IBM, Sybase Ready for the Unwired

IBM and Sybase are focusing on connecting mobile users to data in the home office.

Sybase Inc. and IBM are looking to arm the un-wired world with database products that manage the flow of data to wireless devices and enable richer presentation of data on those devices.

As a result, both companies are promising to improve the productivity of mobile workers by giving them access to the latest data.

Sybase, of Dublin, Calif., in the first half of next year will roll out two products—Unwired Server and Unwired Toolkit—that work with its iAnywhere embeddable database. The former enables applications running on Palm OS devices to present a common user interface and use a common installer. Unwired Toolkit adds enhancements to the companys Pocket PowerBuilder development environment, according to Marty Beard, Sybases senior vice president of corporate development.

Separately, IBM this month released two editions of its DB2 embeddable database: DB2 Everyplace Version 8, for enterprises, and DB2 Everyplace Express, aimed at small and midsize businesses.

DB2 Everyplace Version 8 includes a raft of features designed to make it easier for developers to connect applications on mobile devices with data sources in a home office. For instance, a new feature called WebSphere Everyplace Access offers enhanced data synchronization. Support for the Armonk, N.Y., companys DB2 Information Integrator makes linking to enterprise applications or business intelligence software easier, officials said.

An enhancement that particularly appeals to DB2 Everyplace user Barb Walker is new support for additional databases. An earlier version of the software Walker was using restricted the number of databases open at one time, she said, which limited the scope of data being sent to mobile applications that she developed for.

"I had [a lot of different applications] I wanted to go into; I wanted to put holds on each of them ... [but] I had to halt production because I could only have one database," said Walker, IS application developer at Fischer Group Inc., in Crestview Hills, Ky. The DB2 Everyplace upgrade "helps a lot because I can do block scheduling on handhelds for every activity," Walker said.

Linking the embeddable version of DB2 with IBMs integration software will expand the usefulness of mobile devices, said Janet Perna, IBMs general manager for data management solutions. With DB2 Everyplace and Information Integrator, "you could join information in an Oracle [Corp.] database with file data and now have access to that through pervasive devices [and DB2 Everyplace]," Perna said. "A lot of companies want to provide their employees with mobile devices that access their corporate databases."