By William Fellows
IBM Corp says the Java-based Open Service Gateway announced yesterday (CI No 3,609), will be just one component of its pervasive computing initiative and will be used primarily as a mechanism for connecting and delivering internet-based services to complex client environments. It will use other kinds of connections where there is a single client environment. The Gateway could be used as a hosting environment for home or small business networks that are likely to feature a range of embedded devices and appliances. However IBM’s initial pervasive computing initiatives center around dedicated network services for screen phones, GSM and WAP Wireless Application Protocol internet-over- wireless devices. For maximum coverage IBM is expected to stagger a series of pervasive computing announcements over the next month or two describing current activities and partners in each area as well as pilot sites that will go up over the course of the year. IBM hasn’t said how or in which products it will support the Gateway. It says it is still considering several options. In addition to is own development IBM says it is still working closely with QNX Software Systems Ltd on real-time operating system technology for pervasive computing devices. It didn’t say whether or not it would license Sun’s Java embedded server (of which the Gateway is a subset) or whether it will fully implement the specifications by year-end. IBM is also developing proxy and translation services that will reside on the network. Its goal is to enable networks to host any type of client system and allow those clients to take advantage of any service on the network, regardless of what combination of hardware or software is hosted. It will initially focus on vertical industry applications and device-specific environments. IBM describes pervasive computing as a Tier 0 environment, which in its parlance consists of devices that exist below the desktop PC level, including embedded applications.