Xora introduces wireless, voice activated access to CRM

One of the biggest concerns mobile professionals face in accessing data from a wireless device is the lack of coverage areas in more rural areas. Enter Xora, a wireless and voice-enabled data applications company that just announced the release of its Xora Platform. In addition to allowing access to data over a wireless phone, pager and PDA, the Xora Platform gives users the ability to dial in from a landline to access information.

The voice recognition capabilities are built on technology from Nuance, according to Steve Peck, director of marketing at Mountain View, Calif.-based Xora. For example, in a health care setting, a provider could dial in and command the system to "give patient records for Mrs. Brown," he said.

"The technological advantages are the integration of voice technology, as well as natural language technology," said Martin Marshall, managing director at Redwood City, Calif.-based Zona Research Inc. The natural language is query language for people who don't know what "query" means, nor should they have to, as they are not technical people, he said.

The Xora Platform supports cell phones, Web phones, Palm OS-based handhelds, Pocket PCs, Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) pagers, Web browsers and landline phones, according to Peck. All major databases can interact, including Oracle, MS SQL Server, Sybase, IBM and Informix, and the software runs on Solaris, Windows NT, HP UX, IBM AIX and Linux, he said. Applications supported include those by i2 Technologies, Siebel Systems Inc., Vantive, Remedy and Vitria, as well as legacy applications developed in-house, Peck added.

Xora currently has four customers, in construction, financial services, telecommunications and a business-to-business exchange provider, Peck said.

The company is currently working on a pilot for a New York investment bank, which uses RIM pagers to access Siebel's CRM system, Peck said. Xora was able to implement its platform in a couple of days, he said.

Another of its customers, Home Finishes, a home warranty company in Livermore, Calif. has 700 engineers using its product on the road, Peck said. The employees use Nextel phones to enter expenses on each home, and so far, Peck estimates that Home Finishes has replaced 4,000 pieces of paper by using the Xora platform.

The system can be implemented in a couple of weeks, and ROI is often visible in two quarters, Peck said. Initial cost can range from $150,000 to $200,000, he said. The Xora platform is available immediately.

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