Consilent launches mobile mail

Consilient Technologies Corp. announced on Tuesday the availability of its Mobile Mail software solution, an offering that will allow users access to wireless push e-mail on the Novell GroupWise platform for the palmOne Treo 600 smartphone.

The product comes in two versions — the enterprise edition and the subscriber (hosted) edition. The Enterprise Edition software integrates behind the firewall of an enterprise’s existing network and delivers real-time push notification of e-mail. According to St. John’s, Nfld.-based Consilient, this method is appropriate for IT-managed environments with thousands of possible mobile users per server.

The subscriber model is very similar to the Enterprise Edition in that it enables the same wireless capabilities, explained Trevor Adey, president of Consilient. The main difference is that the subscriber model comes without any software installation requirement in-house.

“If you want to own it and maintain it on your own server alongside your e-mail platform we would sell you the server software and you would maintain it on your own site. If you would prefer that we host it, we [would] charge you a monthly fee per subscriber and we [would] host the server equipment on our facility,” explained Adey. “It just depends how a company or organization manages its IT resources.”

However, the subscriber edition isn’t something many enterprises are going to want to introduce into their organizations, explained Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc., because as a redirector, the subscriber model can be a possible threat.

“It’s a security risk to have e-mail sent outside the company by users,” he added.

Although Adey said Consilient offers the same level of security on a subscription approach as it does for the enterprise approach, he noted that the subscription method is more for a “retail user” than that of a large enterprise.

“It gives an individual who just wants to sign up one device the ability to have access to this more enterprise solution…it is exciting if you are someone who just picked up a Treo at an AT&T Wireless kiosk [for example],” he added.

A few features of the Consilient platform include: multi-network support; wireless e-mail delivery; attachment support; and desktop synchronization of tasks and calendar.

Consilient’s Mobile Mail software for the GroupWise mail platform on the palmOne device is the second mobile device that Consilient has enabled with its technology over the past year.

“We have launched a multi-device approach for GroupWise users connecting their mail platform to many devices. The first that we launched some time ago was connectivity to [Research In Motion Ltd.’s] BlackBerry and now this is the next follow-up product from probably the second most popular PDA, the Palm Treo 600,” Adey noted.

Consilient had better watch its back, according to Gartner’s Dulaney, because other vendors are now also pursuing the GroupWise Platform — vendors that have stronger offerings supporting not only the Treo but the Pocket PC devices and Microsoft smartphones as well.

This announcement seems to have less features than other offerings from companies including JP Mobile Inc. and Extended Systems both based in the U.S., he added.

“Consilient won’t really be on our radar screen as long as they don’t have the wherewithal to tell us that they are in the business,” said Dulaney. “We evaluate products in this area and have not been approached by Consilient. That says their marketing effort is weak.”

The bottom line, according to Dulaney, is that there must now be a serious amount of pressure on Consilient. “They have much to do to survive.”

California State Parks in Sacremento, Calif., is currently using Consilient Technologies’ Consilient2 software for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) to integrate BlackBerry handhelds with its GroupWise mail platform, explained Shawn Nelson, chief IT administrator for California State Parks.

Nelson said he has been “waiting with anticipation” for the new Mobile Mail software and his department is now in the process of evaluating options to move to the new Consilient Mobile Mail in order to consolidate two separate systems — Consilient for the BlackBerry and another application for the Treo — into one system for both handhelds.

After months of testing different solutions, Nelson said the Consilient2 for the BlackBerry “far outweighed the competition in its ability to seamlessly integrate BlackBerry functions and reliability with the GroupWise e-mail platform.”

This was partly because Nelson said other applications when implemented lost many of the BlackBerry’s functionality.

“Most other [applications] added a new icon for mail to the Blackberries’ menu rather than delivering the mail to the mailbox already on the BlackBerry,” Nelson explained. “The alert function for incoming mail was also compromised with most other applications. Consilient’s application kept all the functions that were important to our users such as using the BlackBerry’s inbox rather than an alternate.”

In the coming months, Adey indicated that Consilient is planning to extend its GroupWise connectivity to Microsoft’s PocketPC and other mobile phone and smartphone devices.

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