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The Big Cheese In Wireless Technology

Shelley Grell PR Director Communicate IT Ltd


Holliday Group Limited

Case Study - for immediate release 08-Nov-00

The Big Cheese In Wireless Technology

The communications industry is undergoing a revolution. Handheld devices allow faster, smarter information management, enabling users to access and enter data at any location, any time. Smart businesses like Kapiti Cheeses are capitalising on this, seeking out mobile solutions that allow them to act more quickly and efficiently.

At the forefront of the mobile wireless technology industry is the Holliday Group Ltd. They specialise in the development of Mobile WorkForce Systems that enhance the effectiveness of field-based staff by enabling remote access to, and collection of, data.

Phil Holliday, Managing Director of The Holliday Group says his company is "riding a tidal wave of business opportunities as mobile wireless technologies take off." With expertise in wireless data and Palm technology, the Holliday Group have extended their product offering to include a JADE-built HGL Communication Server that links back-end systems to the mobile environment.

Benefiting from The Holliday Group’s extensive knowledge of mobile computing is Kapiti Cheeses, one of New Zealand’s most well-respected and awarded suppliers of cheeses and premium ice-cream. With a range of more than 170 cheeses and a distribution area that includes New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia and the United States, Kapiti Cheeses has established itself as a leading speciality cheese supplier.

As part of a wider redevelopment of Kapiti’s IT systems, The Holliday Group developed a bespoke mobile computing application that gives Kapiti’s five sales staff real-time, remote access to data, wherever they may be. Using Palm Pilots the sales staff can input, relay and receive information remotely, improving efficiency and customer service.

According to Kapiti’s Financial Controller, Alan Bird, "the new system saves time in two areas. Sales staff on the road can deal with the orders onsite, instead of ringing it through later. And our customer service people no longer have to ‘double enter’ the order back at the office."

Says Alan, "Kapiti has always prided itself on accuracy. By keying in the orders only once, this new system not only improves efficiency, it reduces the chance of errors. Having made the decision to develop a system from scratch, we are very pleased with the results."

In order to provide Kapiti with reliable mobile computing and wireless data The Holliday Group utilised their existing JADE-built Comms Server. The Holliday Group had previously recognised a need for a system that provided network independence, allowing users to connect to a variety of networks (such as mobile phone, pager, trunk radio) according to their requirements. This system also needed to be able to interface easily with a business’ back office. Having looked around the world for the right middleware and finding none, The Holliday Group decided a real opportunity existed to build their own and take the lead in this area. They developed the HGL Comms Server, written in JADE. This system provides a two-way communications channel that allows the user to interact with data from the back office. It also allows communication across different networks which use different communication protocols.

Phil Holliday says he chose JADE as the development platform for a number of reasons. "JADE is a great tool, has a robust database and is easily extensible which allowed us to design a system to plug into different communication networks. We know about the way people really work as opposed to what they were being offered as solutions. We know that, in the real world, people are operating on a variety of different networks. For example, people who are driving in a mobile environment from nine to five may well switch to a pager in the evenings and on weekends."

Depending on time of day and day of week the Comms Server translates a user name to the relevant network address. A custom interface is written to provide translation between the customer’s back office system, which could be any system that holds information relevant to the mobile worker. A smart messaging queue in the Comms Server delivers the message through to the appropriate user in an economical manner, with the cost of airtime always an important consideration.

"Development cost was also a major consideration in choosing JADE," says Phil. "Another language would have taken longer to build the system whereas writing in JADE reduced the time it took us to get the product out into the market."

According to Phil, the Comms Server "is generic software with a degree of customisation for Kapiti. It has already drawn attention and sales from a number of Australasian corporates. Mobile and wireless data business has suddenly taken off and we’re growing as fast as we can."

But the future holds more for the Comms Server. The Holliday Group is currently adding even more functionality into the Comms server to provide extra services that they believe are required in the marketplace. They are also working to standardise the software to produce a ‘one system suits all’ solution for smaller businesses who have traditionally relied on niche dispatcher applications.

Owen Scott, JADE’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing, is full of praise for The Holliday Group’s Comms Server. "JADE has been monitoring developments in wireless technology and we’re very pleased that The Holliday Group have chosen JADE to lead their charge into this area. We see The Holliday Group’s initiative as an extremely valuable contribution to the JADE community as a whole."

About the Holliday Group

The Holliday Group is the largest Palm application provider in Australasia and one of the top 100 Palm application developers in the world. The company excels in the provision of innovative mobile communication solutions on the Palm computing platform. It is also one of the few companies that delivers WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) Applications in Australia and New Zealand. WAP technology enables access to the Internet on new the generation of cellular phones.

From its head-office in Christchurch, the company develops a wide range of custom software solutions that streamlines time-to-market production and minimises administrative costs. The Holliday Group's expertise spans development of custom made Microsoft OS desktop applications, Internet Web authoring, man-machine interfaces to back office systems, communications and remote control systems.

- Ends -

For further information and/or a higher resolution of below image please contact:

Dave Ffowcs Williams or Shelley Grell Business Development Director PR Director The Holliday Group Communicate IT Ltd Tel: + 64 (0)3 365 4120 Tel/Fax: + 64 (0)3 314 4606 Mobile: 021 730 932 Mobile: 025 260 2635 Email: davefw@holliday.co.nz Email: communicateit@xtra.co.nz


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