Push Shoved Back Into The Limelight



Remember when "push" technology was heralded as the future ofonline content delivery? Well, like disco, push refuses to go away. Server vendor BackWeb Technologies Inc. is betting that wireless devices are the perfect venue for pushed content. BackWeb (BWEB-Nasdaq) is launching what it calls its Universal Push, an effort to highlight technologies that vendors can use to deliver content wirelessly. The company has the support of Lucent Technologies Inc. and Hewlett-Packard.

BackWeb also has released a push application server that will push information to Internet and wireless devices through Extensible Markup Language and Corba interfaces. BackWeb acquired its mobile technology through its buyout of Mobix Communications Ltd. last month, allowing it to connect to Global System for Mobile Communications, Code Division Multiple Access, and other networks.

"Push was too early three years ago. Now, we feel the Internet infrastructure has matured," says Eli Barkat, CEO of BackWeb. Push application servers for Windows NT and Solaris are slated for release next month. AIX and Linux versions are scheduled for next year. Pricing starts at $160,000 per CPU.

Some BackWeb users are already making wireless-push plans. Jefferies & Company Inc., an institutional broker in Los Angeles, faxes its customers information on overnight changes in their portfolios, but intends to move to wireless. "We'd like to push all that information out to customers well before the [markets] open and well after the close of the market," says Mike N. Alex, senior VP and director of E-commerce for Jefferies & Co. "We think wireless devices [are] probable our best bet."

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