IPhone customers who use Lotus Notes at work won't be left out anymore with a new offering from Sybase iAnywhere.
Sybase iAnywhere is adding support for the iPhone in its Information Anywhere Suite, initially only for e-mail. That means that companies using Lotus Notes will be able to securely push e-mail messages to iPhone users in a way that is similar to a new Exchange iPhone offering and potentially more elegant than other existing options.
Apple recently announced that it plans to support Microsoft's ActiveSync technology in its second-generation iPhone software so that iPhone users can receive Exchange e-mail. But the announcement did not include a way for Lotus Notes users to receive e-mail on iPhones, so Sybase hopes to fill that gap.
IAnywhere also thinks companies that use Exchange e-mail will be interested in using its software to push e-mail out to iPhones, even after Apple's new iPhone software comes out in June.
"ActiveSync has some limitations that enterprises find, in some cases, not suitable to their environment," said Senthil Krishnapillai, director of product management for Sybase iAnywhere's mobile collaborations group. For example, ActiveSync opens Active Directory in a way that creates a security issue for some companies, he said. "Those enterprises may want to use our technology because we have a better model to secure the communications between the device and a server without compromising the firewall or other security policies in place," he said.
Information Anywhere contains a component that sits inside the enterprise firewall. Mobile device connections end there, so that IT managers don't have to open inbound communications ports to their messaging infrastructure. IAnywhere has enabled that proxy to support the iPhone coming in from outside of the firewall, either from the mobile network or Wi-Fi.
Using Information Anywhere, IT managers can also set policies that restrict attachments from iPhones.
Initially, the Information Anywhere Suite will only support e-mail for the iPhone. It synchs mail to the iPhone's e-mail client. In addition, the software suite will allow users to look up co-workers in their corporate directory and their contacts via the browser on the phone.
IAnywhere did not need the iPhone SDK (software development kit) that Apple recently released in beta in order to develop the capability, although it did receive guidance from Apple that helped ensure it was working in the right direction, Krishnapillai said.
In the future, iAnywhere expects to be able to support additional services for iPhones within the suite. "Now that the SDK is open, we'll be able to provide more features in the future," he said. That means device management capabilities should become available for iPhone users in the future, as well as the ability to access data from other corporate applications on the phone.
Users of iPhones and Lotus Notes have a couple of other options for getting e-mail on their phones. MartinScott Consulting offers WirelessMail for Domino, which lets users push their Notes e-mails to another account, such as a Yahoo or Gmail account. Users can view those e-mails in the iPhone client and send e-mails from the client that look like they come from the Notes account. Visto Mobile synchs Notes e-mail with the iPhone's e-mail client using IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), in a way that it says is secure for enterprises.
IAnywhere first announced in October that it planned to support the iPhone in the software suite. Support for the iPhone will become available at the end of March.
Information Anywhere supports Lotus Domino R6, 7 and 8 and Microsoft Exchange 2000, 2003 and 2007. Information Anywhere already can push data out to Windows Mobile, Symbian and Palm devices.