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Technology / AI and automation


San Francisco-based software developer Laticorp Inc has set up offices in the leafy Thameside environs of Maidenhead in Berkshire to help support its push into the European marketplace, through Sphinx Ltd’s informal ICUS Unix software marketing network, with additional distributors in France, West Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The move coincides with the release of what President Bill Boehlke describes as the first real Laticorp product, the Sync electronic mail and appointments program. Until recently, the company concentrated on the Latitude off-ice automation package and High Tech Business Graphics, each of which was obtained by the acquisition of the software house that developed it – Horizon Software and High Tech Mar-keting, back in 1985. But with Sync, and fu-ture products, Laticorp is keen to avoid the office automation tag. According to Bill Boehlke Unix has expanded so far on the strength of the software development markets. But for growth to continue there is a need to create new markets rather than duplicate oth-ers. The Personal Computer was made by the spreadsheet, and some other IBM environments by transaction processing. The strength of Unix is in departmental communications and text processing. Accordingly, the latest version of Sync, just released, has moved from being just an appointments scheduler with some mail capability to a departmental communications product, integrating electronic mail systems such as Unix smail and sendmail over uucp and Ethernet with group and resource scheduling under Sun’s Network File System, and appointments facilities. Compliance with X400 is scheduled for early 1988 for connection to public mail systems, including Telex. And at the Uniforum show next year, Laticorp will launch its Context text search and retrieval program, which is says will be the first Unix package to include hypertext-like capabilities alongside text retrieval. The plan is to integrate this fully with Sync, enabling organisations with large amounts of incoming electronic mail to control and organise their messages. Sync is already integrated with other Laticorp products, but is also sold as a stand alone product. New European sales manager Liz Porter sees the next 12 months as a time for showing the products around, with turnover targets set at a modest UKP500,000 to UKP600,000, but she hopes that the company will start to reap the benefits of this groundwork in 1989. Sync has built-in X/Open National Language Support and will be available in three European languages in addition to English.

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