Wireless application integration firm Orsus Solutions has signed a reseller agreement with Siemens Communications in Europe for the company's Uno Studio, a series of connectors and tools for accessing, modifying and integrating data sources.
Orsus VP of business development Gwen Durrill says the Siemens announcement represents proof of concept for Orsus' technology. Siemens will include Uno as part of its next-generation IP communications HiPath enterprise convergence architecture.
Wireless application integration mirrors the more traditional EAI (enterprise application integration) and application server environments, where companies are trying to more tightly combine information from SQL databases, sales force automation, customer relationship management and enterprise resource management applications. Siemens is using HiPath to provide technology for Web-based call centers, e-business, mobile communications and customer relationship management. The product line includes an IP adapter to provide customers with full-featured IP telephones and an IP-based switching feature for high-rise buildings using dark fiber and Ethernet distributed shelves. The HiPath MobileOffice application server features subscriber and call control capabilities, including the distribution of core communications server features to cell phones and other remote telephony clients. The company's optiClient 330 is an all-IP soft phone solution that allows users to place telephone calls via their laptops.
Orsus Solutions was cofounded in March 1999 by Aryeh Finegold and Amir Weinberg. Finegold is best known as founder and CEO of Web performance management firm Mercury Interactive and Daisy Systems (sold to Intel), while Weinberg held a series of senior technological positions at Mercury. Finegold is now Orsus chairman of the board and CEO, and Weinberg is president and CTO.
Orsus provides technology and solutions that aggregate, integrate and deliver information to automate the everyday tasks of Web and wireless users. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, with sales and services offices in New York. A London-based subsidiary serves Europe, while R&D efforts are based in Or Yehuda, Israel.
The company has raised a total of $68 million three funding rounds from VC, corporate and private investors. VC funds came from Cedar and Infinity, and publicly traded companies that pitched in included Clal and Koor Industries. Orsus' third round of funding closed in late 2000; investors included Comsor, Comverse and Singapore Telecom.
The interest in mobile devices and the convergence of technologies such as voice, data and visual communications has created a new sector called wireless application integration. Key issues in this area include integration with existing EAI software, application collaboration and user collaboration. On a practical level, any wireless application integration environment needs to consider application-level integration, including the management of wireless session information and security over diverse carrier networks and the incorporation of business logic and rules in the proper format for different types of mobile devices. Enterprise-level integration might include the creation of a single wireless connectivity gateway accessing a diverse level of applications, support for component models for reusability across the enterprise and the provisioning of 'push' messaging and bidirectional data flow.
Orsus' solution to linking external systems is to aggregate data, says Durrill. Uno parses a target Web page or query result and categorizes all the components, such as graphics interchange format files, tables, text fields and banners, making it easy to identify essential information. Uno's visual development interface generates script for the Uno server engine, which pulls relevant information into a database for delivery to the customer. Uno's server engine is written in Java and is compliant with J2EE. It runs on Web application servers running on Windows 2000, HP-UX, Solaris and Linux.
Out of the box, Uno supports integration with most ERP systems, XML data, HTML pages, SQL databases and other back-end enterprise software, the company claims. The resulting aggregated application that Uno generates can be delivered to standard Web browsers, PDAs, WAP-enabled phones and regular voice phones.
Orsus faces potential competition from the larger enterprise software vendors, such as Siebel and i2, should they decide to build add-on wireless modules. For now, though, competitors include Sybase's iAnywhere, Aether, AvantGo, Xora and Brience -- which all provide tools for bringing wireless applications to the enterprise. Most also deliver enterprise data to PDAs and WAP-enabled phones using suites of tools that include a graphical development environment and distribution server.
Aggregation technology is still new and remains an unproven technology. Additionally, adoption of wireless application integration software is low. More and more companies are entering the market, but, perhaps as a reflection of the market's immaturity, each has a different approach.
Many companies are still cautiously weighing the benefits of the technology against the costs of implementation. Vendors are working to bring costs down. One way is through improved integration software that can speed wireless projects and may eventually let companies do some of the implementation themselves.
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