The battle for the potentially lucrative mobile email market intensified this morning with the launch by Vodafone of its EmailAnywhere service.
It came just a day after the announcement by O2 of its version of the same service, Extended Office, which will become commercially available next January. Vodafone, however, will be stealing a march on O2, as EmailAnywhere is available straightaway.
Both companies are primarily targeting the corporate market with the pitch that the services will reduce the need for office visits by enabling staff to access information when and where they need it. This, they claim, will reduce time in the office, lowering costs and raising productivity.
EmailAnywhere will give Vodafone customers access to office email at any time using a Wap handset, personal digital assistant (PDA) or laptop.
Commenting at the launch Paul O’Donovan, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, said: “Work patterns have changed dramatically over the past number of years, with more and more people requiring access to company email while away from the office. Enabling employees to have access to their email accounts will deliver immediately positive impacts on levels of customer service and employee productivity. This in turn will result in increased profits and lower total costs.”
O2’s Extended Office works by supplying the customer with a dedicated server along with Extended Office software, which creates an interface between the GPRS network and the company local area network.
The company says the key benefit of the service is that the customer does not have to browse or search for the latest email or calendar updates as the device is always up to date.
O2’s product director, Campbell Scott, said: “With Extended Office, customers can access their company information, such as email and attachments, by extending the capabilities for Pocket PC, Palm and SyncML services. It enhances the features offered by our existing Remote Access service. Another benefit is that it can be used with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus server. For users of PDA devices such as the xda from O2, full access to those critical company applications on the internet as well as viewing attachments on email will now be available.”
By Suzanne Byrne