Software makers are under increasing pressure from customers to make applications accessible via wireless devices.
For most vendors, the choices are to spend a lot of money and time custom-building their own wireless technology— making customers buy third-party products—or to ignore customers needs.
Curious Networks Inc. last week unveiled a product that it said will relieve some of the pressure on manufacturers. The Chicago-based companys Continuum Embedded Edition enables software makers to incorporate wireless capabilities into applications rather than buy them separately, making it easier and less expensive for customers.
Users of those applications can then access them via all variations of Internet-enabled mobile phones and Palm Inc., Research In Motion Ltd. and Windows CE devices.
The product, which is available now and includes voice recognition capabilities, uses Curious Networks own brand of XML (Extensible Markup Language), called Multi-Channel Access XML, which enables the applications to work on the various devices.
The company will highlight Continuum Embedded Edition at the CRM Solutions conference in Chicago next week.
"The problem is, a lot of software manufacturers find it difficult to make the jump to mobile," said Curious Networks CEO David Cutler. "We make it very quick and easy to do. Before, you had to go in and build customized support for all of these devices. They had to do it themselves or not do it at all."
Interface Software Inc., of Oak Brook, Ill., is using the embedded voice recognition technology to develop a voice portal prototype for its customer relationship management software that is targeted to professionals such as lawyers and accountants.
"Professionals are the type of people you cant expect to be working with a Web browser [at a workstation] all the time," said Mitch Grossbach, Interface Softwares vice president of business development. "Theres a definite need [for wireless access to applications] because the customers we cater to are billable and not always in the office. Theyre often on the road."
Grossbach said Interface Software will decide after the prototype is completed whether to embrace the entire Continuum Embedded Edition but that the product seems to be the best answer on the market.
"The best part about Curious is that they make it exceptionally easy for us to configure it to do anything with our information," Grossbach said.