Antenna Software, a mobile software vendor that specialises in distributing back-end applications, has arrived in Europe.
Antenna already has a number users at European branches of US customers, many of which use Research In Motion (RIM) Blackberrys, according to the company's European vice president Bob Apollo.
"RIM is acknowledged in the world of e-mail," said Apollo. "For other applications, we put intelligent software behind the firewall to extract the relevant data and package it up for delivery."
While BlackBerry has been improving its support for enterprise applications besides e-mail, and other mobile e-mail vendors have been doing likewise, individual companies have heavily customised applications.
Mobilising back-end applications will always involve custom work, says Apollo, even though Antenna has ready-made building blocks to mobilise around 40 modules from enterprise applications including Oracle, Siebel, SAP and PeopleSoft. "We can create a relatively repeatable solution," said Apollo, "so we're not building from scratch." The company is a partner of RIM.
Antenna's existing customers tend to be those with mobile staff whose time is critical, such as field service forces for expensive medical or airport security scanners, or sales forces for fast moving consumer goods.
Customers include Pitney Bowes (read Pitney Bowes pushes the envelope), Siemens Medical, Heineken Ireland, Fujitsu and L-3 the makers of airport security systems.
Antenna will charge from £20 to £30 per user per month for mobilising an application, which includes end-to-end support, and a network operations centre that monitors performance. The company also offers smart clients, to work with the "on demand" (or ASP) versions of software like Siebel.
Although much of Antenna's work is on Blackberrys, the Windows Mobile platform is equally important said Apollo, but he does not see Symbian smartphones as penetrating the enterprise - even in Europe.
Apollo expects Europe to make up a third of Antenna's new customers in two or three years.