Mountain View, CA November 19, 2001 Solution provider Xora today rolled out version 4.0 of its wireless workforce enablement platform, with improved voice recognition, support for out-of-coverage operations and additional personalization features.
Xora's Platform 4.0 allows companies to provide their mobile employees with access to data in enterprise applications through wireless, voice recognition and the Web. Companies such as Intuitive Surgical and Home Finishes Inc., for example, use Xora's software to connect their field service personnel to back-office systems, reducing services costs while helping to improve customer service.
The platform comes with pre-built connectors to applications from Siebel, i2, Oracle, SAP and Clarify.
Xora says that 4.0 simplifies speech recognition for developers by supporting voice browsers and VoiceXML. Xora 4.0 supports SOAP objects (Simple Object Access Protocol), leveraging access to Web services. In addition to voice recognition, the Xora Platform 4.0 allows touchtone phone access to enterprise information.
The ability to create enterprise application integration workflows without coding lets developers build complex wireless and voice applications and make them available instantly on any device, the solution provider said. This should reduce the time required to implement new features and integrate them with new devices, easing expansion and flexibility for system administrators.
Xora 4.0 has a redesigned user interface for the administration module, with what the provider says is a cleaner look that further simplifies managing the platform. Internationalization enables new applications to be localized to a user's native language, including Asian languages that require multi-byte support.
For end users, Xora 4.0 expands their ability to run mobile applications when out of the network coverage area by supporting J2ME. The J2ME-compliant devices, such as the new generation of phones and PDAs, will operate continuously, even when out of network contact. Information entered while outside coverage is synched automatically as network coverage becomes available.
Xora also says that 4.0's support for end-user customization lets end users select what information is retrieved and vary how data is distributed to multiple devices. This reduces access time and prevents information overload on small-screen devices.
The updated platform enables personalized distribution of alerts and messages to multiple devices via voice or text message. Rules-based criteria, such as level of urgency or time of the day when messages are generated, can be incorporated. In addition, prioritized alerts can be escalated to a group of recipients under certain conditions.
The addition of the new features in 4.0 is part of a trend toward expanding access to the data locked in enterprise applications, according to Stephen Drake, research manager at the wireless and mobile enterprise access service of research firm IDC. "Connections between enterprise applications and end users are entering a new phase where the depth of functionality must be much deeper and more sophisticated," Drake said "Where it was once acceptable to establish the connection with rudimentary features, regardless of cost, the new success criteria demand support of complex operations across diverse coverage areas, with rapid deployment of new features for a low ongoing cost."
The Xora Platform 4.0 is available immediately starting at about $125,000.