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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Sony Marketing Support System to Use Java, Web Technology
  • January 21, 1999 (TOKYO) — Sony Marketing Corp. said it is implementing a business application system that uses Java and Web technology to support sales and marketing of Sony products.
    The company has been testing the “SMART” sales assistant system since August 1998 in about 150 locations all over Japan. This system is capable of retrieving sales and product information via a Web browser.

    As its sales people, the end users of this system, have become accustomed to this system, the company will improve the network performance and study deploying an object-oriented database system to manage multimedia contents.

    The “SMART” system, deployed on 1,800 notebook PCs, will enable real-time browsing and inquiries of sales data and logistic information on a country-wide basis or to reference sales promotion materials of past sales records or product data sheets. With this system, sales people can instantly obtain the latest sales trend information to make a proposal to retail stores.

    The core part of SMART is a database, Web server and RS/6000 SP MPP (massively parallel processor) UNIX server that runs Java programs. The Java applet that downloads and displays data on the Web browser will work with Java programs on the Web server that makes inquiries to the database. The whole system can display rapidly changing data in real time.

    Sales status information, sales records or product data come from an S/390 mainframe and AS/400 business computer. The data will be converted into HTML format on the RS/6000 SP and stored on the Web server and then be displayed by the Web browser on the PC.

    Sony Marketing initially planned to display all the data by the Web browser in HTML format. But the company thought HTML was not capable enough to display changing data in real time, and decided to employ Java technology. It also will be possible to download data in CSV-file format for analysis and processing by spreadsheet software.

    The company stresses re-usability of the Java program to realize high productivity in improving and expanding the system.

    (Nikkei Computer)

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