Reliance Gets Bullish In Mobile Apps Space

by Ankush Sohoni    Jan 11, 2005

Reliance Infocomm recently launched its first enterprise offering, ‘Mobile Office’ - an offering that provides users mobile e-mail and directory services on all Java enabled Reliance handsets.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Mahesh Prasad, president - applications and solutions group, Reliance Infocomm, stated, “Not everyone in an enterprise gets a PDA. Similarly, a salesperson is not the only one on the move. Reliance’s objective was to provide easy access to corporate e-mail, without investing in a PDA or an expensive mobile device.”

“After all there has to be consolidation. A CIO is not going to decide to give every member of say a sales team a Blackberry. Simply put it is impractical,” added Prasad.

Targeted to meet the communication needs of enterprise users when they are away from their offices, it comprises of three applications -office mail, office DIR application, and group communication application.

According to Prasad, earlier e-mail was available on any phone with a substantial amount of data capabilities however; these instruments came at a cost and still do. “Our objective was to make e-mail available with any type of phone.”

Illustrating his view with an example he continued, “HDFC Bank, which uses our services allows employees to access their corporate e-mail through the RAP platform. The address and password are verified by HDFC Bank, and then the employee is given access.”

Mobile Office runs on top of the Reliance Application Platform (RAP), which eventually leads to reduced processing on the handset. Currently it is compatible with Microsoft Exchange server, Lotus Notes, etc.

While the solution offers all functionalities, why does it disallow opening of attachments?

Replies Prasad, “Research showed that most people who use mobile e-mail do not open attachments. It barely serves any purpose unless you own a PDA. Most people prefer forwarding the attachment to someone who will go through it (maybe a senior) and approve the same from a desktop.”

“We also support POP3 and IMAP interfaces, not to mention ISP provided e-mail, which can also be accessed. We have already pre-configured some of the most used ISPs,” explained Prasad.

A useful feature of the offering is the office directory that allows anyone belonging to a particular enterprise to get hold of an employee’s phone number or other details whenever access to such information is required.

It obviously needs verification of the person who is accessing the directory, but after verification, the person is granted access to the VPN of the company. Also available is the group communication facility in which the user can send an e-mail or attachment to a particular team or group.

Currently, enterprises can implement mobile office on their employee’s phones by paying Rs 49 per month per user until March 31 and Rs 99 per month per user after the above date.

While Mobile Office is aimed at making an enterprise user’s life much easier, the presence of competitors like Blackberry in the market could hamper its usage among enterprise users. However, it could be a viable option for companies, which are considering distribution of phones with data capabilities to the lower tier of enterprise employees.

Tags: Reliance