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CRUISE LOOKS TO INTRANETS TO FOSTER WIRELESS THIN CLIENTS

Cruise Technologies Inc, the six month-old wireless thin client technology has introduced an TCP/IP-enabled version of its CruiseConnect system software. CruiseConnect is in adaptation of Citrix Systems Inc’s Intelligent console Architecture (ICA) to run Windows 95 and Windows NT applications on terminals using Citrix’ multi-user version of NT on remote servers. Cruise’s wireless terminal is called a CruisePad that operates, which radio signals. It was originally designed for use within a LAN as a single user device, running regular Windows applications from a PC. The benefit is that the terminals are cheap and don’t host the applications locally – everything is on the server. It is not really an internet application as it needs the Citrix WinFrame server somewhere on the company network. It needs a connection speed of 56kbps and above to run applications effectively. Cruise does not sell the devices directly; the company either licenses the system software or manufactures the devices on an OEM basis, The first two OEM deals have bee signed with Motorola Inc and Wyse Technology Inc. Cruise VP marketing Scott Merkle said a third deal will be announced soon with a hardware company that sells into the federal market. Citrix also gets some of Cruise’s wireless technology in return, though Merkle declined to give details as the two companies haven’t decided what goes back to Citrix. They use a pen to operate the applications. The CruisePad has been around for a few years – it was originally made by Zenith Data Systems – we recall playing with one back in early 1995. The new company was spun out of Zenith Data Systems earlier this year after ZDS was sold to Packard Bell Electronics Inc by former owner Compagnie des Machines Bull SA in June last year. Cruise is one third owned each by Packard Bell, venture capitalists Bessemer Venture Partners and Battery Ventures, and management. But now the company has made the protocol switch as Merkle put it (it used IPX/SPX before) it hopes to make a go of the technology in the world of intranets and extranets, mainly in verticals markets like healthcare and finance.

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CBR Staff Writer

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