Siemens Launches Mobile Business Applications

New services can monitor and track goods and help plan and schedule business travel.

CANNES, France—Siemens AG lately has made a splash in the fashion world with its new "Xelebri" line of wearable accessory phones, but it is not abandoning the mobile business user. Tuesday the German manufacturer launched new services for monitoring and tracking goods and for planning and scheduling business travel.

Siemens presented the new services at the 3GSM World Congress here, and also launched its first Symbian-based handset. Called the SX1, the handset comes with a built-in video player, camcorder and a full set of business applications comparable to PDA functions.

Describing the companys close work with mobile operators, Rudi Lamprecht, who heads Siemens mobile division, said his company offers carriers the integration needed to roll out new applications. "We bundle everything together in one package," Lamprecht said. "We understand data from our computer heritage."

Siemens new "m.traction Personal Assistant" service, which automatically provides updated information on flights and schedule changes, is aimed at frequent business travelers. When an appointed schedule is changed, such as a meeting canceled, the system recommends a new schedule.

Another new business application, called "m.traction Mobile Office," enables carriers to allow small companies to store data on the Internet and retrieve it via a PDA device, WAP or the Web. With another set of new tracking and navigation services, users can send an image with location information over the handset so that the recipient can find it.

Like all vendors in the wireless industry, Siemens is ramping up its efforts to forge closer ties with mobile operators. Lamprecht said there has been too little integration among various players in the industry, and that Siemens needs to transition from being strictly a supplier to operators to being a partner.

Countering the notion that the mobile telephone market is facing imminent saturation, Lamprecht noted that consumers often purchase several units of an item, even when one unit would suffice.

"Our goal is to make people view mobile phones as they view sunglasses, bags, watches or shoes," he said. "Why do you have several pairs of shoes? One pair does the job, at the end of the day."