Wireless Access To Product-Status Information Is Expanding



Many manufacturers and suppliers are finding that in the world of business-to-business purchasing over the Internet, customers are demanding quicker access to information, including real-time updates from wherever they are.

To remain competitive, suppliers are working to provide wireless Internet access to customer information. "We think that we gain the largest shareholder value by being able to eliminate the manual and paperwork processes and at the same time get up-to-the-minute information to the people that have to make decisions. The wireless technology lets us do that," says Jim Jackson, VP and CIO of Intertape Polymer Group Inc., a paper-packaging products manufacturing company in Sarasota, Fla. "We want to be able to give [customers] up-to-the-minute status on any piece of information at any time."

Intertape uses Ironside Technologies Inc.'s Ironworks supply-side business-to-business application. In two weeks, Intertape will begin testing a new wireless service from the E-commerce company. Last year, Ironside introduced its e-Mobile Solution, which gives access to the Ironworks system through Palm Inc.'s Palm Pilot VII wireless devices, and the company is expanding that service. Through partnerships with wireless infrastructure providers Isovia Inc. and Wysdom Inc., wireless users can access Ironworks for real-time order status, to check inventory levels, to switch account profiles, and to execute transactions from any Palm.net, CDMA, Global System for Mobile Communications, or Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) device. The expanded service will be available in October, but pricing has yet to be determined.

Ironside admits that devices with more complex operating environments and bigger screen sizes will benefit more from the service. "On the operating service devices like a Palm or RIM, the user interface will be more robust," with order-entry, product-inquiry, and product-status capabilities, says Derek Smyth, chief operating officer for Ironside. "On the WAP devices, it's really going to be an alert kind of thing."

Companies need to take wireless access one step at a time, according to analysts. "Currently, wireless access into E-marketplaces is not there yet. It's in the emerging stages," says Shawn Willett, analyst with Current Analysis. "It's something that is going to evolve over time, but [customers] have to figure out how to get the sell-side E-commerce working with wireless devices first."

-- Matthew G. NelsonWireless Access To Product-Status Information Is Expanding

Many manufacturers and suppliers are finding that in the world of business-to-business purchasing over the Internet, customers are demanding quicker access to information, including real-time updates from wherever they are.

To remain competitive, suppliers are working to provide wireless Internet access to customer information. "We think that we gain the largest shareholder value by being able to eliminate the manual and paperwork processes and at the same time get up-to-the-minute information to the people that have to make decisions. The wireless technology lets us do that," says Jim Jackson, VP and CIO of Intertape Polymer Group Inc., a paper-packaging products manufacturing company in Sarasota, Fla. "We want to be able to give [customers] up-to-the-minute status on any piece of information at any time."

Intertape uses Ironside Technologies Inc.'s Ironworks supply-side business-to-business application. In two weeks, Intertape will begin testing a new wireless service from the E-commerce company. Last year, Ironside introduced its e-Mobile Solution, which gives access to the Ironworks system through Palm Inc.'s Palm Pilot VII wireless devices, and the company is expanding that service. Through partnerships with wireless infrastructure providers Isovia Inc. and Wysdom Inc., wireless users can access Ironworks for real-time order status, to check inventory levels, to switch account profiles, and to execute transactions from any Palm.net, CDMA, Global System for Mobile Communications, or Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) device. The expanded service will be available in October, but pricing has yet to be determined.

Ironside admits that devices with more complex operating environments and bigger screen sizes will benefit more from the service. "On the operating service devices like a Palm or RIM, the user interface will be more robust," with order-entry, product-inquiry, and product-status capabilities, says Derek Smyth, chief operating officer for Ironside. "On the WAP devices, it's really going to be an alert kind of thing."

Companies need to take wireless access one step at a time, according to analysts. "Currently, wireless access into E-marketplaces is not there yet. It's in the emerging stages," says Shawn Willett, analyst with Current Analysis. "It's something that is going to evolve over time, but [customers] have to figure out how to get the sell-side E-commerce working with wireless devices first."

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