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A rejuvenated BOS — Better Online Solutions — is back in the UK and mainland Europe. The company management has changed, new technologies have been acquired and new partners are joining. While System i is focused in the marketing plan, diversification strategies also figure prominently.

BOS is a 17-year old company, publicly traded on NASDAQ, headquartered in Israel, and trading through two divisions: Software & RFID and Supply Chain Solutions. The company provides specialised enterprise software, including System i middleware, data and licence management, mobile connectivity and RFID solutions. BOS also resells electronic systems and components.

“BOS is energetically refocusing itself,” says Weeb Cnossen, European sales and marketing manager, “We have been successful through the years, and have won numerous technology awards. We brought to market e-Twinax controllers to deal with converting twinax infrastructure to work over pure TCP/IP, which means without using the SNA protocol that IBM no longer supports, and we had and still have several emulation products marketed under the brand name BOS?NOVA, that deal with making iSeries accessible from LAN, WAN or mobile.”

“BOS used to deal with iSeries connectivity and print only, but we’re now expanding our portfolio outside this box. We’re contracting new distributors and resellers around the world, and bringing new and interesting technologies under one roof. Our long-term strategy is to deliver a full RFID solution, leveraging years of experience in the enterprise market with connectivity products.”

With BOSaNOVA System i middleware, Cnossen points out BOS is currently the only manufacturer of e-Twinax controllers and that still delivers new controllers and actively supports its products in the market. “We deliver a full suite of emulation products, from LAN — BOSaNOVA Secure –, WAN –BOSaNOVA Web — or mobile — BOSaNOVA Mobile –, enabling workforce mobility from barcode readers — terminals like Intermec, Psion, Motorola, etcetera — or even PDA/smartphone. With these systems, we can drag customers using green screen technology into the mobile era,” he says.

With data and content management, mobile connectivity, licence management, and RFID, BOS is expanding its product offering to other areas not related to System i. “This revolves around our slogan: ‘When did you realise you needed BOS?’,” says Cnossen. “Our products solve critical customer issues that arise after the implementation of enterprise solutions.”

What does that mean? “When you implement a web application project, and suddenly realise you can’t print properly on pre-printed stationery anymore, BOS delivers spooling capabilities that solve this. When your company implements the use of barcode readers or RFID, and you realise you can’t properly connect to your inventory system on AS/400,Unix or Linux, BOS provides these capabilities. When you’ve implemented Microsoft’s SharePoint content portal, and realise you miss recursive rights management, migration tools and brick level restore, BOS delivers PointGuard, its proven solution to these problems,” says Cnossen.

BOS is also announcing LANspooler, a System i print spooler in a box, that in an upgraded version will also be able to combine System i and regular TCP/IP. It will be possible to connect up to four printers to this small appliance through a USB or parallel port, and print any iSeries printout on a regular printer. Features include remote access and printer control, allowing for remote support, which is especially useful for companies with remote branches or franchise branches still using AS/400. Supported printer brands are Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta, Lexmark, OKI, Ricoh, Samsung, Xerox, with LANspooler retailing at €495 (about £300).

BOS is reviving its core of distributors and resellers around the world and is preparing to mount a partner event for the first time in years. Existing and potential partners will be invited to attend. Those dealing with System i, Microsoft’s SharePoint, or delivering general integration services to their customers will be especially welcome. More products are planned for release such as a new RFID server, which is a middleware RFID “brain” operating between the readers and gates, and the customer ERP system. The beta will be released in October.

The BOS European Partner Conference is being held on October 11-12 in the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. Deadline for registrations is Friday September 14. All participants are eligible for an additional 15% bonus discount on LANspooler (to be demonstrated at the event) on any orders placed during the conference.

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