Mobile devices with e-mail capabilities have become the answer to this problem for many business travellers. These devices include “smartphones” and Wi-Fi-enabled Pocket PCs. They give you the ability to receive and send e-mail wherever you go as long as the devices can connect to the Internet. And technologies are now available that ensure that messages are delivered promptly so that you can respond to important communications quickly.
There are two popular ways for small business employees to access e-mail from mobile devices. One option is to take advantage of a mobile Web browser such as Internet Explorer Mobile to access Web-based e-mail. With a device that is connected to the Internet, you could use Internet Explorer Mobile to log on to a Web-based mail site and see and read the same e-mails as you would on your office computer. However, Web-based mail interfaces are often difficult to use on small mobile screens and access times can be slow.
Another option is to access messages using the e-mail software – such as Outlook Mobile – that is installed on the device. You can configure your mobile device to synchronise your e-mail and other data from your e-mail server at fixed time intervals. However, your messages will not arrive in real-time using this method. For instance, if you set your device to synchronise once every hour, a message that arrived on the e-mail server one minute after your last “sync” would not arrive in your inbox for another 59 minutes.
Instant Delivery Technology Now Available
Fortunately, there is now a technology that instantly delivers messages to your device with no waiting for inbox synchronisation or need to log on to a Web-based e-mail page. Called Direct Push, it makes accessing your e-mail on the road even more convenient.
With Direct Push technology, an e-mail server – such as the one included with Windows Small Business Server 2003 – can automatically send a mail message to your mobile device as soon as it arrives at the server. You don’t need to check your e-mail. There is no delivery lag time. As long as you have Internet connectivity, you have instant delivery, and the inbox on your mobile device mirrors the inbox on your computer back at the office. This allows you to give your customers the immediate attention they expect – even when you’re away from your desk.
More Direct Push Benefits
Direct Push is not just for e-mails. Other information stored on your e-mail server – including calendar, tasks and contacts – are also synchronised using Direct Push. If your assistant updates your schedule back at the office, or if you add a new contact on your PC, your mobile device will automatically get an update in real time.
Furthermore, Direct Push-enabled devices have advanced security features built in. Imagine, for example, that you accidentally left your phone in the back seat of a taxi. You might worry that another person may find it and have access to confidential business information stored there. However, Direct Push-enabled devices allow you to send a “remote wipe” signal from your e-mail server back in the office. This will wipe out any data on your device so that your sensitive information is deleted and not available to others.
To take advantage of Direct Push technology, two things are required. One is a Windows Mobile 5.0 powered device updated with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP). All Windows Mobile 5.0 devices either come with MSFP or can be updated with MSFP for free. The other requirement is that your e-mail must be delivered by an e-mail server using Exchange Server 2003 updated with Service Pack 2 (a free update). Exchange Server is included with Windows Small Business Server 2003.