Freedom to Roam - Page 2

Nov 15, 2000

- Staff

ing goes mainstream, admits Shankar, who envisions a day when traders will actually leave their desks and go to lunch, confident at least that they won't miss a bidding call. To that end, his backend technology is WAP-compatible, and his team is working on conveying key bits of information to fit miniature screens. Yet Shankar speaks for many IT execs when he says that his CEO is frankly not overly concerned about wireless. "We're not selling $30 toasters," he jokes.

Sometimes, IT executives find themselves at odds with CEOs about how best to achieve goals within budget. "The IT executive is trying to build a consistent, reliable, and unfortunately expensive infrastructure for the organization, while the business executive turns up with a new palmtop device costing a few hundred pounds and wants it to plug into his mobile phone," says Auld. The challenge for technologists, he says, is how to meet ideal executive goals without upsetting the legacy systems that are keeping the business operational.

Even at high-tech companies, senior managers and road warriors mainly use wide-area wireless technology (e.g., the wireless application protocol) to pick up e-mail and the occasional file, says Auld. Companies like his will be on the forefront of setting trends and standards. For mainstream companies, the wireless industry is still in its infancy, meriting dedicated research, but not yet full-scale strategic investments.

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