E-agency, a full-service Web development firm, is now adapting clients' Web sites for handheld wireless devices -- a quickly emerging new service that is expected to come into great demand in 2001.
"Wireless Web clippings" feature streamlined content from existing Web pages or databases that have been adapted for delivery via handheld PDAs (personal digital assistants) that use the PalmOS platform. Web clippings offer users the power to obtain and track information from specially designed Web sites while they are on the go.
"There is great market demand starting to build now for Web clippings," said David Dunn, president and CEO of e-agency. "People are more mobile these days -- and less patient. They want to be able to get certain information immediately, when they are away from their desks."
It is estimated that 1 billion wireless Web devices will be in use worldwide by 2003.
Most users currently read e-mail on their wireless PDAs. The PDA can also be used for specific chores such as checking stock quotes or finding information from a Web database. But PDAs can only get content from sites that have been adapted to present information in the wireless format.
The e-agency team has developed wireless Web clippings for The Shorenstein Co., Jack London Square and the Oakland International Airport.
Shorenstein uses its wireless-enabled Web site at www.555citycenter.com to allow brokers to use a PDA to search for available office space that Shorenstein owns within the city of Oakland. While visiting a potential client or showing a property, a broker can go into Shorenstein's database to check all the available sites that might meet the client's needs and the detailed specifications of facilities or nearby services available at each of them.
"When I saw the potential uses for this technology on the Web site that e-agency built for us, I was very impressed. It is clear to me that this specific application can offer the Shorenstein Co. a significant competitive advantage," said John Dolby, marketing director for Shorenstein Co. "I suspect that within a very short time, many people will begin using applications like this almost as commonly as they use the Web today."
The Web clipping for Jack London Square offers the user a directory of restaurants, shops and lodging available at Jack London Square. The Oakland Airport Web clipping offers information on airlines and ground transportation services.
E-agency, one of the first Web shops in the East Bay to develop this service, currently offers wireless applications for the PalmOS platform because it is used on the widest variety of wireless devices and represents more than 75 percent of the PDA market worldwide, Dunn said. The company plans to develop applications for other wireless platforms as demand increases.
Developing a Web clipping is much like creating a Web page. The time and cost involved depends on the complexity of the project. E-agency tailors each Web clipping application to meet the needs of each individual client, and more importantly, to the specific needs of the users of the client's Web site, Dunn said. He expects that more than half of e-agency's current clients will add a wireless application to their existing Web sites within the next 18 months.
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