Telepartner International recently signed an agreement with Dun & Bradstreet health-care subsidiary IMS and RAM Mobile Data UK to develop and market a low-cost mobile communications service in the U.K. that will provide subscribers with online access to a full range of pharmaceutical databases.
Real-time access to data
Intercontinental Medical Statistics (IMS), the market leader for call reporting systems for the pharmaceutical industry, provides information services on drug usage to pharmaceutical companies around the world. Some time ago, Derek Roach, Operations Director at IMS UK and Ireland, saw an advertisement for RAM Mobile Data in a British Airways magazine. He had previously identified an opportunity for using mobile radio services to eliminate PC database duplication and to provide direct access to host mainframe applications. After seeing RAM's advertisement, he began making inquiries about Mobitex.
"We need to enter our calls live," explains Derek. "The second you down-load a database, it is out of date. We needed to enter calls live, instead of writing them on pieces of paper or trying to send them down a wire through a modem. Our call reporting systems were written as real-time systems from the outset, because we knew that technology would catch up."
Technology catches up
The RAM Mobile Data sales organization quickly introduced Derek to Lindsay Kennedy at Telepartner, who convincingly demonstrated that technology indeed has caught up, and in some ways now even surpasses Derek's original expectations.
"Telepartner has very good SNA protocols with massive compression capabilities. This means that all transmissions are always held down to a minimum level," says Derek and goes on to describe how easily IMS implemented the Mobitex application.
"First we installed Telepartner's Gateway product and organized a link between RAM and our main European data center in Frankfurt via the D&B X.25 network. Then we took a portable PC, attached a radio modem from RAM and ran the Telepartner protocol handling software.
"Within five minutes we had a working system running through to CICS and TSO on the mainframe over radio. We got response times of less than seven seconds. Now we have a digital radio network which can be used from a number of countries, regardless of the language," concludes Derek.
Four-second response times
The RAM Mobile Data network now provides Dun & Bradstreet's representatives with full access to the IMS mainframe call reporting applications and to a wide range of online medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare information. Over the past year, response times have been further improved and are now typically four seconds.
"The future potential for mobile communications being used in this way is tremendous," says Lindsay Kennedy, Managing Director at Telepartner International, Ltd. "The current application for IMS is but the tip of the iceberg, and the company will be looking to expand this over the coming months. The success of this project will serve as a benchmark for all major companies seeking to establish the viability of mobile data communications."