To extend the reach of technology management beyond the traditional IT
enterprise is the objective of Computer Associates International Inc.'s
Mobile eBusiness initiative, according to the company.
This project, CA said, will endow a plethora of appliances with
intelligence and network connectedness.
"Our customers are already using (these capabilities) to dramatically
enhance the value of their products and services and to create wholly
new e-business opportunities," said Ken Farber, the firm's senior
vice-president of worldwide alliances.
Devices that will be wirelessly managed using CA's Unicenter TNG
technology include cell phones, handheld computers, satellite dishes,
two-way messaging devices, automobiles, vending machines, refrigerators
and microwaves, the company said.
cStar Technologies Inc., a Toronto-based developer of wireless
transmission equipment, is already exploiting Unicentre TNG's
capabilities to wirelessly administer devices outside the traditional IT
The firm's products -- SkyGate, DirectGate and ThruGate -- have interfaces
to CA's Unicenter TNG via American Mobile's wireless network.
The firm has demonstrated how this combination of technologies can be used
to remotely manage and monitor soft drink vending machines, as one
example, from the vendors' headquarters.
"An administrator located many miles away can actually see the number of
pop cans in each slot, the money in the hopper and temperature
variations," said Stella Yoon, cStar's president and CEO.
She said if the door opens, or refrigeration fails, an alarm is
immediately sounded and repair persons can be dispatched to the site.
According to Yoon, the magic is performed principally by two bits of
A small antenna perched on top of the vending machine transmits
information about the unit's most current status. At the receiving end,
she said, is a management console running CA's Unicenter TNG.
The remotely administered vending machine, however, represents only one
among hundreds of possible applications of this technology, according to
Srdjan Milutinovic, cStar's vice-president of systems development.
"We like to see what we're doing as contributing to Internet wave 3.," he
This new wave, he said, is characterized by the integration of non-IT
devices with IT infrastructures, and over any media including wireless
WAN, wireless LAN or landline.
For instance, he said, a soon-to-be launched
cStar project will enable a major
California-based utility company to monitor and
manage its electricity meters. The company, he
said, administers both industrial and domestic
They won't need to send out personnel to do
meter-reading anymore. A mere click of a button
will give a centrally-located administrator all
the facts relating to power consumption in a
specific neighborhood." He said the biggest benefit from the
implementation would come from the control of
energy throughout the grid.
According to Yoon, cStar's value proposition -- as
opposed to other communication control device
vendors -- is that its systems cater to a
variety of verticals. This is possible because
these systems are based on open designs that
accommodate any market or need, she said.
Yoon also said cStar's internally developed
wireless transport protocol minimizes the
transmission traffic by at least 50 per cent,
while maximizing the throughput on the line. "Because of this, customers' air time costs on
public networks will be very low."