Symbol Technologies aligns with IBM to offer industry-specific mobile computing solutions

December 15, 2003

4 Min Read

HOLTSVILLE, N.Y. -- Symbol Technologies (NYSE:SBL) and IBM today said they are developing a new generation of advanced hand-held 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 to help their customers improve productivity, enhance customer satisfaction and generate a greater return on their IT investments. The companies will provide a new generation of mobile workers rapid access to key business information, such as helping retailers track inventory and customer orders from the factory to the cash register more efficiently. Public sector agencies can streamline their field operations and travel and hospitality companies can provide better and faster service to their customers.

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 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 increasing 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 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 agreement extends the two companies' 15-year history delivering standards-based mobility offerings running on multiple devices and operating systems. The companies' flexible industry-specific bundles are the result of collaboration on research and development projects aimed at building a line of Symbol products running on embedded IBM mobile middleware products. The collaboration is aimed at streamlining supply chain management, helping enterprises extend their current IT systems to automate field and sales forces and integrate software and hardware products so that they work together more easily, even if they come from separate vendors.

Symbol ruggedized wireless mobile computers running IBM's WebSphere Micro Edition, IBM's Java Powered(TM) 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 rapidly 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, bar code scanners and imagers and wireless and mobile point-of-sale solutions can enjoy security-enhanced high speed 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 ever interrupting web connections or losing an existing session.

"Symbol and IBM have a shared vision and vitality of the enterprise mobility workplace and anticipate accelerating investment and growth in that marketplace," Bill Nuti, Symbol president and COO, said. "We believe that our combined end-to-end solutions based on IBM middleware provide the essential business benefits of enhanced efficiencies, accuracy and customer service for unique competitive advantage throughout the supply chain and within the walls of the enterprise. The benefits of the alliance to Symbol are far reaching. It puts our joint solutions out to a vast sales force and team of business partners and will allow us to sell into marketplaces that presented a challenge to Symbol in the past."

"IBM, together with Symbol, will continue to help enterprises extend their e-business infrastructure to their mobile workforces with the applications, data, and connectivity solutions required to improve organization efficiency and help better compete in today's global environment," said Towney Kennard, vice president, IBM Global Services Strategic Alliances.

IBM Corp.

Symbol Technologies Inc.

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