As the reach of wireless and mobile systems continues
beyond personal productivity tools into the realms of corporate applications,
users increasingly trust and depend on the integrity and timeliness of data that
spans the host and the various mobile platforms–a mobile phone, and handheld
computer, or a laptop. Reference data on the multiple devices must be current,
transferable, and reliable.
Data synchronization is the term used to refer to this
reconciliation operation where updates are exchanged and conflicts are resolved.
These data synchronization activities are performed over a session management
layer. Synchronization across different platform and applications sounds at
first pass to be a single action to harmonize data across these platforms, but
in reality it involves multiple levels of carefully defined activities to
rationalize the contents of two or more sources of data (across one, two, or
more platforms). This last dimension, spanning a broad range of data types
across a range of operating systems, database systems, and devices, offers a
significant challenge in the quest for interoperability. There is no accepted
implemented standard today for addressing this need–there is a proliferation
of different, proprietary data synchronization mechanisms for mobile devices.
The absence of a single data synchronization standard was identified as a major hurdle for end-users, device manufacturers, application developers, and service providers over a year ago in early groundwork leading up to the formation of The Open Group’s Mobile Management Forum.
In February 2000, IBM, Lotus, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Psion, and Starfish set-up SyncML (Synchronization Mark-up Language ). SyncML has set forth as its goal to develop and promote an open universal standard for synchronizing data across different computer platforms, networks, and devices. SyncML is an XML-based data synchronization protocol supporting data synchronization (email, calendar, contact management information, as well as enterprise data stored in databases and web-based documents) while aiming to be open enough to accommodate new forms of content available in future.
The Open Group should support the activities of the SyncML group.
The Mobile Management Forum should work closely with SyncML (and similar organizations) and the existing players in the market to ensure that the solutions fully meet the needs of users and integrate and interoperate effectively with the proposed Common Session Management Layer (CSML) work.
Furthermore, The Open Group should encourage close
interaction between the Mobile Management Forum and SyncML, so that the
corporate/government user community will fully appreciate and support
initiatives to create an open interoperable data synchronization protocol.