Laura Pratt, Persistence in Motion, PROFIT magazine, May 2001 in .NET framework

Encode Data Matrix ECC200 in .NET framework Laura Pratt, Persistence in Motion, PROFIT magazine, May 2001
20 Laura Pratt, Persistence in Motion, PROFIT magazine, May 2001
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of complex radio design that eventually led to the far more functional BlackBerry platform He also learned from his experience with Ericsson that he needed a tough management sidekick, and that was when Jim Balsillie entered the picture He and Jim quickly developed a complex code of shrugs and twitches to send signals to each other during contract meetings Says Tim Meyer: Jim was smooth, but they brilliantly did the good cop/bad cop on us after he joined Jim would literally scream over the phone at the Swedes for not supporting the Mobidem AT effort, which was what Ericsson paid a considerable sum to RIM for The arc of deciding to build radios, then PC cards, then the two-way pager was internal to RIM We just speeded things up by showing them the guts of the Mobidem OS, design, and development tools Really handing them on a plate! So RIM danced with the elephant quite well and just left Ericsson in the dust in the Mobitex device business Really, Ericsson was focused on a bigger nut, GSM mobile phones Meyer feels that Ericsson gave RIM a plum job, but there was no expectation of further business Still, he admired RIM for wanting to make everything work together in one device RIM could easily have gotten locked into RAM s orbit and kept supplying them with software drivers, adapters (The Mobitex Protocol Converter), and other bits and pieces In other words, become RAM s system integrator, but they did have the foresight of doing their own thing and charting their own course Nowadays, it is fashionable to talk about tight integration of hardware and software, and that seamless integration is what it s all about
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The Birth of the BlackBerry
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Apple is offered as the prime example, and Microsoft as the failure with Windows Mobile But RIM practiced this back in the 1990s! While Balsillie made sure the company stayed hard-nosed, Lazaridis and his team kept their eye on the ball, and RIM soon rolled out its software developer s kit (SDK) for adding wireless connectivity to Windows 3x applications This let software developers and programmers use RIM s code to build links between Windows programs and Mobitex Mobitex also let RIM compete in other emerging markets In 1992, the team started adapting the Mobitex Protocol Converter for use in point-of-sale products such as restaurant credit card readers Two years later, RIM introduced the rst Mobitex Mobile Point of Sale Terminal (MPT) at a football game in Toronto s SkyDome [now Rogers Centre] It was the world s rst handheld point of sale card reader, with all the features vendors needed to sell beer and popcorn right in the stands It could verify and handle debit and credit transactions directly to the bank host, in this case, Rogers bank, CIBC The MPT depended on Gary Mousseau s new RIMGate system, the rst general purpose Mobitex X25 gateway Launched in 1993, it was a whole new way to push packets of information across wireless networks It could link mobile applications to services such as bank computers, AT&T Easylink (a large mail solution), Compuserve (a forerunner to AOL), and INet2000, a directory of network services, in real time When Jim Balsillie came on board, one of his rst goals was to leverage the RIMGate advantage He sold major site licenses to RAM Mobile Data (US), Bell South (World Site License for UK, Australia and other installations they owned) and AT&T Easylink These site licenses amounted to over $1 million at a time when RIM was cash strapped and subsisting on contract work Suddenly,
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RIM could start leveraging its technologies and muscling its way forward
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At this time, RIM also helped launch two wireless modems, the Ericsson Mobidem AT and the competing Intel Wireless Modem containing RIM modem rmware* Ericsson engineers had just launched the world s rst modem card - a Type III PCMCIA radio modem that worked with laptops with Type III slots (two Type II slots, the thin ones, stacked) An impressive feat, but Mike Lazaridis knew that RIM could improve on the Ericsson product Their experience with Ericsson and RadioMail had also soured Lazaridis and Balsillie on working with the giant Swede, and the two sides gradually stopped talking They soon started competing with each other In fact, by the mid-1990s, Lazaridis and his team were getting more and more frustrated doing wireless point-of-sale integration with another company s radios, so they started tinkering with building a RIM-only device As Bill Frezza saw it, Mike beavered away in obscurity, deciding to build his own hardware rather than rely on Ericsson The Ericsson engineers laughed at this Canadian upstart who thought he could build a better radio Says Lazaridis, I remember thinking, Hey, we can build a better radio than this And we did That got us into paging, and we turned ourselves into experts in terms of the speci cations of the paging network We soon realized that, even though it was designed for one-way communication, you could incorporate a back
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* In Canada, Mobitex is still handled by Rogers, and by Velocita Wireless in the US The network is used for mission-critical dispatch, telemetry, POS, DB-access, Internet access, e-mail and interactive messaging The system operates on 900 MHz frequency bands and covers major urban areas all across North America
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