m-Mail gives mobile workers network flexibility

Toronto-based Mobile Computing Corporation (MCC) recently launched m-Mail, an e-mail application designed specifically for enterprises with a mobile workforce.

According to MCC, m-Mail optimizes standard e-mail applications such as Microsoft Pocket Outlook and Exchange, for use with multiple data networks.

However, as far as Tim Scannell, industry analyst for Mobile Insights in Mountainview, Calif. is concerned, the technology is not all that new.

“One of the biggest trends right now is trying to converge all these devices,” Scannell said. “The biggest challenge in that is how do you get the same data to different devices?”

Craig Polecrone, vice-president of sales and marketing for MCC, said that with m-Mail, system administrators can block out where messages can be sent and where messages can be received.

“You don’t want (junk e-mails) when you are paying for them wirelessly,” Polecrone said. “We are really focussed on enterprise solution providers. We are not looking at this product to be used by consumers.”

According to Polecrone, m-Mail is compatible with any Microsoft CE platform, and has the flexibility of using different networks.

“We are not tied down to any particular wireless carrier or network,” Polecrone said. “Whatever wireless data network a customer chooses to use, they can use with our products.”

Using Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion’s (RIM) Blackberry pager as an example, Polecrone explained that in order to run their software application, it must be done on a Blackberry device.

With m-Mail, Polecrone said the same restrictions apply as using wired e-mail, as well as most of the same features including attachments, content filters, anti-spamming, message management and message routing.

In terms of the amount of information transmitted over wireless airwaves, Polecrone said cost is an issue. He explained when using a wired network, there is little concern for the amount of data being sent, which results in “chatty” communication.

“That kind of structure isn’t really great for wireless,” Polecrone said. “A lot goes into making your standard e-mail system in your office efficient across wireless. That means optimizing the speed, the transmission of information back and forth so you are not sending unnecessary information which the customer in turn will be paying more for.”

Scannell agreed, but added that the challenge lies not in sending the information, but in ensuring the importance of the information being sent.

“Okay, you can get information from point A to point B. That’s not the big challenge,” he said. “The big challenge for the mobile worker is making that information relevant to who they are, where they are and what they are doing at the moment. You just can’t channel every e-mail message.”

With regards to future enhancements, Polecrone said that depends on customer demand.

“Right now, we feel this is a functional product for the requirements of the people in enterprises who need mobile e-mail,” he said. “Our solutions are built with the enterprise worker in mind. So far, we are getting great feedback.”

m-Mail will be available at the end of October and pricing will be determined on a per server and per mobile client basis. Visit www.mobilecom.com for details.