Vodafone is launching a new service that from the beginning of next month will allow users to read corporate email and check appointments via Wap-enabled mobile phones or personal digital assistants.
The first of the new Vodafone OfficeLive services, the snappily-titled Vodafone OfficeLive Delivering Outlook Services, is based on Microsoft's Mobile Information Server and Microsoft Exchange.
Users can check any data within Microsoft Outlook, such as emails or Calendar functions, via a Wap 1.1-enabled handset.
Businesses can monitor use through reports on call duration, access and URL page views on a per user basis.
But users will still have to use PDAs rather than phones if they want to do anything more complicated than respond to email or browse appointments, Microsoft has admitted.
Adam Anger, lead business manager at Microsoft Mobile Devices, told vnunet.com: "More processing power will be needed for other applications, so users will need a pocket PC [or equivalent]."
As yet, the service only connects to Microsoft Outlook. Corporations running other software will have to write their own bridging software.
Analysts have previously said that Microsoft Mobile Information Server needs more development. Take-up could also be limited by the failure of corporates to upgrade their software and operating system to Windows 2000 and Exchange 2000.
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