Rabu, 25 Juni 2008

A network management system that lets users get to the video, music and other files on a home or small-business LAN will soon offer that remote access from mobile phones.

SingleClick Systems said Tuesday that its SingleClick Remote Access technology, which was announced earlier this year, will work with Apple iPhones, Research In Motion Blackberrys and about 7,000 other types of mobile phones starting July 15. The company is set to show the new capability at the Connections 2008 conference in Santa Clara, California, beginning Tuesday evening.

Without installing software on the phone, users will be able to get to their media via a password-protected Web portal and then view or listen to it, according to SingleClick CEO Scott Zarkiewicz. But theres a catch: It has to stream over the mobile network. In addition, some mobile operators place restrictions-- not always enforced-- on the use of mobile data connections for streaming media.

SingleClick has been making management systems for small LANs for several years, and Dell began including its software on selected PCs as Dell Network Assistant in 2005, according to Zarkiewicz. Customers can view, monitor and repair their networks with the software and designate one computer as the networks media server, then install special software on it. Any system on the network can then access multimedia content from that server.

With a remote-access offering introduced earlier this year for US$10 per month, that content is available on customers own remote PCs or those of friends and relatives who have been given password access to an individual Web portal. Starting July 15, that same service will include access from mobile phones. The service initially will be available from SingleClicks Web site, and the company is seeking other channels for it.

After the user chooses the files they want to enjoy, the software on the media server will transcode them for delivery on the phone. The system uses the open-source Wireless Universal Resource File (WURFL) database for information about particular phone models and their multimedia capabilities. Based on what kind of media player is on a particular phone model, the media server software will transcode the content. It will also gauge the speed of the wireless network connection and adjust the quality of the media to play over that connection.

For example, if an iPhone user tried to watch any kind of video that resided on his media server PC, the server software would transcode it into Apples QuickTime format and first show the user a sample of what the video would look like at the best possible quality, Zarkiewicz said. The video would play on the iPhones Quicktime player rather than through the browser, he said.

However, the new capability is intended less for iPhones than for other handsets, such as BlackBerrys, that may not have good media players built in, Zarkiewicz said. And while video may frequently be degraded by the available cellular connection, music often plays fine with just 32K bps (bits per second) or so, he said. Also, consumers who want to show photos on their phones will be able to easily get to whatever images they have on their home network and view them on the phone, he said.

The mobile feature can also act as a VPN (virtual private network) for viewing shared files within a small business, according to SingleClick.


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