AMERICA ONLINE INC. has fired back in the heated Internet portal battle by bringing popular features on its American site to Japan. Foremost is the introduction of AOL Instant Messenger, an easy-to-use chat system that can tell users if any of their friends also are on-line at the moment and initiate a two-way dialogue. In addition, AOL has improved its e-mail interface, another popular Internet service.
In a pairing of heavyweights, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. has teamed with NTT DATA CORP. to add Internet functionality to the Automatic Answer Network System for Electronic Requests, an electronic banking system better known as ANSER by the 530 local financial institutions that use it. When the new system goes on-line in March, ANSER-WEB will allow customers to make balance inquiries and fund transfers from any browser-enabled device with the utmost security, thanks to 128-bit Secure Socket Layer technology. NTT Data is the first nonfinancial company in Japan with permission from the U.S. government to use the 128-bit SSL. Its plans for ANSER-WEB include adding personal finance and business accounting services and eventually insurance and securities products when deregulation allows.
Also on the financial front, QUOTE.COM, INC. of Mountain View, California has struck a deal with FINANCIAL INFORMATION SUPPORT CO., LTD. to exchange investment information products. Once Quote.com has localized its QChart and LIVE!Charts graphical analysis software packages and linked them to a direct stock-price feed from the Tokyo Stock Exchange, FISCO is authorized to offer them to Japan's financial community as LiveCharts Professional. In return, Tokyo-based FISCO will provide English versions of its analyses of Japanese companies to Quote.com's customers.
Just as it is revolutionizing the music business, the Internet is having an impact on book publishing. ELECTRIC PRESS, INC. has partnered with FUJI XEROX CO., LTD. to bring on-demand printing of books to the Japanese market. Reston, Virginia-based Electric Press has localized its Publiotech package, which lets customers browse books page by page, assemble custom publications from several sources and pay only for what they print. Fuji Xerox will integrate Publiotech-J into its BookPark on-line system, which offers authors and publishers such on-line services as format preparation, book design and content consulting. Keeping books on-line and offering print- on-demand services mean that books always are "in stock" for customers, with minimal overhead for authors and publishers.
WORLD GAMING SERVICES INC., a wholly owned unit of Wilmington, Delaware- based STARNET COMMUNICATIONS INTERNATIONAL INC., has opened an Internet gaming site in Japan aptly named Pachinko Casino. At the moment, visitors only can play blackjack, video poker and slot machines in English, but the company is developing Java-based pachinko, live horse racing and a sportsbook in Japanese. Gamblers can make wagers via several payment methods, including credit cards. With an estimated 30 million enthusiasts dropping $180 billion a year into pachinko machines, the market looks promising.
Personalized service is often cited as one reason why Japanese
consumers are leery of shopping by mail order or, more recently,
on-line. NET PERCEPTIONS, INC. thinks that it has a way to overcome
this barrier: Recommendation Engine v4.0 for on-line retailers.
Available locally from TOYO INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD., the
Minneapolis company's program interacts with Web site visitors on a
one-to-one real-time basis, learning about their wants, needs and
interests. Armed with this personal profile, the software then sifts
through its product data base, presenting customers
with only those items that might interest them.
INKTOMI CORP. has added a second distribution channel for its Traffic Server network-caching software. TRANS COSMOS INC. joins ITOCHU TECHNO- SCIENCE CORP. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 21) as a value-added reseller of the San Mateo, California firm's network performance enhancer. It will target managers of large corporate networks and Internet service providers.
The same customers are the targets for SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s new, industrial-strength e-mail server software. Sun Internet Mail Server 3.5 builds on the strengths of the Unix operating system -- stability and scalability -- to offer both high performance and high reliability for prices ranging from $2,300 to $5,400.
To improve the appeal of its newest home video game machine, SEGA ENTERPRISES, LTD. has decided to license VERISIGN, INC.'s encryption know- how to enable it to conduct Internet e-mail and on-line shopping. Sega will embed the Mountain View, California firm's Root Key technology in its 128-bit Dreamcast game machine, which will allow it to use the Internet-standard SSL as well as VeriSign's popular Secure Server ID to safeguard Internet communications.
