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May 4, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

A new mobile communications service that is providing access to on-line databases has been announced. The partners in the venture are business information provider Dun & Bradstreet Corp and its health-care subsidiary Intercontinental Medical Statistics, New York-based RAM Mobile Data Inc and Telepartner International Inc of Farmington, Connecticut. The as-yet unnamed service will be available from June here in the UK, with plans for a continental European roll-out later on during the year. A similar service is at an early stage of development in the US, and in Japan and the Pacific Rim, the partners say. By using portable personal computers with radio modems, subscribers to the fixed-cost service will be able to access Dun & Bradstreet’s databases via RAM Mobile’s Mobitex-based public wireless network, say the companies. The service will initially provide access to on-line medical, pharmaceutical and health care information supplied by Intercontinental Medical Statistics from its mainframe database which is based in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. Sales representatives of pharmaceutical companies are seen as early subscribers. Telepartner is providing interfaces between mobile user applications and Intercontinental Medical Statistics’s information systems, via Dun & Bradstreet’s X25 global packet-switched network and the RAM network. Implementations will include variants of Telepartner’s Packet/PC remote Systems Network Architecture emulation and Synchrony Electronic Software Distribution products. These have been optimised for radio through data compression (doubling the data rates over RAM’s 8Kbps network) and software enhancements to ensure that data is not sent when the user is out of range. Access to other Dun & Bradstreet databases is also envisaged, and there are also plans to make the service two-way: a likely application is automated order-taking, whereby customers’ purchase orders, signature of authorisation and any other details can be uploaded to the database at the time of sale. Pricing details will not be announced until next month.

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