News | May 5, 1999

Lucent to Develop Internet Portal for Mobile Professionals

Murray Hill, NJ-based Lucent Technologies has licensed Custom Netcenter from Netscape, the Mountain View, CA-based subsidiary of America Online. Under the licensing pact, Lucent will use Custom Netcenter develop a portal which is designed to serve as the Internet start page for professionals on the move.

The new custom portal, named Zingo, will operate as a virtual laboratory for service providers to test Lucent and third party developed wireless applications. These applications will be accessible by a range of consumer devices, including wireless phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

Lucent will build the Zingo portal using Netscape's Custom Netcenter product. This product allows companies like Lucent Technologies to create customized portals that combine Internet content with custom business applications. For example, a typical "road warrior" arriving in a strange city could have driving tips on avoiding downtown traffic jams instantly available from the Web, displayed on either a PDA or in text-to-speech format on a mobile phone.

Lucent's wireless Internet information service will be implemented by participating network operators in collaboration with Syglass (Naperville, IL) and Wyrex Communications (Toronto, Canada). In addition, the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) will provide the communication standard for linking mobile professionals to Lucent's portal.

An important point
A critical requirement of a portal designed for frequent business is the ability to support a wide selection of devices, such as cellular phones and PDAs. The Zingo portal will use Spyglass' Prism technology to transform HTML content into voice extensible markup language (VXML) for interactive voice response (IVR) applications or wireless markup language (WML) format for WAP-enabled phones. Through Prism, a single version of content published in standard HTML format can be automatically reformatted for virtually any device with a built-in browser.

Zingo's IVR capability is made possible by Bell Labs' PhoneBrowser technology, which was demonstrated in partnership with Spyglass. This prototype browser a voice-controlled interface to Internet services using Bell Labs speech recognition and text-to-speech synthesis. In this manner, mobile customers can have messages and information read to them on virtually any phone. Additionally, they can use link titles from the portal or other web sites.

Lucent will display a beta version of the Zingo portal at next month's Supercomm show, which will be held from June 7-10 at the Georgia World Congress Convention Center in Atlanta, GA.