Dear Readers,

One of the latest technology innovations now being discussed at trade shows and by some of the visionaries in our industry is "location-aware" applications. Location-aware applications are becoming increasingly attractive due to widespread dissemination of wireless networks and the emergence of small and cheap locating technologies. For example, location-aware applications could enable businesses to provide effective, dynamically personalized customer service directly or through intelligent portals. A personal digital assistant (PDA) coupled with a global positioning system (GPS) opens the way for applications that automatically trigger the delivery of information relevant to the user's current location.

One of the major stumbling blocks to date has been the accuracy of a GPS since it requires clear access to the satellite and needs triangulation to guarantee a high degree of accuracy. Some of the claims being made by vendors at this time are extraordinary, and it will be a number of years before this technology becomes a reality.

Another major hurdle that needs to be addressed for location-aware applications to become a reality involves privacy issues. The future of location-aware e-business as well as m-commerce and wireless CRM applications will be based on their widespread acceptance by the business and consumer marketplace. Ensuring privacy and giving customers the flexibility to manage and control access to their location-based information will be key to adoption. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) has submitted location-based privacy principles to the FCC to address this critical issue.

Security of all information that is being deployed over a virtual private network (VPN) for both e-business and m-commerce represents a major concern for companies contemplating location-aware applications. I would highly recommend the technology that has been developed by SafeNet Inc. – considered by many to be the de facto industry standard for VPNs. SafeNet's list of customers includes 13 of the top 15 U.S. banks, the FBI, U.S. Treasury and many of the Fortune 1000 companies worldwide. It is important that all businesses protect their information, especially when the future continues to point to the distribution of information beyond the firewall.

As always, thanks for reading DM Review!

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