'Push' back from the dead with BackWeb

BackWeb is banking that corporations will be receptive to revisiting push technology for B2B after retooling it to address the criticisms that had doused its popularity.

Analysts and industry insiders both agree: "Push" technology suffered from a "too much" complex -- too much content thrown at recipients -- but if it were toned down, it could realize the potential that created so much hype a few years back.

BackWeb Technologies (bweb) has announced that it will be doing just that, with its Universal Push Initiative launched on Monday.

The initiative calls for a single communications infrastructure that enables users to receive content through e-mail, wireless, fax and voice mail.

"It all about time." said Eli Barkat, chairman and CEO of BackWeb. "E-mail can't deal with the urgency aspect of some content, and push provides that."

The system allows for urgent information to be escalated and rerouted from one device to another if the recipient does get the message as part of its Polite Push feature.

Users can also define their preferences according to what types of messages they want to receive and how they want to receive them.

Also Monday, Lucent Technologies (lu) EMEA and Hewlett-Packard (hwp) announced support for the initiative.

Yankee Group analyst Michele Pelino said business-to-business markets are "primed for push technology" for training and mission-critical information, but that the initial reception of BackWeb's initiative will be key to its success.

As for consumer markets, BackWeb will have to convince advertisers that consumers are indeed ready to have targeted content pushed upon them.

"The customers are still on the Web and the potential for push is still there," Pelino said. "But in order to avoid what happened a few years ago, they'll have to educate people as to how to use the technology effectively."


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