ENCOMMERCE, INC. is offering a localized version of its secure Web access solution. Besides authenticating user access with single sign-on ease and allowing "portals" to be individualized according to an user's security privileges, getAccess 3.0J protects intranet and extranet content from hackers. Administration modules also can be plugged in to define, monitor, enforce and audit information security policies while delegating many controls back down to departmental workers. .....Separately, VERISIGN, INC. and ENCOMMERCE, INC. have agreed to bundle two of their products to improve marketing opportunities. Santa Clara, California-based enCommerce is working with VeriSign's subsidiary to jointly market and support getAccess 3.0J and the VeriSign OnSite 4.0 public key infrastructure comprehensive Internet security system. The combination gives Japanese firms a one-stop option.
An alternative PKI package now is available through a joint venture formed by ENTRUST TECHNOLOGIES INC. and a group of 16 major Japanese corporations led by SECOM CO., LTD. and including BANK OF TOKYO-MITSUBISHI, LTD., NTT DATA CORP., ORIX CORP. and SONY CORP. The Richardson, Texas company had tapped Secom, a big security services provider, as its exclusive distributor when it moved into the Japanese market last summer (see Japan- U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 20). The new company will use such systems integrators as NTT Data, NIPPON STEEL CORP. and SECOM INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. to sell Entrust Technologies' PKI solutions. For now, ENTRUST JAPAN CO., LTD. is charging $25,600 for its package and $170 for each individual authenicated, but those charges are expected to drop over time. The joint venture is projecting revenues of $8.5 million-plus in FY 1999 and 10 times that amount in FY 2001. Entrust Technologies' PKI system also will be the core of a certification authority service offered by Secom's newest affiliate, SECOM CYBERSPACE SECURITY CO., LTD.
As part of a Simple Network Management Protocol infrastructure, Java- based software "agents" can be used for a variety of Internet-related tasks. These include helping applications interface with the Web, allowing servers to pursue multiple tasks simultaneously and protecting devices by serving as proxies. Edison, New Jersey-based ADVENTNET, INC. (formerly Advent Network Management, Inc.) is offering a new tool to simplify the creation of Java SNMP agents, AdventNet Agent Builder 2.0J. The localized software is available through NK-EXA CORP.
The Tokyo subsidiary of embedded operating systems specialist INTEGRATED SYSTEMS, INC. has assembled a package of four tools to expand the application of Java in Japan's embedded software market. Its Fast-J compiler runs Java programs more quickly than relying on a Java Virtual Machine interpreter, while the Sunnyvale, California company's pERC is a Java-based execution environment that enhances the language's suitability for embedded uses. Also among the tools is Chi (X), HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s Java work- alike for network environments. NSI COM's Software Co-Processor for Java rounds out the package by combining Java's multithread processing with ISI's pSOS embedded operating system's real-time multitasking capabilities. ISI sees great demand in Japan for intelligent appliances that network easily and seamlessly.
To keep up with increasingly sophisticated digital camera hardware, FLASHPOINT TECHNOLOGY, INC. is offering its operating system and development environment designed specifically for digital imaging. The San Jose, California firm's Digita platform includes Digita Tools for manufacturers of digital imaging devices, the Digita Operating Environment, which allows novice and professional users alike to control every aspect of digital imaging, the Digita Desktop, which links Digita-enabled imaging devices with PCs, and Digita Script for automating digital imaging tasks. FlashPoint will launch a local operation sometime in early 1999 and has begun courting Japanese digital camera makers.
Pursuing a slightly broader market, WIND RIVER SYSTEMS, INC. is promoting its VxWorks real-time operating system and Tornado development environment as the foundation for creating "smart" digital imaging devices. MINOLTA CO., LTD. , for one, will use the Alameda, California firm's software to develop a family of intelligent digital cameras, digital copiers and digital laser printers that can work together to handle imaging tasks from picture- taking to reproduction.
