A World Away

ClearPath Forward3 minutes readOct 3rd, 2010
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While I was in Wellington, New Zealand for their Future Matters Conference I was asked to do a presentation on “iPhone integration with ClearPath”.    It is interesting how the more correct “Smartphone integration with ClearPath” is less exciting to those that plan conferences.  The point is while these devices capture the imaginations of the masses; integration of smartphones and similar devices like iPads, Blackberries and even iPhones is hard for many to see as being applicable to them.  They don’t see it as part of their computing world.  Much like the web, it is seen as somehow as being different and apart.   Could this be a failure of imagination that this concept is, for many, is literally a world away?

In contemporary computing environments the name of the game is coordinated administration of services in a well integrated delivery model.  ClearPath customers need to see how they can integrate the information they have with other sources and services to provide their clients with unique services and capabilities.

This reminds me of a senior design contest I judged recently.  One of the teams in the “final four” created some tooling to ease the creation of mash-ups.  A mash-up is an application that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services.  The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open APIs and data sources to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data.  Mash-ups are useful for integrating business and data services and provide the ability to develop new integrated services quickly, to combine internal services with external or personalized information, and to make these services tangible to the business user through user-friendly interfaces be they native applications for smartphones or web presentations.

In this case the team used two public web services, one with crime statistics and another with information on neighborhood taverns and combined the information to present the safest place to enjoy “Happy Hour”.  The presentation used a third service, Google maps, to provide a nice user interface.  The example here shows how one can use public content in new ways to provide new and unique services.

Imagine what can happen when just a little proprietary information is added.  For instance, there are applications that run on smartphones  that will help you locate the nearest automated teller machine, but they will not tell you  if you will be accessed a fee for use or if they are even in-service.  The information behind them is generally static.   Add some information that is not readily available to the public and leverage that with public information such as maps or directions and you have a powerful “mash-up” that integrates ClearPath information with other services to deliver a unique service to your clients.

ClearPath servers are well positioned to participate in this type of rapid development.  Databases and transaction monitors present open industry standard APIs and the ePortal offering allows one to define web services that can be easily integrated and combined with other services to deliver new and exciting content to your users.

So, rather than being a world away, ClearPath is well positioned at the center of the world with vital information that can be the basis for a unique service for you and for your clients.

Tags-   ClearPath ClearPath ePortal Mash-ups