Who's Driving the Demand for Mobile Email Services?

The appearance of Apple’s iPhone in late June might not have an immediate discernible effect on business email users. The version 1.0 iPhone isn’t really enterprise ready, and as Paul Robichaux points out in his recent commentaries (see “The iPhone and Exchange” and “The iPhone and Exchange, Part 2”), getting an iPhone to sync with an Exchange server takes some fiddling.

But for all its failings as a corporate messaging device, the iPhone signals a shift in business users’ expectations for mobile email services. A recent Gartner report speaks to this topic by confirming what many IT admins have suspected: The demand for wireless email services is about to explode. Gartner predicts that the number of wireless email users will increase from fewer than 20 million business users to more than 350 million business and consumer users by 2010, and that within the next three years, more than 20 percent of all email accounts will be wireless enabled.

Gartner sees the boundaries between mobile devices for business and personal use blurring. Employees and professionals increasingly want access to mobile email services outside of the enterprise, while businesses are feeling a growing pressure to give their employees real-time, mobile communications. Gartner also forecasts a longer-term convergence trend, wherein multiple messaging technologies will be integrated “into a single, technology-transparent and presence enabled messaging style,” says Monica Basso, a Gartner research vice president.

The point of the iPhone is not, perhaps, that it isn’t quite ready for business, at least not yet—but rather that business users are ready for a multimedia mobile device like the iPhone. It’s the end users you serve, from the executive suite on down, who are driving the need for mobile services—most notably email, but also access to business applications and the Web from their mobile devices. And as users’ mobile-technology awareness and demand for support surges, Exchange administrators will have their hands full with managing profiles, ensuring security, and monitoring and troubleshooting the components of the mobile service (e.g., Exchange, wireless carriers, the devices themselves). To help you get a handle on the challenges of managing your mobile Exchange users, take a look at the list of articles on topics related to Exchange and mobility at the end of this commentary. For more help, check out Brien Posey’s article, coming August 21, which came about in direct response to a reader’s request for more information about managing mobile messaging in Exchange 2007.

Thanks to the readers who have taken the time to email me your thoughts about the Perspectives commentary and Exchange & Outlook Pro VIP. Email me and tell me what mobile-messaging challenges you’re facing. Have a great month!

—Anne Grubb, Exchange & Outlook Pro VIP Editor

Articles About Exchange and Mobile Messaging

Articles About Mobile Technology

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