WAP Service Juggles All Messages

SAN FRANCISCO (05/24/2000) - You run your own business and need to keep track of your messages. But with three phone numbers, a fax machine, several e-mail accounts, and a Web-enabled phone, it's not easy.

Unified messaging services like OfficeDomain could have an answer. OfficeDomain Inc. yesterday launched a wireless service for wireless application protocol phones, personal digital assistants, and two-way pagers that lets you access voice mail, e-mail, pages, and faxes on mobile devices. The wireless service is free, just like MessageASAP, OfficeDomain's desktop unified messaging product.

The service lets you consolidate POP3 e-mail accounts, voice-mail in-boxes, and faxes, says Doug Pushard, president and chief executive of OfficeDomain. The company makes money on optional products, which come with a per-use charge, plus a monthly subscription fee that starts at $1, he says.

OfficeDomain's WAP service is available on AT&T Wireless and Sprint PCS Web phones, as well as the Nokia 9000 phone, Pushard says.

"There's no need to change your e-mail address, Internet service provider, or telephone number," Pushard says.

So, you can access your messages, but how easy will it be to read them on a WAP phone? One of OfficeDomain's optional services lets you forward e-mails to a local fax machine so you can print them out, Pushard says. Then you can reply to e-mail messages via either e-mail or fax.

Each voice-mail message has two hyperlinks. One automatically dials OfficeDomain's voice-mail system so you can listen to your message; the other link is an automatic redial.

With OfficeDomain's service, you can download a voice-mail message to your mobile phone and listen to it as if it were on the phone's own voice-mail system, Pushard says. "We automate the process so don't have to dial the numbers."

One Stop for Messages

To use OfficeDomain's wireless service on a WAP phone, simply type in WASAP on your phone's keypad to go to your in-box, Pushard says. You only have to enter a username and password the first time so the service registers your phone, he adds.

To use some of OfficeDomain's competitors, such as Onebox, you have to go to the service's Web site to get your messages, Pushard says. With MessageASAP, you can have your messages downloaded to Microsoft Outlook, Netscape Communicator, Act, Eudora, or a Palm, he says.

OfficeDomain doesn't yet support the Palm VII, but the service does work with Palm devices when you synchronize with Outlook.

Voice-mail messages retrieved on the PC, either in a desktop e-mail application or on the Internet, are saved as .wav or Real Audio files, Pushard says. Or you can call a toll-free number and listen to them, he adds.

Pagers and Palm devices don't support sound, so voice-mail messages retrieved on those devices show the name and number of the person who called you so you can call them back.

Typing in messages on a mobile phone isn't always easy, so OfficeDomain includes a handful of canned messages like "yes," "no," and "I'll call you later," Pushard says. "You can reply with a single keystroke," he explains.

With about 250,000 customers, OfficeDomain targets small offices, home offices, and individuals with its MessageASAP and wireless messaging services.

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