Because only about 25 percent of Japanese households own a PC, providing homes with access to the Internet via TV adapters is a hot market. NETWORK COMPUTER, INC. has licensed its TV Navigator client software and NCI Connect ISP Suite to NEC CORP. for just such a purpose. NEC plans to create set-top boxes that deliver e-mail, news, home banking and electronic commerce as well as Web browsing. However, it will add a twist to this standard offering. Customers will be given smart cards that deliver Internet content and services linked to a particular affinity group or company. Businesses could create smart cards that give customers access to their accounts and service options or that give company employees access to the corporate intranet/extranet. At the same time, affinity groups, such as clubs and community organizations, could have NEC tailor smart cards to deliver content of specific interest to their members. Redwood Shores, California-based NCI previously licensed its information appliance software platform to DDI CORP., Japan's second-largest communications carrier, ISP DREAM TRAIN INTERNET CORP., which is a subsidiary of MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP., MARUBENI CORP. affiliate INTERACTIVE CABLE AND COMMUNICATIONS CORP. and CROSSBEAM NETWORKS CORP., a SUMITOMO CORP. company
IBM JAPAN LTD. has decided to build its set-top box Internet access device around a variant of MICROWARE SYSTEMS CORP.'s OS-9 real-time operating system. IBM Japan is putting the Des Moines, Iowa firm's DAVID (short for digital audio/video interactive decoder) technology in two set-top units, one for digital satellite broadcast systems and the other for digital cable systems. DAVID's modular architecture and ability to connect easily to different types of broadband networks won MSC the contract. IBM Japan is offering its set-top boxes on an OEM basis to companies overseas as well as to Japanese firms.
Continuing the drive to push Windows CE into more handheld devices, MICROSOFT CORP.'s subsidiary released a new, fully localized version of this operating system. Windows CE 1.1J offers more features and greater network connectivity. .....With the help of automation software maker WONDERWARE CORP. of Irvine, California and industrial computerized control maker CONTEC CORP. of Osaka, MICROSOFT CORP. also has rolled out a version of Windows CE for embedding in industrial controllers and applications. Contec will embed Wonderware's InControl Runtime Engine in its new line of Windows CE-based industrial controller hardware platforms. The three also are working on Windows CE-based software for flat panel displays. The controller products are scheduled for release this spring, while the Windows CE visualization product is planned for introduction in early 2000.
MAGIC SOFTWARE ENTERPRISES INC. has taken control of its Magic (known locally as dbMagic) rapid application and development environment system business. The Irvine, California company formed a company in which it has an 80 percent interest with WACOM CO., LTD., the exclusive distributor of dbMagic for the last 10 years. The joint venture is assuming full responsibility for sales of Magic, which is used to develop client-server and Internet solutions, and local research activities. As part of this change, Magic will pay Wacom $3 million over the next five years, with $2 million of this amount forthcoming in 1999. Wacom also could receive as much as $1.8 million based on how well the joint venture does. Sales of Magic in Japan were an estimated $9 million-plus in 1998.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based ALYDAAR SOFTWARE CORP. has linked up with the computer and technical services unit of PASONA INC. to offer Year 2000 solutions. Pasona, which will be responsible for overall project management, is assembling a large staff to market the new service. Alydaar's programmers will rely on the company's SmartCode software reengineering tool to audit and remedy Y2K hardware and software problems. .....MERCURY INTERACTIVE CORP. is going after the same market in cooperation with NTT SOFTWARE CORP. Using the Sunnyvale, California firm's QuickTest 2000 program, which already has been adapted to the Japanese market (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 347, August 1998, p. 22) as well as it LoadRunner program, the two will offer complete Y2K and systems integration services.
Following its acquisition of WEBLOGIC, INC. last September, BEA SYSTEMS, INC. has introduced the latest version of the WebLogic Web application server software. WebLogic supports the full set of Java APIs, including Enterprise Java Beans, to allow programmers to quickly develop, deploy and manage Web-based business software. The addition of San Jose, California- based BEA Systems' business-critical middleware know-how broadens WebLogic's interoperability and scalability. The software is available through SUMISHO ELECTRONICS CO., LTD., with prices ranging from $4,000 for a basic development package to $20,000 for a development/server/management suite.
