IBM Makes Lotus Notes Better On iPhone And BlackBerry

New Notes beta uses Microsoft ActiveSync to reach more devices

IBM has improved support for the iPhone and RIM Blackberry phones in the beta release of Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 groupware applications.

The beta, announced on 12 May, includes plans to support Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, and will extend Lotus Domino’s automatic synching capabilities for e-mail and calendaring tools to the iPhone.

“Providing Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support via the Lotus Notes Traveler software is part of IBM’s pledge to provide enterprises the choice and flexibility to select the mobile devices and carriers that best suit their needs,” Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president of Messaging and Collaboration products in the IBM Software Group, said in a statement. “This will allow employees ‘on the go’ to work smarter.”

“I look forward to [Lotus Notes] Exchange ActiveSync support. Johnson Controls’ health care and education industry customers use Apple platforms, and we’ve begun to officially provide application support on those,” Jim Marshall, director of Global Architecture for Johnson Controls, said in a statement. “Mobile messaging is considered a critical application.”

IBM officials said although iPhone users can already access Notes e-mail via the IBM Lotus iNotes ultralight client, the new ActiveSync support will mean push access to the popular software, including the ability to view Notes mail, calendar and contacts data when not connected on the iPhone. “I look forward to Exchange ActiveSync support because it will allow me to use my iPhone for Notes contacts and calendar offline,” said Professor Ludwig Nastansky at the University of Paderborn, in Paderborn, Germany.

The new beta version also incorporates Version 1.3 of IBM’s free Lotus Symphony document, spread sheet and presentation software, and brings IBM’s XPages developer technology to the Lotus Notes client for offline use.
IBM made its announcements at the DNUG (Deutsche Notes User Group) Customer Conference in Dusseldorf, Germany.

In recent months, leading mobile device producers such as Nokia and Samsung announced support for IBM Lotus Notes Traveler software, enabling more than a billion smartphone customers around the world to manage their Lotus Notes e-mail, calendars and address books any time, anywhere, IBM said. In addition, IBM has announced agreements with wireless carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and Orange to help meet the needs of an increasing wireless work force, the company said. IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1 will be required to support this capability.

Meanwhile, IBM announced a mobile version of Alloy, a product jointly developed with SAP that infuses business analytics with Lotus Notes, IBM officials said.

The new capability extends Alloy’s use out to the BlackBerry platform, enabling mobile access to reports and a variety of management approvals. Alloy connects IBM Lotus Notes software with SAP Business Suite to get people to the core of their business, IBM said. Alloy presents information and data from SAP applications in the context of the Lotus Notes collaboration software desktop.

Alloy supports workflows, reporting and analytics, and the use of roles from within the Lotus Notes client. The product ships with a set of standard workflows and reports. These standard elements may be customized using Lotus Domino to reflect a company’s unique processes. In addition, IBM Global Business Services, practitioners, Lotus Domino Business Partners and other global and regional systems integrators will be available to customize Alloy, IBM said. Alloy implementations will take advantage of the collaborative and offline capabilities inherent in Lotus Notes and Domino products.