Apple iPhone customers who use Lotus Notes at work won't be left out any more with new software from Sybase iAnywhere.
Sybase is adding iPhone support to its Information Anywhere Suite before the end of this month. Initially the support will only for email. However, that will be enough for companies using Lotus Notes to securely push email messages to iPhone users, in a maner similar to new Exchange iPhone technology.
While Apple recently announced support for Microsoft's ActiveSync technology in its second-generation iPhone software, it said nothing about Lotus Notes users. So Sybase hopes to fill that gap.
Users of iPhones and Lotus Notes do have a couple of other options for getting email on their phones. MartinScott Consulting offers WirelessMail for Domino, which lets users push their Notes emails to the iPhone via another account, such as a Yahoo or Gmail account. Visto Mobile syncs Notes email with the iPhone's email client using IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) in a manner it says is secure for enterprises.
However, Sybase believes its product is more elegant than those options. And the company argues businesses using Exchange email will be interested in using its software to push email 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. IT managers can also set policies that restrict attachments from iPhones.
The Information Anywhere Suite syncs mail to the iPhone's email 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 to ensure it was working in the right direction.
"Now that the SDK is open, we'll be able to provide more features in the future," Krishnapillai 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.
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.