Oracle Ships Portal-to-Go

At Telecom ’99 in Geneva on October 11, Oracle announced the release of Portal-to-Go, a content and service integration platform that the new wireless devices can use to communicate with existing Web servers to provide access to Web content, database applications, and secure e-business applications. According to Denise Lahey, vice president of mobile and embedded products at Oracle, the goal of Portal-to-Go is “to allow any service to be translated to any device.” Portal-to-Go will communicate with devices such as the Palm VII, WebTV, and cellular phones using developing standards such as Voice Markup Language (VML) and Motorola’s VoxML. Both VML and VoxML are relatively new protocols that let you use voice to access the Internet from a cell phone. As a result, Portal-to-Go represents an open and scalable solution. Portal-to-Go is more than simply a translation server; the programming of Portal-to-Go lets developers actively manage content. Oracle also announced that it will form a joint development lab with Symbian at its Redwood City, California, headquarters to speed development for devices based on that mobile OS. With the handheld Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and cell phone wireless marketplaces set to explode, many vendors are racing to provide products that will let their information systems communicate with a wide range of these new devices. The Gartner Group estimates that the cell phone marketplace in particular will increase from 305 million cell phones today to 1 billion cell phones in 2005. More important, although 120 million PCs currently access the Internet, a figure that increases by about 20 million each year, analysts anticipate that 105 million users will access the Internet from these new wireless devices by 2005. The new devices will span many form factors and different OSs, including the Palm OS, Windows CE, and the Symbian OS. Oracle intends to market Portal-to-Go to carriers, Value Added Providers (VAPs—e.g., telcos), large enterprise customers, and content providers such as and Yahoo! Portal-to-Go was formerly code-named Project Panama—an obvious reference to the Panama Canal, which lets ships pass between two oceans. Several carriers are integrating Portal-to-Go into their services. For example, BT Cellnet (British Telnet), a 5-million member network in England, has used Portal-to-Go to integrate the services of E*Trade, Yahoo Calendar,, the Encyclopedia Britannica, a banking service, a movie listing, and access to the service provider’s directory services to the cell phones that its customers use. Denise Lahey mentioned that another large Korean telco with over 4 million subscribers has been able to add nearly 100 services to its offerings in a short period. Other services that Portal-to-Go provides includes stock quotes, traffic, and weather, as well as mobile messaging and contact management. Portal-to-Go will go into large-scale production in the first week of November, and the software has different pricing schemes based on volume. Lahey thinks that large carriers will pay about $2 per user per year or about $11 for a perpetual license. For smaller implementations, Portal-to-Go will cost about $11 per user per year, or $95 for a perpetual user license. For more information about Portal-to-Go, go to

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