Delivering business applications has up to now been a compromise --- a choice between synchronisation and browser technologies --- both of which have limitations. The former struggles to roll-out new applications, while the latter is slow and doesn't allow users to work off-line. This is the view of Peter Mansour, president and ceo of Sproqit, which has created a new approach that overcomes these shortcomings.
Sproqit was formed in April 2000 by Mansour who had previously seen first-hand the difficulties that software giant Microsoft, had experienced in deploying applications in a mobile environment. The solution Sproqit has devised comprises two parts --- a service platform and a client. However, the difference between this and standard client server applications model is that the client acts almost like a remote control.
Sproqit provides the platform which sits in the operator's network. This communicates with the client in the terminal and on the desktop and is a able to set up a direct 128-bit encrypted connection between the two once that means the system can work with a corporate firewall. The terminal then works as a remote user interface and is user name and password protected. Therefore if the terminal is lost or just needs to be changed, all that has to be done is to load the client and change the username and password.
The fact that the client acts only as a user interface means that any application can be deployed using its native code, something that eases the porting of key corporate applications. The UI client is written by Sproqit, again removing a hurdle for the application developer. The client on a mobile terminal opens files on the desktop and streams data from these and caches them on the device.
According to Mansour, this is "Different to a synchronisation model which compares both sides. The UI matches whatever it is running on the desktop." He continued, "There is no need for a single data form and there is no need to standardise on a particular OS. Palm, Pocket PC, Smartphone, Symbian and Linux are all supported. The system doesn't care what the application is. It harnesses the power of the desktop computer."
Mansour went even further in his criticism of platform-specific solutions. "This is not platform independent but platform appropriate. Platform independent solutions are easy, they just work badly on everything."
He concluded, "Usability not endless feature lists is the key. We offer a 30 second install with a 200K client download."
Sproqit is using Outlook to demonstrate the functionality but the applications are not limited. Indeed, Sproqit is working with OEMs to develop a Sproqit-only device with a price point of less than USD200 to be available in around 18 months time.