The Extensible Markup Language, shortened to XML, has gained acceptance as the next lingua franca for business-oriented Internet applications. OBJECT DESIGN, INC.'s eXcelon application/data server is an early example of this new class of software. The Burlington, Massachusetts company claims for it full compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium's standards for the highly versatile language. eXcelon automatically stores, caches and delivers XML data to middleware, with a guarantee that the information will be up-to- date and consistent at all times. Object Design's subsidiary has added three firms to market and support eXcelon: CSK CORP., HITACHI SOFTWARE ENGINEERING CO., LTD. and NIPPON SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT CO., LTD.
Another area where XML is expected to become commonplace is business-to- business electronic commerce, also known as electronic data interchange. Fairfax, Virginia-based WEBMETHODS, INC. has rolled out a family of XML- based EDI products under the B2B brand. webMethods B2B 2.0 includes an integration server and a developer module to provide secure, scalable, high- performance and high-availability EDI solutions for critical business interactions. webMethods plans to boost B2B's stability by integrating OBJECT DESIGN, INC.'s ObjectStore object-oriented data base software. In Japan, webMethods is working with TOSHIBA ADVANCED SYSTEMS CORP. to develop and support XML-based EDI.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has introduced software designed to handle the heavy demands of multiple-server, enterprise network computing. MC/ServiceGuard, which starts at $5,900, is a complete suite for clusters of up to eight nodes designed to deliver high availability, configuration flexibility, work-load balancing and data integrity. Two of MC/ServiceGuard's modules are available separately. The $2,300 Event Monitoring Service automatically detects and responds to failures in system processors and memory, LAN media and adapters, system processes and application processes, while the $3,500 Process Resource Manager is a cluster work-load management tool. Complementing MC/ServiceGuard is HP Japan's ClusterView enterprise cluster monitoring and control package, which offers advanced event notification, problem management and troubleshooting tools with a visual, map-based interface. It costs $3,900.
Leveraging the popularity of SAP INC.'s R/3 enterprise resource planning software, COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. has rolled out a version of its Unicenter TNG enterprise network computing integrator that is both closely tied to the ERP package and supports double-byte languages like Japanese. The localized Unicenter TNG SAP R/3 Option provides end-to-end management of multiple R/3 installations across diverse platforms and distributed environments from a single console. As Japanese firms begin to use R/3 for a broader range of operations, CA expects demand for its integrated management system to grow as well.
In a related move, COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL, INC. has outlined a schedule running from January 1999 through July 1999 for the release of double-byte versions of virtually the entire Unicenter TNG 2.2 family. This demonstration of the Islandia, New York software developer's commitment to corporate Japan includes options for storage network management, automated delivery of software, Lotus Notes/Domino groupware, computer virus protection, frame-relay management, remote control of clients, DECnet environments and "single sign-on" security systems.
To allow administrators to move transparently between network operation/management and network device administration, 3COM CORP. and FUJITSU, LTD. have integrated the former's Transcend Enterprise Manager for Windows and the latter's SystemWalker/CentricMGR. The bundle automatically registers multiple 3Com devices within the SystemWalker environment as well as monitors and reports on network traffic. Fujitsu was to begin shipping the bundle in January. The two companies expect to sell 500 copies of the $6,400 package in Japan over the next three years. The package also will be available outside Japan through Fujitsu's network of companies.
Now fully localized, OpenView IT/Operations 5.0 is available for $53,800 from HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. The network management tool gives administrators the ability to deliver differing levels of network services to different users, ensuring that business-critical functions always have adequate resources. Version 5.0 also provides greater scalability and more dynamic configuration capabilities, both aimed at meeting the needs of very large and complex enterprise computing networks.
INTEL CORP.'s subsidiary is offering a new iteration of its LANDesk client management software. Version 6.2 , which costs $6,800, lets administrators take control of all types of client PCs from a single point, regardless of whether the connection is a LAN, a WAN (wide area network) or the Internet. Not only does this allow administrators to deliver uniform desktop computing environments and software upgrades, but it permits remote troubleshooting of client problems and ensures software licensing compliance.
A competing product, Enterprise Desktop Manager, is available from a new entrant in this market segment: NOVADIGM, INC. With the help of Tokyo- based distributor BROAD CORP., the Emeryville, California company's client management solution is being installed by DAI-ICHI KANGYO BANK, LTD., drugmaker EISAI CO., LTD., credit-card issuer JCB CO., LTD., MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., trader NISSHO IWAI CORP., consumer finance provider PROMISE CO., LTD., an affiliate of SONY CORP. and TONEN CORP. BROAD executives cite the software's ability to provide immediate cost savings through highly reliable, automatic software distribution and desktop environment management as the reason for the wide appeal of Novadigm's Enterprise Desktop Manager.
