concerns," said Jack Gold, vice
president of META Group. "There are significant opportunities
for vendors to take a leadership position by enabling one-stop,
complete solutions, thus easing the way for enterprises to apply
these technologies to their business."
Wi-Fi, also known as 802.11, solves many of the cost and performance
problems associated with wide area wireless. Some analysts project
the Wi-Fi industry will expand at a compounded annual growth rate
of approximately 30 percent, and estimate that over 40 percent
of United States companies already support Wi-Fi networks, with
an additional 25 percent planning to implement and support the
technology in the next 18 months. Yet, an estimated 30 percent
of executives cite significant barriers to deployment of Wi-Fi
including inconsistent connectivity, low network security, short
device battery life, a lack of reliable "unwired" applications
and technology infrastructure that is not wireless-enabled.