Forrester Critiques IBM's WebSphere Everyplace

In March, IBM launched WebSphere Everyplace, a suite at the center of the company's wireless Web effort, with technologies such as data synching and Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) functionality. The suite is a software package that, according to IBM's Mark Bregman, general manager, and John Prial, director of marketing, "sits between the app servers and the intended devices in the wireless market. This will be a service delivery offering containing an app server, with development and content management." According to IBM, the suite lets "businesses easily develop, manage, and deliver Web and enterprise applications to a variety of devices, including wireless handsets, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), and other Internet appliances." Analyst group, Forrester Research, recently issued a research brief by analysts Joseph L. Butt, Jr. and Carl D. Howe that offers opinions and criticisms concerning this major move into the networking space. The analysts explained that, according to IBM sources, all wireless Web efforts were part of IBM's Pervasive Computing Division. Pervasive computing and wireless Web might sound like the same thing, but they aren't. The Pervasive Computing Division also has home-networking and automotive-networking plans. The analysts added that, to succeed, IBM must move quickly into the home wireless and automotive markets. The brief explained, "GM has taken the lead in the automotive with its OnStar product." Forrester also argued that IBM would fail unless it tries to integrate its wireless solutions into its home-networking products. "IBM must develop and aggressively market a wireless home-gateway solution. IBM's waiting for homes to be rewired or merely focusing on high-end new homes will not put this market into overdrive." Most importantly, the Forrester analysts criticized IBM for stealth marketing. "IBM has identified the home and automotive markets as the next growth areas in the pervasive world, and stealth marketing will be the kiss of death there." The brief characterized IBM's drive for open standards as tepid and argued that "pervasive computing needs mindshare outside IBM." Because Forrester is among the best of the forward-looking analysts, IBM will certainly be paying attention to what this brief says. Unless IBM has something special up its sleeve, you can look for a stronger push from the company for an open standard for pervasive computing and more wireless home-networking solutions.

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