CHECK POINT SOFTWARE TECHNOLOGIES, LTD. of Redwood City, California has updated its network firewall and virtual private network packages. To increase their versatility and utility, FireWall-1 4.0 and VPN-1 Gateway 4.0 support a large number of security systems. These include public key infrastructures, Internet Key Exchange, 168-bit Triple DES encryption, 56- bit and 40-bit DES, 128-bit and 40-bit CAST, 48-bit FWZ-1 and 40-bit RC4. Besides working with routers and switches from several makers, the updated packages offer an enhanced graphical-user interface and LDAP support. They also are backward-compatible with earlier versions. Check Point's subsidiary has started pricing of the two products at $4,200.
To keep up with an expanding array of firewalls and VPNs, WEBTRENDS CORP. is offering its self-named package. WebTrends for Firewalls and VPNs can monitor, manage and report on the activity and the performance of these critical security and communications infrastructures. Version 1.1 of the Portland, Oregon company's product, available through ASGENT INC. starting at $2,500, adds a syslog server for real-time collection of data as well as creation and management of log files. Since WebTrends for Firewalls and VPNs 1.1 works with the security software of more than a dozen makers, Tokyo-based Asgent expects sales of 1,500 units a year.
Big enterprise storage solution provider EMC CORP. has revamped its flagship Symmetrix Remote Data Facility mirroring system and related utilities, offering enhanced performance and data protection. The basic Symmetrix RDF package, which costs $76,900 and up, automatically maintains a mirror image of the master system, providing rollover in the event of a master system failure and/or allowing testing to be done on the mirror system without compromising or hindering the master. EMC TimeFinder creates copies of master files called Business Continuance Volumes at prices beginning at $92,300. These BCVs are independently addressable and can be used either as a real-time backup or as an active mirror system, controlling tasks in parallel with the master system. Finally, the $179,500-and-up EMC Data Manager is a high-speed file manager that automatically can copy as much as 10 terabytes of data at 70 GB per hour from hundreds of networked servers.
NETWORK ASSOCIATES, INC.'s subsidiary continues to beef up its enterprise- strength network tools with new releases in its Sniffer family of traffic monitoring and analysis packages. Fully localized editions of Sniffer Pro for Windows ($17,800) and for DOS ($23,800) are available from TOYO TECHNICA CO., LTD. Network Associates and its Tokyo-based partner will continue working together to localize all of the Santa Clara, California firm's products.
A new groupware package from the local arm of UNISYS CORP. uses an Internet browser interface to make it more accessible to users. Ex-Web works on top of MICROSOFT CORP.'s Exchange Server. It is priced at $8,600 per server. Unisys expects sales of Ex-Web software and support services to hit $8.5 million over the next two years.
Hoping to spur use of INTERBASE SOFTWARE CORP.'s InterBase relational data base software (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 346, July 1998, p. 23), sales agent RIOS CORP. has launched an after-sales support service for InterBase developers using Linux and FreeBSD -- two open-source operating systems. The Scotts Valley, California firm recently posted versions of InterBase RDB tailored to these two operating systems for free downloading from the Internet. Rios hopes this availability will lead to $427,400 in support service contracts with 100 companies by the end of March 2000.
IBM JAPAN LTD. and SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary have opened a data base testing facility in the expectation that it will lead to increased sales for both companies. The center, located in the Tokyo offices of Sun, will test customer implementations of INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. data base software running on Sun servers. The two companies hope that the new facility will encourage novel uses of the IBM data base/Sun server combination.
