Sendmail Tries to Help Mobile Workers

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Eyeing the market of mobile workers that spend little time behind desks, Emeryville, Calif.-based Sendmail Tuesday joined forces with Hewlett-Packard and Intel to push a Linux-based mail solution for corporate email infrastructures. Eyeing the market of mobile workers that spend little time behind desks, Sendmail is joining forces with Hewlett-Packard and Intel to push a Linux-based mail solution for corporate email infrastructures.

Noting that "deskless" mobile workers represent more than half of all employees in a typical enterprise, Sendmail said many organizations have found it too costly and complex to equip deskless workers with email capabilities.

"Enterprises are looking for less expensive email seats, and service providers are looking to increase their revenue by offering additional services," said Joyce Graff, vice president and research director for Gartner. "These two pressures are moving the enterprise and Internet mail markets together into a single messaging market that servers enterprises, extended enterprises, extranets and service providers with standards-based messaging decoupled from other collaboration support functions."

Targeting that opportunity, Sendmail turned to SuSE Linux's new Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) edition of its Enterprise Server, powered by UnitedLinux, to support a new policy-based corporate wireless email solution. Unveiled in April, the CGL edition is intended to support organizations in deploying products and services on a standards-based modular communications platform.

The product, Workforce Mail, targets hospital nurses, field service staff, warehouse/store managers and delivery personnel, allowing them to use kiosks or wireless access devices to communicate with company headquarters, human resources and other departments.

"Providing email to deskless workers enables the organization to speak to all employees at the same time with a consistent voice," said Mark Levitt, vice president of Collaborative Computing at IDC. "Deskless workers feel more connected to the organization because they know what's happening, which tends to improve morale and employee satisfaction."

Sendmail seeks to tackle Microsoft and IBM with Workforce Mail, noting that their respective Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes products are cost-prohibitive for organizations with deskless workforces that can number tens of thousands of users. To extend Microsoft's and IBM's collaboration tools to deskless workers requires deployment of additional server hardware, Sendmail noted, as well as increased deployment, maintenance and administration costs. This is on top of the cost per seat. For example, Microsoft Exchange goes for $67 per seat, the company said. Sendmail's Workforce Mail, on the other hand, clocks in at $8.50 per seat.

The product extends corporate email policy to deskless workers, giving organizations the ability to manage risk more effectively. Sendmail said the system can even be set up to permit business-only usage.

But deploying it doesn't mean scrapping existing collaboration systems. The company noted that Workforce Mail uses Sendmail Directory Server to provide seamless integration with systems like GroupWise, Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes. In addition, Sendmail Directory Server is available on Intel's Itanium2, providing scalability for large-scale workforces.

Workforce Mail is packaged with content management software as well as anti-spam and anti-virus components, in addition to the policy enforcement filters. It is integrated with HP's ProLiant servers and Intel's new Centrino wireless platform.

This article was originally published on May 14, 2003
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