Domino, Notes headed towards greater mobility

Users of Lotus Development's Notes groupware are expected to have a range of additional mobile capabilities soon, including the ability to receive and send messages via handheld devices, company officials announced yesterday at the DemoMobile 99 show in San Diego.

The company was demonstrating the beta version of Mobile Services for Domino, a wireless, server-based application due out early in the third quarter, as well as EasySync 3.0, a mobile synchronisation tool for R5, the nickname for Notes version 5.0. The latest version of EasySync should ship within 30 days and will cost $US68, according to the officials.

"We are committed to this big time," Rob Ingram, a senior product manager in Lotus' mobile communications group said in an interview today regarding the company's latest push into the mobile market. "We see it as a natural extension of what we've been doing."

Mobile Services for Domino remains in beta mostly so that European customers can test the software with GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) networks, he said. The application allows Domino messaging and collaboration functions to work with all major handheld and wireless devices, and with wireless data networks. Remote access to Domino servers is designed to let mobile workers check and respond to e-mail, view calendar entries and find telephone numbers and the like on the public directory portion of the database.

Users also will be able to tailor existing Domino applications for mobile use. For instance, messages can be sent to a remote employee through a pager or cell phone when they need to be alerted to a problem, with the worker having the ability to respond directly to a customer.

As for EasySync 3.0, the application is intended to allow Notes users to synchronise e-mail, calendar, task lists and contact and memo information from the company servers to handheld and mobile devices, including personal digital assistants.

"We're moving into applications with these products," Ingram said, adding that the company is focusing on accommodating the different capabilities of various mobile devices, some of which offer local storage and others of which are simpler and slimmer. "The exciting part is that we've taken the Notes client and squeezed it down to those devices."

Pricing for Mobile Services for Domino has not yet been set.


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