Westboro, Massachusetts-based ARDENT SOFTWARE, INC. is pushing into the market for data mart and data warehouse development tools. It has opened a subsidiary in Tokyo and is signing up additional marketing partners. The new unit is working with longtime distributor JAPAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE, LTD. to introduce DataStage 3.5, its DM and DWH flagship, as well as to boost sales of the O2 object-oriented data base management tool and the UniVerse and UniData extended relational data bases for business. The subsidiary also has signed NEC CORP. and JGC INFORMATION SYSTEMS CO., LTD. to market and integrate DataStage. Ardent's subsidiary is projecting 1999 sales at $2.6 million or so. Its November 1998 acquisition of data warehouse pioneer PRISM SOLUTIONS, INC. of Sunnyvale, California has given Ardent a boost in the DWH business.
SOUTHERN COMPUTER SYSTEMS, INC., a wholly owned Birmingham, Alabama unit of SCAN-OPTICS, INC., has released an image data capture software solution suite aimed at easing data entry and collection. VistaCapture handles form-based data input with full support for Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji character sets as well as mixed English/Japanese forms. Available from TOYO OFFICEMATION, INC., Scan-Optics' longtime distributor, the basic VistaCapture bundle goes for $23,300. A $17,100 add-on enhances VistaCapture's flexibility by providing full data-editing capabilities. Toyo Officemation expects to license 300 VistaCapture seats a year.
To help firms maintain ISO 9000 standards, UNISYS CORP.'s local unit now offers the ISOLaw document management package. The software ensures that the requisite information is inputted and maintained in order to meet the international standard for business operations. Unisys hopes to sell 200 packages over two years at $8,600 per server.
For enterprises unifying their data systems on ORACLE CORP.'s many products, VERITAS SOFTWARE CORP. has developed an integrated suite of its management and support tools. VERITAS Database Edition 2.0 for Oracle provides tools to optimize performance while maintaining ease of use, high system availability and data integrity and security. Priced from $8,000, versions also are available for SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s Solaris and HEWLETT-PACKARD CO.'s HP-UX operating systems from the Mountain View, California firm's subsidiary.
MAPINFO CORP. has released a localized version of its latest geographic information system. MapInfo Professional 5.0J sports several new features, including continuous thematic shading for point data sets, enhanced cartographic legends, live access to data sources via the Open DataBase Connectivity standard, integration with SEAGATE SOFTWARE, INC.'s Crystal Reports report generator, and a new universal translator for mixed GIS environments. The new package starts at $4,000 or at $1,100 for an upgrade. The distributor of Troy, New York-based MapInfo's products is MITSUI ZOSEN SYSTEMS RESEARCH, INC., an affiliate of MITSUI ENGINEERING & SHIPBUILDING CO., LTD.
A data base and on-line analytical processing system designed to meet the special requirements involved in obtaining government approval for the sale of pharmaceutical products is available from the subsidiary of Cary, North Carolina-headquartered SAS INSTITUTE INC. SAS/PH-Clinical v4.0 gives even laymen easy access to the huge amounts of data generated in preclinical testing of new drug compounds. The package starts at $4,300 and increases depending on the scale of the installation.
Beginning in February, ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary will offer a low-cost enterprise resource planning solution for midsized companies. FastForward Financials includes only the accounts receivable/payable modules of Oracle Applications r11 and takes an average of just three months to install rather than the six months usually needed for Oracle Applications. FastForward will be available for Windows NT users at $299,100 and for Unix customers at $316,200. .....Meanwhile, ORACLE CORP.'s local operation and HITACHI, LTD. joined together to develop and market an operations management package for Oracle ERP systems. JPI/Application Manager for Oracle Applications eases the many integration and administration tasks inherent in complex ERP systems.
IBM JAPAN LTD. has joined forces with NTT DATA CORP. and NIPPON STEEL INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS INC. to boost ERP-related sales. The three are jointly promoting NTT Data's ERP software, Scaw v3.2, loaded on IBM Japan RS/6000 servers, installed, integrated and supported by Nippon Steel Information. Not only is the package deal expected to cut installation time to two or three months from the former five to six months, but it should yield other savings in time and money as well. The trio also plans to offer bundles with servers from HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. in the near future.
ORACLE CORP.'s subsidiary and NTT DATA CORP. has formed an alliance to develop, market, install and support combined ERP and data warehouse solutions for financial institutions. Based on Oracle Applications, the unified solution will be pitched as a cost-saving, efficiency-improving tool for financial institutions impacted by the ongoing Big Bang deregulation. The partners will develop unique interfaces and workflow patterns for customers as well as provide joint after-sales support.
