MASTERKEY BLOG

You’ve got mail! (on your phone)

You’re on the road, disconnected from your e-mail, not up to date and missing all sorts of important e-mails. What do you do? Well, if you have a mobile phone you can ask someone at the office to sit with your inbox open and read you all your e-mails, or you can use a Push e-mail service.

Push e-mail eh? Tell me more!

Ok! Push e-mail boils down to this: as soon as someone sends you an e-mail, your phone downloads it and goes beep! or brrring! or something to let you know you have a new e-mail. Sounds a little too simple to be revolutionary right?

Well, what you save is the time needed to go through a laborious process of connecting your GPRS, dialing into your email server, downloading the emails if you have any and so on and so forth.

(This would be ‘pull e-mail’ – user initiated checking in with the e-mail server to pull any new e-mails off it and onto the phone.)

What you gain is the ability to read and respond to important emails straight away while traveling, and stay up to date on what’s happening back at the office.

Ok, and it works how?

For Push e-mail to work you need to have a service which will monitor your mail server for new email and ‘push’ them to your phone for you. The Blackberry phones which you can buy come with this service bundled for example.

If you don’t want to be tied to a blackberry phone, you can use various other services which have sprung up around push e-mail such as the Dubai based Productiva or a free service like emoze.

Still don’t understand, it works how?

Ok it boils down to this:

Pull e-mail
[Mail server] / *new mail* <--- user checks in --- [phone]. New emails downloaded.

Push e-mail
[Mail server] / *new mail* —- mail sent —-> [phone]. Phone beeps with new email.

Right, ok. Those services you mentioned, got a recommendation?

Blackberry


Well, I haven’t used a blackberry phone personally but from everything I hear they are pretty neat. The downside is that you will be tied to the blackberry phone, because right now the blackberry push e-mail works only with blackberry phones. However, there is some news floating around that pretty soon windows mobile 6 users will be able to use the blackberry push e-mail service on their phones too, so you may want to wait for that to happen.

Productiva

Daniel has tried the Productiva services so he can give you a good account of how that works for him. Leave a comment Daniel!

Free

For the free services, there are only two things to be worried about: security and how they work. Security wise you need to inform yourself about what happens with your e-mails in between them being taken off the mail server and sent to your phone, who has the rights to the emails, etc. If you are dealing with alot of sensitive information, you need to check up on these things beforehand.
emoze
How-it-works-wise, we will take emoze as an example. For emoze to function, you need to download a program from them and have it running on your home computer. The program will basically check your email from your computer, and then send it to your phone. Remember that secretary reading your emails to you which I mentioned? This is basically like that, which is a serviceable low cost solution if you care to leave your computer on 24 hours a day and you can have someone reboot it when the inevitable windows error strikes.

As always, use the all knowing power of Google to do some research.

Closing words?

Well Productiva had some interesting statistics (and i quote):

  • users can add upto 60 minutes of productive time to their workday (data from aberdeen group)
  • Increased productive time can total upto 6 weeks anually (an increase of 12.5% in productivity

So it may be worth it to you to find out some more. What it boils down to is this:

If you have sensitive information and need things to just work: you will need to pay for it. This means either a blackberry phone & their bundled service, or Productiva depending on how Daniel rates them.

If you just want access to your emails and you can handle the occasional glitch and down time, check out a free service like emoze.


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