WAP Can Ring the Changes with Focus on Workplace; Many People Have Been Scathing about WAP ... All Industry Analysts Contradict This Grassroots Cynicism Internet Marketing Advisory Board

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Byline: Steve Pain Technology Editor

WAP technology is still alive and kicking - despite its failure to make much of an impact on general consumer markets - according to Internet expert Rachael Kinniburgh, founder of the Midland-based Internet Advisory Marketing Board.

Introduced last year, Wireless Application Protocol technology promised to introduce mobile phone users to the Net, but has since been dismissed as too slow and unwieldy, particularly compared to newer systems soon to appear on the high street.

Rachael Kinniburgh strongly disagrees, saying: 'Many people have been scathing about WAP technology which is said to be too difficult and too expensive to use.

'Cynics argue that using WAP to look up information such as rail timetables can take and cost ten to 15 times more than simply using the same phone to call an enquiry line.

'All industry analysts contradict this grassroots cynicism. Forrester Research predicts that by the year 2004, a third of all Europeans will regularly use their mobile phones to access Internet services.

So is WAP dead?

'One theory is that it has been incorrectly targeted at the consumer and instead should have been used in a business context first in order to iron out issues,' Ms Kinniburgh replied.

'And a brief look at history reinforces this view. In 1994, the Internet was given equally poor press and written off as a domain for techno geeks.

'Within three years, e-mail had become an indispensable business tool which then accelerated demand for home use. …