Apisphere to add location to Salesforce, Microsoft Outlook

Apisphere is launching two location-aware applications designed to improve the mobile user experience with Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Outlook.

The company will be releasing a geo-triggered interface for Salesforce.com that will automatically push client information directly to mobile devices for on-the-go meeting prep, and a Microsoft Outlook plug-in that will send meeting reminders and traffic directions to a user's mobile phone based on real-time traffic updates.

"Apisphere specializes in taking non-location-based apps and fusing them with real-time location intelligence," said Craig Harper, president/CEO of Apisphere, Berkeley, CA. "The objective is to provide the right message at the right time, at the right location, in the right context."

Salesforce takes an appointment and creates a geofence around that appointment, in effect a series of digital tripwires.

"As the consumer moves through the day, Apisphere knows where he's going and why and can trigger events along the way, such as real-time traffic reports directly to his phone via voice XML, SMS or email," Mr. Harper said. "For example, 'There's an accident on 101, take such-and-such detour, this message brought to you by so-and-so.'"

SalesForce.com can pull relevant information and format it for a mobile phone, laptop or PDA.

There are Apisphere applications optimized for Nokia smartphones, Google's Android, Apple's iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry.

Microsoft Outlook has taken the ability to create an appointment and invite someone to it and combine that with the Sierra Wireless GPS connect card.

"We can use the mobile phone's GPS location capabilities or cell tower triangulation," Mr. Harper said. "It becomes an interface that everyone knows how to use, because it's a simple, easy, common construct we use every single day.

"We know where you are and we can give you routes, the ability to map it and print it out, create geo-fences and geo-tags by applying the same architecture, the same model people are used to," he said. "I created an Outlook meeting, Apisphere hit a series of sites, found what flight I was on, what gate, where I could use my card, and it took just three extra button clicks to set up a basic geo-meeting.

"Users can create lots of different messages for a lot of different people, I can send a trigger to myself, send a message to my wife and loved ones, my boss, whoever."

Apisphere says its partners will begin to leverage this technology for many functions, including mobile marketing.

"They can do proximity triggered advertising, mobile couponing, messages with WAP links, etcetera," Mr. Harper said. "They can extend our technology to an opt-in architecture, so if people want to receive proximity-based coupons or offers from participating sponsors, they can do that via Outlook."

Both the Salesforce and Outlook applications will be released on Nov. 2.

The primary target market for Apispere is business users.

"We're targeting the business user and the mobile sales force guy, people who are mobile in their daily efforts," Mr. Harper said. "We have two plays go to market, one is the end user marketplace that we sell to, the second is ISVs [independent software vendors] such as FieldPoint, which has more than 30,000 users.

"They build a field-service software package and roll out a location-aware field services solution," he said. "We go after lots of different ISVs, and all of those apps will be available in the marketplace on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia smartphones."

Apisphere claims that it has integrated its location-aware technology into all of the mobile platforms in the marketplace.

"Why write an app for every platform out there?" Mr. Harper said. "You can write onceand be compatible with all of them, which means a bigger reach from an enterprise perspective, because most employees don't have just one type of phone.

"This can be integrated into anything that benefits from knowing where you are, and because it's widget based, it can all work together behind the scenes," he said. "It's not standalone, there are literally drag and drop connectors for developers.

"Let's say that next week a new phone comes out, you may have to wait weeks and weeks to be approved by carriers and added to their network, but with this you can publish your new app for a wide range of mobile platforms."