Today at Microsoft TechEd 2005, Microsoft's largest annual technology education conference, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, announced the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0, software based on wireless features coming in Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2) to address requests by business customers for a faster, more direct messaging experience, improved security management, and better cost efficiencies and scalability in their mobile messaging solutions.
In addition to providing IT administrators with the ability to better manage and protect information on a device, the feature pack includes Direct Push Technology, which keeps the business user's Outlook Mobile up to date by delivering information quickly and directly to a Windows Mobile-based device from Exchange Server, without requiring businesses to pay for additional and costly servers or middleware.
Enhancements to Outlook Mobile
The Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 will offer businesses the premier mobile messaging solution, going beyond plain text E-Mail to provide a fast and familiar Outlook Mobile experience. End users will have access to a wide range of business information through the following new features:
- Windows Mobile Direct Push Technology: Outlook information, including E-Mail, calendar, contacts and new support for Tasks, is pushed from a direct connection between Exchange Server and a Windows Mobile-based device, providing users with immediate access to Outlook information, without the need for an additional and costly server infrastructure required by other solutions on the market.
- Wireless support for contact information: Support for over-the-air lookup of global address list information stored on Exchange Server, a top request from partners, enables business users to access full contact details of co-workers on a Windows Mobile-based device. The feature is broadly integrated throughout the messaging, phone, calendar and contacts experience, providing users with a consistent, productive messaging experience.
Direct Push Technology is even more compelling when integrated with the powerful Office Mobile suite in Windows Mobile 5.0, enabling users to do more than simple E-Mail, such as send Word, Excel, PowerPoint, music and video attachments in messages with rich E-Mail formatting and no size restrictions.
"Successfully addressing the mobility demands of today's business market requires a combination of powerful networks, breadth and choice of applications, and clear answers to business issues of security, return on investment and systems integration," said Vish Sowani, vice president, International Business Marketing at T-Mobile. "The Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 complements T-Mobile's successful 'Office in your Pocket' suite of Microsoft-based solutions with a compelling messaging product that addresses these critical business needs while delivering mobile professionals much more than simple mobile E-Mail. In alliance with Microsoft, we have an opportunity to strengthen our business customer portfolio and deliver another very powerful mobile business solution."
Better Management and Protection of Device Information
While increasing productivity for end users, the Messaging and Security Feature Pack will also improve efficiencies for IT organizations by streamlining management of device security policies through functionality offered in Exchange Server 2003 SP2. Building on existing capabilities in Exchange Server 2003, IT professionals can manage Windows Mobile-based devices the same way they manage PCs and servers through new features that support the following:
- Remotely enforced IT policy: Via the Exchange Server 2003 console, IT administrators can remotely manage and enforce select corporate IT policy over the air. For example, IT administrators can mandate a personal identification number password to be set for every device and set recommended and mandatory policies, as well as set exception lists for users to be exempt from these policies.
- Local and remote device wipe: The ability to remove all information, over the air, and reset a device to its original state enables IT administrators to better manage sensitive information on a misplaced Windows Mobile-based device. In addition, the administrator can choose to have the local memory on a device erased if the correct password is not entered after a designated number of attempts.
- Certificate-based authentication: Native support for new certificate-based authentication, a leading security request from partners, utilizes industry security standards to enable users to gain access to their corporate network, without using a separate password, and eliminates the need to store corporate login credentials on the device.
Exchange Server 2003 customers, such as Lifetime Products, are already planning to take advantage of the advanced functionality provided by the combination of Exchange Server 2003 with SP2 and the Windows Mobile platform.
"Providing a mobile computing solution that is cost-effective for our IT department and helps our employees stay connected with each other and their customers, across multiple time zones, is a top priority of Lifetime Products," said John Bowden, CIO of Lifetime Products. "Already we have experienced an over 40 percent increase in employee productivity due to the combination of Windows Mobile and Exchange Server 2003 and hope to further those benefits with the Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 and Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2."
Feature Pack Enables Deployment of More Scalable, Cost-Effective Mobile Messaging Solutions
Beyond device management and security, price and scalability are key concerns for businesses as they consider mobile device deployments. The Messaging and Security Feature Pack will provide a scalable and easy-to-manage mobile messaging solution that gives users a broad choice of device designs and eliminates the need for business to outsource their mobile messaging to third parties and purchase additional middleware software or costly servers. These benefits are realized through the following capabilities:
- Ability to utilize existing Exchange 2003 investments: Direct integration between Exchange Server and Windows Mobile provides businesses with an infrastructure that can easily be expanded to include mobile capabilities and scale as the organization grows, while eliminating the need for business customers to add another server or pay additional client access license fees and an ongoing data service fee to third parties.
- Outlook Mobile data compression: Outlook data sent between Exchange Server and a Windows Mobile-based device is significantly compressed, enabling faster transfer and synchronization of data, while providing operators with more room on their networks for additional revenue-generating services. In fact, initial tests conducted by Microsoft have shown network bandwidth savings ranging between 35 percent and 50 percent.
- Broad device choice: The consistent Windows Mobile platform enables businesses to provide their employees with a range of unique devices from over 40 hardware partners, while giving the IT department a single software and server platform to manage.
"Through the work from our long-standing relationship with Microsoft, we are setting the bar for what business professionals can do with their mobile devices - reflected by our very successful HP iPAQ handhelds based on the Windows Mobile platform," said Rick Roesler, vice president, handhelds division at HP. "The Messaging and Security Feature Pack for Windows Mobile 5.0 will be an important extension, enabling business customers to enjoy secure messaging, greater flexibility, and an even richer mobile experience."
According to the::unwired information, the Messaging and Security Feature Pack will be available from Q4-2005.
Cheers ~ Arne