Oracle to deliver apps to mobile workers via GPRS

Oracle is now delivering its internal CRM and sales force automation applications over BT Cellnet's GPRS network.

Oracle is now delivering its internal CRM and sales force automation applications over BT Cellnet's GPRS network.

The company claims it is blazing a trail in remote computing with this roll out. Chris Baker, vice president of ebusiness for Oracle in the UK, said: "We believe that we are the first company to deliver ebusiness applications over a GPRS network." The system is based on Oracle's 9i ASWE middleware product, allowing any Oracle application to be delivered via GPRS. The company has also demonstrated trading exchange software over the network. The first users of the system are Oracle's own sales force, using Motorola Timeport P7389i phones to connect to the system over a variety of laptops. Oracle is working on adding a location detection system, based on identifying the cell from which the call originates. MapInfo and Xmark are providing this technology, which will eventually enable the system to proactively push information to sales reps, such as the details of customers in their local area. "The main advantage of using GPRS is the always-on connection," said Baker. As a packet-switched network, GPRS saves time by accessing the net instantly without the long waits for connection experienced by GSM users. Baker also confirmed that GSM data speeds are still well below the theoretical maximum enabled by GPRS technology. "Right now, it's running GSM speed [9.6kbit/s] and a bit," said Baker. "The limiting factor is the phones and the [handset] software on them."