, November 12, 1998 — In today’s world, information is mostly fixed. It sits on desktop computers, networks and servers; even notebook computer users have to laboriously copy their data from their desktop to portable computers. At the same time, computer users are mobile. Whether it’s planes, trains, automobiles or just walking down corporate halls to one of a half-dozen daily business meetings, workers are on the move. The question is how do you resolve this paradox and enable mobile professionals and everyday road warriors to gain access to their information – wherever they are, whenever they want it, and on whatever portable device they are using at the time?
Microsoft and Qualcomm this week announced a significant step toward solving this problem – Wireless Knowledge, a joint venture between the two companies. The vision is to extend the reach of key personal and corporate information – e-mail, calendar data, contacts, databases – beyond the confines of a desktop/server environment to the world of wireless data services. A cross-section of wireless carrier companies attended Wireless Knowledge’s announcement event to voice their support for the venture, including Air Touch, AT & T Wireless, Bell Mobility, Bell South, GTE Wireless, Leap Communications, Sprint, and U S West Wireless.
Wireless Knowledge services will be built on an end-to-end architecture based on industry-standard technologies, including Windows CE, Microsoft BackOffice, and Microsoft Commercial Internet System (MCIS), as well as industry-standard Internet protocols. This ensures that software developers creating applications and content on top of the Wireless Knowledge architecture will employ the same familiar development tools and languages currently used by the 5 million Windows developers worldwide. Corporate end users and IT managers will also have confidence that Wireless Knowledge services will integrate with their existing and future networking environments.
On the device side, Wireless Knowledge will support a full range of Windows CE devices, palm-sized PCs, browser-equipped phones, pagers, HTML-enabled Personal Data Assistants (PDAs) and laptop computers. This will give users tremendous flexibility in accessing wireless data services.The Wireless Knowledge service will be optimized for each device in terms of available data storage and video display size.
Equally important, Wireless Knowledge will be accessible over all digital wireless wide area networks, including those based on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) and Mobitex. Wireless Knowledge services will enable carriers to offer their mobile customers wireless access to data and applications securely over their choice of wireless networks and enterprise systems.
“Wireless data is a logical extension of the Microsoft digital nervous system, enabling users always to be connected to their corporate and personal information,” said Steve Ballmer, president of Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to working with partners to provide an end-to-end solution set that that is based on Internet standards. Wireless Knowledge is an important component of this overall strategy.”