Lotus Expands Wireless Offerings in Sprint Deal

In an effort to move beyond the "one-trick pony" image of messaging services, Lotus Development is partnering with Sprint PCS to offer wireless applications through Sprint's new Wireless Web for Business service.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Lotus also plans to announce new portal offerings with an emphasis on knowledge management at its conference, Lotusphere, in Berlin next month.

This week's announcement of wireless access to Notes through Sprint PCS is expanding on Lotus' forte, said Amy Reuss Caton, senior brand marketing manager for Notes. The service provides Notes users with access to e-mail, calendar and corporate directories. But Lotus also hopes to link other applications to the wireless service so that traveling workers can access more information in the database.

"The [other] thing that people are particularly interested in is the apps piece," Ruess Caton said.

But Patrick Bodin, manager of research and development at Allied Automotive Group Inc. in Decatur, Ga., said he isn't waiting around for Lotus to create access to applications.

"I can do all my own database stuff," he said. Allied has used Mobile Notes for about six months with wireless technology from Veriprise Wireless Corp. in Alpharetta, Ga.

"We actually have already done all the links. We're not looking to Lotus to do it," Bodin said.

"What would be nice [is] if they had a tool to make [existing Lotus Notes databases] WAP-enabled easily," he said.

Generally, though, Bodin said, he, "is very happy," with the Mobile Notes Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) applications.

There is huge user demand for wireless among current Notes users, Reuss Caton said. Lotus is marketing the wireless service in conjunction with Sprint PCS primarily to current Notes users.

"They want wireless," Reuss Caton said. "This is an end-user type demand." The collaboration with Sprint does not, however, mean it is an exclusive deal.

The same Mobile Notes and Mobile Services for Domino technology also works with AT&T Corp. wireless services and could work with New York-based Verizon Communications cellular phones. Lotus, however, doesn't have any type of cooperative agreement with Verizon, so the user would have to set up the services independently.

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