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Wireless eMail

07/04/05 | by JAdP | Categories: Mobile and Wireless, TIA Life, Collaboration

I've been sending and receiving email "on the go" for well over five years. My solutions have always involved the PalmOS. I've never had to resort to a "redirector" from my desktop/laptop email client. There are a variety of approaches to mobile and wireless email. Daniel Taylor speaks to the solutions and ongoing problems in "Mobile e-mail solutions for small business".

Small businesses often have the edge here over large and even medium sized businesses. They can control the email service they use. Businesses that rely solely on using a Microsoft Exchange Server, or other proprietary collaboration server such as Lotus Notes, with that server located behind a firewall face the toughest challenge. The email services can be set up so that the proprietary collaboration server is only part of the package, with the standard protocols SMTP, POP3 and IMAP4 being part of the mix as well.

The first mobile email I had was way back in 1994 [pre-Palm] at Oracle using either Oracle Office Disconnected Client or Oracle Mobile Agents. Oralce's Collaboration Suite still serves up fully synchronized email to a wide variety of devices.

Synchronization for "casually connected" clients is also one, albeit asynchronous, solution, and even the earliest Palm software allowed synch'g your inbox, read, respond and compose offline, and synch again later. Not great if you want near "real time" information exchange.

The solution that I use now is the best I've ever had. In addition to our consulting services, we've started a hosting service, the TeleInterActive Networks. We provide IMAP4 email. This is great for multiple email clients from wireless connectivity to your favorite desktop email client, through in a laptop, and even webmail from a convenient Internet Café they are always synchronized through the IMAP server: inbox, sent email, even critical "saved" folders can all be sync'd. I can even get attachments and read them on my Palm.

Though this does get me back to a pet peeve of mine. Since email became the killer app for the Internet and is still the most used application, we've kludged everything possible onto it. eMail was never meant to send files and is not secure. Even today, email

  • attachments can't always be read,
  • take effort to remove from the email, if your email client can even do this
  • looses the chain of delivery when you do detach an attachment
  • is painful to encrypt or otherwise make secure, and thus,
  • is rarely used securely

There are far better collaboration tools than email. But I'm getting off topic. If you do want to use email wirelessly, take a look at the services that Dan cites to extend MS Exchange beyond the firewall. Or, consider a hosting service that will give you IMAP email with enough storage space to keep your current attachments to hand.

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1 comment

Daniel Taylor

Good points all the way around, especially the final bit about e-mail’s limitations as a collaboration tool.

I think the role of e-mail in mobile environments will change significantly when we have better ways of collaborating. A good example is calendar sharing in which the mobile e-mail component might be eliminated altogether if we had a way to share calendars with partners and colleagues on different Exchange (or Notes or whatever) servers.

Absent those tools, we revert to the least common denominator of e-mail.

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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