Chicago's SSA, INC. has lined up HITACHI INFORMATION SYSTEMS, LTD. to market its ERP suite, BPCS Client/Server. The suite includes configurable enterprise financial modules, supply chain management applications, multimode manufacturing software and electronic data interchange functions. Based on SSA's proven object technology, BPCS runs on HEWLETT- PACKARD CO. 9000, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. AS/400 and Windows NT servers.
A new, localized offering from COCREATE SOFTWARE INC.'s subsidiary combines workflow management and product data management functions to enhance innovation in the product development process. By integrating its WorkManager package with SAP INC.'s R/3 system, the Fort Collins, Colorado unit of HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. provides secure, comprehensive product data functions with the flexibility to match computer resources to any product development process.
In the latest in a long string of Japan wins, STRUCTURAL DYNAMICS RESEARCH CORP. has won a PDM contract from SEIKO EPSON CORP. and its systems integrator, JAPAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE SYSTEM SOLUTION LTD. JRI is installing a PDM solution based on SDRC's Metaphase Enterprise package to manage the multitude of parts used in designing and manufacturing Seiko Epson's line of printers and point-of-sale equipment. The first phase of the project was completed last September when JRI replaced Seiko Epson's mainframe with a MetaPhase Enterprise client-server system handling parts data and document distribution. Phase II will bring production management, quality control and IS functions within the Metaphase Enterprise envelope.
Taking the next logical step in its drive to fully computerize its product development cycle, TOYOTA MOTOR CORP. selected ENGINEERING ANIMATION, INC.'s PDM software to produce a visual data base for both parts and engineering drawings. Spokesmen for the automotive maker said that the company selected the Ames, Iowa firm's PDM solution both for its ability to handle visual data and its ease of use and platform independence.
Applying the concepts of PDM to the retail market is the forte of a new package from Minneapolis-based RETEK INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. The Retek Merchandising System v7.0 allows retailers to analyze their business at any number of levels, including individual stores and single SKU numbers, as well as enables them to make better marketing and purchasing decisions. The subsidiary of HNC SOFTWARE INC. picked ITOCHU TECHNO-SCIENCE CORP. as its distributor. It already has won a contract from NIKE INC.'s local retail operation for the Retek Merchandising System.
TRADE'EX ELECTRONIC COMMERCE SYSTEMS, INC. has completed installation of its electronic data interchange/supply chain management solution for NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP. TRADE'ex Procurement for the Enterprise currently connects 10 major communications equipment suppliers with NTT and its business units, creating a virtual marketplace for buying hardware at the best price. NTT officials say that the Tampa, Florida firm's package, which was customized to NTT business practices and localized, "provides a platform for centralizing the management of product catalog, supplier and sourcing information, while at the same time, decentralizing the execution [of purchasing decisions] to users' desktops." The communications giant purchased a total of 10,700 user licenses for TRADE'ex Procurement, which now is deployed at 7,000 desktops.
The subsidiary of J.D. EDWARDS & CO. has teamed up with time-recorder maker AMANO CORP. on accounting software for businesses. In the first step of their alliance, Amano has released TimePro-COM for OneWorld, a $5,100 package that allows data to be exchanged between the two firms' accounting packages. The partners plan future joint development and integration efforts in this field.
Lowell, Massachusetts-based GEOTEL COMMUNICATIONS CORP. has signed KAWASAKI STEEL SYSTEMS R&D CORP. to distribute its customer-interaction software in Japan as well as in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China. KSD, a leading call-center systems integrator, will handle GeoTel's flagship Intelligent CallRouter for networked centers, its Site ICR for single-site centers and its full line of computer-telephony integration products, providing sales, installation and support. The two also will localize GeoTel's products, with Japanese versions due in March. KSD calculates that it can sell 60 copies of the $119,700 Intelligent CallRouter in Japan in 1999.
