Customise your world
E Jayashree Kurup, Mumbai

REMEMBER the revolution that B2B networks created where all the different elements of the network could communicate with each other over an intranet? Now take your individual existence.

You use a PC, a mobile phone, a banking service, a calendar and a personal digital assistant. Suppose all these were able to interact the way the B2B network components did, wouldn’t life be simpler for you?

You may not have to rush to a PC just after you land somewhere just because there is that vital e-mail that you were waiting for. Or even divert all your mail to your handheld device just so that you don’t miss that one mail.

The intelligence in the network will allow your mobile device to access your desktop calendar and remind you to keep your appointment. No, this is no clip out of science fiction. It is a radical new technology that Chirag Patel and his team at Net4nuts have applied for a US patent.

Very similar to a service that Hewlett-Packard had announced a couple of years ago with the e-services manager, e-speak. There too the ultimate aim was to create a world around the individual where all the digital assistants would be able to seamlessly interact with each other and work towards increasing the efficiency of the individual.

Net4Nuts is banking on a technology known as universal resource management to allow all this interaction to happen. Hardware devices such as PDAs, mobile phones and personal computers; or software such as MS Exchange, Lotus Scheduler or even online calendar/scheduling services were the first products which tried to optimise individual resources - while the user apparently remained the link on the universal resource management chain.

URM allows various online services such as e-mail, news, portfolio, travel, weather watch, calendar or any other individual information managers or sources to collaborate with each other in a completely automated two-way dialogue.

Information across devices flows seamlessly, integrating real time online with every activity an individual performs. URM technology altogether does away with the manual intervention that some other applications with similar functionalities require — considerably increasing privacy, timelines and eliminating the human element in the process.

This lack of human intervention is very important because it ensures the security of the network. Take a case where you are getting your e-mail read over a phone. ``Just dial a number and key in a password,’’ says Patel. The system will locate the mail by name or subject and read it to you. Just knowing that nobody else reads the mail and the password too is stored in a secure environment, makes the user more comfortable.

"Payments for this service would be on an Application Service provider model where the consumer pays per service," says Aneesh Sen, vice president marketing, Net4Nuts. The first customer for the company is the US-based Converge Labs which has licensed four components to Net4Nuts, including e-mails, weather information, stock portfolio.

At the individual level, the user only needs to know his or her password to enter their personally customised world. The creation of that world is a one-time effort wherein the user specifies choice of device, location, sequence and requirement for procurement, management and/or delivery of information is specified by each user.

A URM enabled individual, can be reminded of a meeting by an alert on the cellphone, after scanning her calendar service. He or she can get stock quotes while travelling to the meeting, and even receive mobile alerts that stock he or she had wanted to buy for the last few months is at an all time low.

He or she can check the status of other stocks in that category for the day, seek recommendations from online brokers, check bank balances and send instructions to buy, at the same time specifying the sell price (without having to log on to the internet or her online broker).

"All this without interrupting their routine work schedules," says Sen. In fact, that can be supplemented with travel information and flight schedules so that too gets speeded up.

And the winner is again the customer who gets a host of brokered serviced simplifying the way he uses his time.