IBM has launched an iPhone-specific version of the company's popular Lotus Notes collaboration software. Called Lotus iNotes ultralite, the free download gives mobile business users the ability to securely connect to Lotus Notes and Domino e-mail accounts.
Jason Michels, who manages the e-mail network for Wisconsin-based Aurora Health Care, said his organization is rethinking its mobile strategy now that a light version of Lotus Notes is available for Apple's iPhone.
"Lotus iNotes ultralite simplifies the way we transfer e-mail and calendar information to cellular phones, which could save us a lot of trouble and money," Michels said. "It's possible we'll see a lot of people with iPhones around here because of this."
However, the iPhone still has a long way to go before Apple can claim a significant amount of officially sanctioned enterprise traction, noted Gartner Research Director Carolina Milanesi. "On the iPhone side we have seen some interest in the enterprise, but more as a back-of-the-door device," she said.
iNotes is designed to deliver a day-at-a-glance calendar, together with basic mail and contacts capabilities. To avoid additional memory demands on the iPhone, iNotes is browser-based, IBM said. iPhone users will access Lotus e-mail accounts through an interface on the device's Safari Web browser.
An active content filter embedded in iNotes is designed to reduce the risk of users encountering dangerous scripts. And the program's browser cache management stores the user-interface components without retaining personal information, IBM said.
Enterprises deploying the software on iPhones can further boost the security of corporate data by deploying IBM's Lotus Mobile Connect virtual private network application. IBM has also unleashed new software called Lotus Protector for Mail Security, which shields enterprise systems and users from Internet spam and viruses.
Lotus Protector for Mail Security, which features a high-performance engine equipped with scanning and filtering techniques, also secures company data from unauthorized access. Additionally, the security software has a sophisticated rules engine that administrators can use to block incoming and outgoing content.
Since e-mail is the most commonly used mobile Internet application, iNotes is a significant contribution toward improving next-generation Internet offerings. However, researchers say the industry needs to do much more to make the mobile Internet experience satisfying.
In a recent survey of nearly 700 IBM consumers in the U.S., Japan, India, China and Germany, the IBM Institute for Business Value found that only 20 percent of mobile-device customers were "very satisfied" with Internet services. The remaining 80 percent were split among somewhat satisfied (40 percent), somewhat dissatisfied (12 percent), not satisfied (5 percent), and nonusers (23 percent).
Still, IBM forecasts that mobile Internet users will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24 percent to reach one billion by 2011. "Market forces shaping this growth include a greater number of devices that can support mobile Internet applications," IBM researchers Sean Lafferty, Sungyoul Lee and Christian Seider said.