Logistics company TNT is to provide up to 700 staff worldwide with mobile e-mail, using the Nokia Communicator 9500 smartphone as an alternative to laptop PCs.
The Communicator 9500 runs the Symbian operating system, and builds on the growing popularity among business users of Research In Motion’s Blackberry mobile mail client.
It allows end users to open e-mail attachments and includes a virtual private network client for accessing corporate systems.
Jim Flood, director at TNT Information System, said an initial trial in January 2005 involving 230 executives at TNT proved successful.
The company’s IT department was able to provide global roaming and GPRS data services for seamless internal
e-mail access across Lotus Notes and Microsoft Exchange. It had already developed directory synchronisation between the two
TNT is now planning to expand its smartphone deployment and add its travel approval system, built on Lotus Notes, onto the device.
One of the key lessons learned from the January trial is the need to treat the Communicator 9500 as fully supported IT hardware.
“As soon as the 9500 connects to the organisation it becomes part of IT. We established a [helpdesk] with people and processes to support it,” said Flood.
Phil Parkin, integration services manager at TNT, said that e-mail, calendar and contact address book synchronisation via the Communicator 9500 was achieved using IBM Websphere EveryPlace Access, running on HP Windows servers. User authentication occurred on a Linux server running IBM Websphere Connection Manager.