Getting your Email on the Road

      Email, even with all of its problems, is vital to business today.  Businesses are becoming increasingly more virtual.  The ability to get corporate email from a remote office, while on the road, or at home is obvious.  This article describes accessing remote email using pc’s and wireless devices.

     There are many options for getting your work email while away from the office.  Most companies use either Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino for the server component.  Both of these communications platforms have a pure web client available.  In the case of Exchange, the functionality of the new Outlook Web Access for Exchange Server 2003 is very comparable to the Outlook client itself.  Options to retrieve email remotely include: 1) use of a standard browser to access the server’s web interface, 2) directly via the internet using the Outlook 2003 client which is especially nice because all data is cached on the local drive of your notebook, 3) similar to option two but using a VPN, and 4) using Terminal Services (RDP) or Citrix. There are other options as well.

     Research in Motion (RIM)’s Blackberry technology has always been a leader in delivering email to wireless, handheld devices.  Most recently the company has introduced combination phone and email devices such as the 7100t that utilizes T-Mobile’s GSM network.  On the corporate side the Blackberry for Exchange Server (BES) software is loaded on a server.  This software parses each email to put the body and attachments into a format acceptable for the Blackberry device.  It then forwards the email through the network and is received on the handheld when it gets in range.  You can reply and compose new email from the handheld as well and your mail box in Exchange will stay synchronized.  As an alternative to BES, there is a desktop redirector that runs on your pc but you must leave your pc on when you want it to work.

     Other phone vendors have gotten into the game too.  PalmOne teamed up with several cellular carriers with its popular Treo600 phone to be able to push or pull email from an Exchange server to the phone.  Separate from the cellular carrier’s email solutions, are independent solutions similar to Blackbery’s.  Good Technology’s Good Link is an enterprise solution that connects Palm based phones to Outlook.  In Box to Go is another solution that polls your In-Box.

     Siera Wireless has introduced the Voq Professional Phone A11 and a push style email technology called Voq Mail.  The phone uses Microsoft’s operating system specifically designed for phones called Microsoft Windows Mobile for Smartphone 2003.  It offers an email application similar to Outlook and permits syncing with Exchange and Outlook.

     Microsoft has a technology called Outlook Mobile Access (OMA) that permits access to Exchange email, contacts, calendar, tasks, address book, using a browser in a mobile device.  Another feature that can be used from a smart phone based on Window Mobile 2003 is Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) that permits you to synchronize.

     As is frequently the case today, there are several good choices.  If you’d like some help analyzing the best solution for your corporate email needs, Beachwood Systems is available to assist.


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