Riding the popularity of APPLE COMPUTER, INC.'s iMac, SYMANTEC CORP.'s subsidiary released a version of the Norton Antivirus for Macintosh utility designed specifically for this machine. NAM 5.0.3, which costs $110, is updated to handle the iMac's hardware as well as Apple's Mac OS 8.5 operating system. .....Separately, the local operation of SYMANTEC CORP. had a late January release date for a new version of its popular faxing utility for Windows-based machines. WinFax Pro 9.0 offers more flexible faxing options, including rearranging and/or removing pages from a document, and allows for group faxing via a LAN and telephone gateway. Priced at $125, the Symantec subsidiary expects sales to hit 50,000 copies a year.
A new version of its high-end computer-aided engineering package is available from MACNEIL-SCHWENDLER CORP.'s subsidiary. MSC/PATRAN v8 can rapidly mesh the surfaces of complex solid parts while supporting UNIGRAPHICS SOLUTIONS INC. files and offering direct access to CATIA geometry data and other CAD program formats. The CAE system starts at $36,800 for an English-only version. The Los Angeles firm expects to have a Japanese version ready sometime in 1999.
A localized version of UNIGRAPHICS SOLUTIONS INC.'s core 3D modeling product, Solid Edge, has been released by the Maryland Heights, Missouri firm's subsidiary. Version 6 of the $9,200 CAD package includes several bonus programs, such as Virtual Studio, aimed at home and small office users.
For the professional architect, BENTLEY SYSTEMS, INC. is offering through its subsidiary various combinations of its Microstation TriForma 3D rendering and documentation package. The Exton, Pennsylvania company's software uses the Single Build Model approach, which focuses on creating a 3D model of the entire design by centralizing all data and project details in a single data base. Microstation Triforma is available in Japanese as a stand-alone product for $8,100 or as a suite with several utilities for $10,300.
Seattle's ROBERT MCNEEL & ASSOCIATES tapped APPLICRAFT CO., LTD. to market and support its Rhinoceros 3D modeling software. By applying NURBS (nonuniform rational B-splines) algorithms, the $1,700 package delivers high- end performance while running on Windows 95/NT PCs. Tokyo-based AppliCraft, which already resells computer graphics software from Grass Valley, California-based HOT DOOR, INC., hopes to sell 3,000 Rhinoceros packages the first year.
TOSHIBA CORP. has chosen software from GEOWORKS CORP. to power its planned over-the-air news and information service for portable devices. The Alameda, California firm's Premion Server+ local content server has a flexible architecture to integrate easily with existing information systems. It also supports a wide variety of languages (HTML, WML, XML, HDML, Compact HTML, TTML and plain text) and delivery protocols (HTTP, HDTP, WTP, SMTP and SMS). Toshiba officials said that Premion's ability to work with the company's current line of handheld information devices was a primary consideration. Interestingly, Toshiba is the first company to offer services via Premion Server+.
Buyers of the Panasonic Let's note comm/C33 notebook computer have the capability for high-quality video and audio communications over the Internet as well as through intranets, telephone lines and high-speed wiring, thanks to the SMITH MICRO SOFTWARE, INC. VideoLink software bundled with the MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. machine. The portable includes a video camera integrated into the hardware and a Japanese-language version of the Aliso Viejo, California company's videoconferencing software. MARUBUN CORP., Smith Micro's distributor, arranged the deal.
Voice-recognition software from ADVANCED RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGIES INC. of Simi Valley, California will be distributed by TAKACHIHO KOHEKI CO., LTD. smARTspeak has an adaptive algorithm that filters out background noise, making it ideal for use in noisy environments, such as airports. It also can be trained to recognize any user's voice without the need for customization or a special speech-recognition interface.
Users soon will be able to secure their data with just one word with voice- driven verification software from T-NETIX, INC. of Englewood, Colorado. A NIS-SHO IWAI CORP. affiliate will localize, integrate, distribute and support SpeakEZ Voice Print technology for a wide range of applications. The first product using the technology is the VoiceEntry 2.1 program for controlling access to PCs. NISSHO IWAI INFOCOM SYSTEMS CO., LTD. already ordered 1,500 copies of this localized product. It has targeted financial firms offering telephone-based customer services for the next application of SpeakEZ, a voice-print verification system for the Internet, charging an annual management fee of about $8.50 per user with a goal of 200,000 users.
An exchange rate of ¥117=$1.00 was used in this report. aaaaaa