Symbol, IBM Ally on Next-Gen Handhelds

Partners to offer industry-specific mobile computing solutions

Holtsville, NY — December 15, 2003 — Symbol Technologies and IBM today said they are developing a new generation of handheld wireless and scanning solutions customized for specific industries to help customers improve operational efficiency.

Under the global alliance agreement, the companies will jointly develop, market and sell solutions that integrate technologies from Symbol with IBM software, hardware and services with the goal of helping their customers improve productivity, enhance customer satisfaction and generate a greater return on their information technology (IT) investments.

The companies said they would provide a new generation of mobile workers with rapid access to key business information, such as helping retailers track inventory and customer orders from the factory to the cash register more efficiently. The partners are also focusing on the public and travel sectors.

Symbol ruggedized wireless mobile computers running WebSphere Micro Edition, IBM's Java-based device infrastructure for extending e-business applications to pervasive devices, will use the messaging capabilities of MQ Everyplace to enable users access to Siebel, SAP, JD Edwards or PeopleSoft applications in addition to information from disparate databases like IBM's DB2e database software.

Symbol will integrate devices with embedded IBM mobile middleware so workers will be able to use their handhelds to access data from back-end computer systems running on IBM eServer x-Series servers for the enterprise.

With the newest version of WebSphere Everyplace Connection Manager, mobile workers using handheld computers, barcode scanners and imagers and wireless and mobile point-of-sale solutions can enjoy access to enterprise data benefiting from a mobile virtual private network capable of roaming across multiple networks — including Symbol wireless local area networks, iDEN, CDMA, GSM and PWLAN hot spots — without interrupting Web connections or losing an existing session, according to the two solution providers.

The two providers already have joint customers for their solutions. When German-based Max Bahr, one of the pioneers in the home improvement sector, needed a mobile communication platform with barcode scan functions for its employees and customers, it called on IBM Networking Services to build a Symbol wireless LAN -based infrastructure for all of its 76 stores. The solution includes personal computers and point-of-sale terminals running on Max Bahr's wireless LAN network which serves as an enabler for a host of applications, helping to increase in-store efficiency and customer services using Symbol handheld computers.

The Food Division of global agribusiness company J. R. Simplot, a major food supplier to restaurants, tapped Symbol and IBM to automate its internal warehousing and shipping functions across North America. The enterprise resource planning (ERP)-based system replaces a manual goods tracking system automating the scanning of products that come into the manufacturing plant's production line and identifying crates and boxes that ship out to its customers.

The Symbol-IBM agreement extends the two companies' 15-year history delivering standards-based mobility offerings running on multiple devices and operating systems.

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