This week, Microsoft released a beta version of an intriguing new add-on
for Exchange Server-based Outlook users--a new Microsoft Outlook Mobile
Manager that promises to extend the reach of Microsoft's messaging
solutions to a wider range of mobile clients. The product integrates
with Outlook and Exchange to intelligently determine when to send
calendar entries, contacts, and tasks to mobile devices, such as
wireless-enabled Pocket PCs and cell phones. Users can set up filters
that will alert them when urgent messages arrive in their inboxes, even
when users are away from the computer. Outlook Mobile Manager works with
Outlook 2000, the upcoming Outlook 2002 (part of Office XP), and the
upcoming Microsoft Mobile Information 2001 Server (MIS) products. The
company will introduce the product this week at DEMO 2001, an annual
tech conference held in Phoenix.
"As an integral component of Microsoft's overall mobile strategy,
Mobile Manager and its parent product, Mobile Information 2001 Server,
will enable users to lead an efficient mobile lifestyle--bridging the
gap between access to information and control of the amount of
information received on a mobile device," says Paul Gross, senior vice
president of Microsoft's Mobility Group. "It is an honor that DEMO 2001
recognizes Microsoft's leadership and innovation in mobility as
showcased by Outlook Mobile Manager."
Outlok Mobile Manager offers customizable features, including
standalone functionality as a desktop application; integration with MIS
2001 to provide increased functionality, such as secure message
forwarding and advanced message formatting; control over Outlook-based
communications so users won't need to construct complex
message-forwarding rules; and Intellishrink, which uses text compression
technology to compress messages up to 30 percent. Microsoft Research
(MSR) developed many of the product's features; MSR worked on the
application's context sensing, automated learning and reasoning, natural
language processing, and customizable priority profile technology.
"The technology represented by Mobile Manager is just the start of
things," says Eric Horvitz, MSR's senior researcher and group manager.
"At MSR, we're developing ways to make our communication and software
applications more context-sensitive. We are creating systems that sense
the environment, user, and task, and that learn to recognize what is
important to users based on their preferences, priorities, and patterns
of usage. We're passionate about creating systems that put users in
control of their communications and that can continue to adapt by
learning from users in an elegant and easy-to-use way."
For more information and the free beta download, visit the Outlook
Mobile Manager Web site.