Looking to keep abreast with the move towards the mobile-enabled workplace, Microsoft Australia has announced the first stage of its mobility strategy.
Mobile Information Server 2001, which integrates with Windows 2000 Server and .Net Enterprise Servers, aims to extend Microsoft Exchange Server information, corporate intranet applications and services to the mobile business user.
Harvey Sanchez, regional manager for Microsoft mobility, said the impetus for the solution for the software giant was extending its solutions into the mobile realm so users could have access to 'killer' mobile applications such as corporate e-mail, calender and messaging from anywhere and from any device.
The product, which is available now, has been in beta test at two customers' sites in Australia. The South Australian Government Innovation Centre developed the 'outpace' project using the software. The aim of the project was to deliver a solution that was capable of providing critical information to a minister anywhere at any time.
Merrill Lynch Australia has also been trialling the solution for the past three months. Chris Terry, infrastructure manger for Merrill Lynch, said about 20 users are using the service to browse e-mail and current market prices.
The IT department is also using the system as a mechanism to alert engineers to critical support issues during and after work hours.
NT systems manager Terry Irons said the biggest issue for the IT department during implementation had revolved around corporate policy on security issues. He said there had also been a few issues raised about how to enable external firewalls with the software.
Ross Dembecki, lead product manger for Microsoft Australia, said the server offers a secure gateway for mobile devices based on SSL, IPSec, Leased Line and PKI. Industry standards for WAP have also been integrated into the product and the solution is also SMS compatible.
To achieve its aim in the wireless market, Microsoft has teamed up with several mobile network operators such as Ericsson, Vodafone and Telstra which will be the first to offer services based on the server.
Dembecki said partnering was important and that the company was committed to developing relationships with Australian mobile network operators and partners to deliver customised applications and services.