Forget the industry hype; mobile data remains a low priority for most IT departments. That is the surprisingly frank view of Geoffrey Baird, CEO of Commtag, a ‘push’ engine developer based in the heart of the UK’s mobile data industry.
But there is a self-serving angle to his realism. “Our vision is to make mobile data simple,” he says. “It is not at the top of the list for IT people, it is just something that
they think is nice to have. At the very least, it must be easy to use so that IT departments don’t waste time and money on it.”
And that is where Commtag comes in. The company’s software aims to improve the usability of email, still the mobile data sector’s only true ‘killer application’. Its product for corporate users, called Duality Enterprise, is the only device-agnostic, always-on email application, claims Baird. The target user groups are business people who feel compelled to stay in constant touch with their clients and partners, including lawyers, consultants and investment bankers.
The software sits behind the corporate firewall and works by truncating and encrypting messages before forwarding them to a hosted secure relay server, which automatically pushes the message through in real time to the user’s smartphone or handheld computer.
All user actions, such as message deletion, are replicated on the office PC. Unlike proprietary alternatives, Duality users are able to use the capabilities of their device to receive rich attachments, including Microsoft PowerPoint files, JPEG and MPEG images and Adobe Acrobat document files, as well as plain-text emails.
The software costs £2,850 for a 10-user licence and is compatible with Microsoft Exchange/Outlook and IBM Lotus Domino/Notes email packages as well as Microsoft Smartphone, Palm OS and Symbian operating systems on client devices.
In the next 18 months or so, Commtag plans to begin licensing its application programming interfaces (APIs) to developers. At that point, says Baird, the company’s ‘push’ engine will cross the threshold into the increasingly significant mobile middleware market.