Hummingbird Signs on With ResQNet

As part of an overall strategy to provide faster and easier access to information residing on IBM mainframe, AS/400, Linux, and Unix-based host systems, enterprise software provider Hummingbird Communications Ltd. (Toronto) has announced plans to license ResQNet's (New York) patented drag-and-drop host rejuvenation technology. ResQNet, which allows users to add a GUI front-end to legacy-based applications without performing any special programming or scripting, will be integrated into both Hummingbird's existing line of host access products--including HostExplorer and HostExplorer Web--as well as its forthcoming Enterprise Information Portal (EIP).

Why ResQNet? The reason is twofold, according to Marnie Biles, Hummingbird's manager of Product Marketing, Connectivity. For one, ResQNet provides a capability that Hummingbird's offerings didn't have previously. "Before [ResQNet], our customers could take their Web-to-Host product and they could view it in a Windows Explorer-like environment in what was called a Web-desktop launcher. What we've done now with the ResQNet integration is to allow customers to take their green screen and instantaneously create what looks more like an HTML page--so instead of a Windows-like environment, they can now work with a customizeable GUI environment," explains Biles.

Even more importantly, though, according to Biles, is the role that ResQNet will play in the company's soon-to-be released Enterprise Information Portal. The goal of the Hummingbird's EIP capability is to provide a single point of access to enterprise information--structured or unstructured. To accomplish this, Hummingbird plans to capitalize on the strengths of all three divisions of its company--network connectivity, document and knowledge management, and business intelligence.

"ResQNet is a key component in Hummingbird's EIP development efforts," says Biles. "We expect that ResQNet's patented automatic GUI transformation technology will really enable us to differentiate ourselves from other enterprise information portals," says Biles.

This is in large part because ResQNet's customization tools are far superior, she adds. "While the core ResQNet functionality gives you a very basic GUI, with its customization tools you can go a lot further than that--and we really needed that as a key component to play into our portal, because we wanted [our portal] to be that much simpler to use. Also, since ResQNet does have a patent on the technology, we wanted to be playing with who had the strongest technology."

While others have also integrated the ResQNet product into their offerings, Hummingbird has integrated the most recent version of ResQNet, version 4.0. Other developers are still working with earlier versions of the product, says Biles. "We're actually working very closely with ResQNet now, but even after we've integrated [ResQNet] initially, we will continue to work very closely with them as they develop their product, and we'll be integrating their upgrades into ours."

Right now, Hummingbird is targeting the intranet marketplace with its Web to host product, HostExplorer Web. The next step is to extend that further and go into the extranet market so it can play in the e-business world and do B2B commerce. "ResQNet is one of the primary mechanisms that will allow us to do that--to reach that wider audience," says Biles.