Optus sets Retriever on mobile pedlars

Cable & Wireless Optus has launched a new wireless service targeted at mobile sales teams. Called Optus Retriever, the service allows users to send and retrieve data remotely from the office via a wireless service, eliminating the use of laptops and cables.

Using technology developed by Australian wireless application company Retriever Communications, data is transferred between users and company servers over Optus' GSM mobile network.

The technology recognises differences between data on the handheld devices and the server and only transmits the changed data. This reduces data transfer speeds and call costs, officials said.

Mary Brittain-White, managing director and founder of Retriever Communications, said the service has the potential to reduce administration costs for organisations by 40 per cent. "With Optus Retriever, businesses can increase productivity, respond to faster work and sales requests, improve cash flows through shorter billing cycles and manage their staff better," she said.

According to officials, devices are equipped with specialised "digital forms" which are tailored for certain industries. Initial customised packages include Servicepad, Salespad and Healthpad, which provide solutions such as instant product stocktakes and sales.

Officials said the service is currently only available on Windows CE-based devices such as the Sharp PV 500 and Cassiopeia E100. The service is currently not compatible with 3Com's PalmPilots, but the companies are exploring the possibility of extending the access to other systems, officials said.

The cost of the service is based on a monthly subscription fee of $140 per month per user plus call costs. According to a CWO spokesperson, complete installation and implementation costs for an organisation are likely to be around $20,000. The spokesperson suggested, however, that many organisations may already be equipped with the necessary handheld devices and mobile phones.

Compatible products for the service include Vadem Clio 1050, Sharp PV5000, Cassiopeia E100 and E105, Hewlett-Packard Journada 680, Texlon 960M and PTC2124, Symbol PPT2700, Nokia 7110 mobile phone, Ericsson 600 and 700 series with DI27 attachment and the Ericsson SH888 mobile phones.

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