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July 28, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:26pm


By CBR Staff Writer

A company founded by a would-be gemologist and designer of navigation systems for B1 and B2 bombers is about to launch a product that will provide two-way interaction over web pages. CrystalGate Corp – note the mineral reference – reckons it has a unique product because similar technologies, such as Microsoft Corp’s NetMeeting, are one-way only. CrystalGate’s first product, Live Assistance, is written in pure Java and sits atop an HTTP server. The market for the product is customer service and computer-telephony integration (CTI). It uses a routing mechanism to route an inquiry to the appropriate customer service agent. The user just needs a Java-enabled browser. The agent and the user then both manipulate the screen, but not by taking over the user’s mouse and keyboard controls, as other applications do. An announcement is expected today from a major television manufacturer, which will be using some of CrystalGate’s technology. CrystalGate’s director of business development, Mark Marchetti reckons there are at least three things Live Assistance can do that others cannot. It can enable the agent to scroll down the users’ screen, it can lock out the user so the agent can fill in HTML forms for the user, and it can also highlight items on the screen so both can see it. It also incorporates a text chat area on the web page for the customer and agent to communicate with each other. CrystalGate’s plans are pretty fluid right now, but it expects to do both products and systems integration. The Bellevue, Washington company, which was formerly known as Crystal WebWorks Inc, can also count Sun Microsystems Inc as a partner, and its collaboration engine technology will feature in the software for Sun’s delayed JavaStation network computer, but there’s no details on that yet. CrystalGate offers Sun’s HotJava browser as part of the Live Assistance package. In fact it is something of a Java maven, and says it chose the browser to keep its appliocation pure and cross-platform. It plans to show the product to prospective customers on August 4 at the company’s headquarters and will be showing at the Internet and Java Business Expo in the week beginning August 25 in New York City, by which time it hopes to have the product ready for shipping. Founder and chief scientist Larry Brader, who formed the company in February last year is assisted in his efforts by chief executive Ajoy Bannerjee, a former director at Intel Corp and Silicon Graphics Inc, among others. And as well as spending ten years working for the military, Brader has also done research work for the likes of Micorosft corp, Tektronix Inc and Nike Corp.

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