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Direct Push Email - Why is it so good?


Here's a link to an article from someone who doesn't think Push email is such a good thing.
The article's main argument is that email can be so slow getting to your Inbox on the Exchange server that moving it a lightening speed from there to your mobile device doesn't really make email any quicker.

My experience is better than this.
Most of my emails arrive within a few minutes of being sent and Arrowmail's front-end servers are optimised to reduce delays, but saying that, a lot of potential delays are out of our control.
Still want Push after reading the article? I did.

Do you have a doorbell? Of course you do.
If you had an average of 20 visitors a day to your house and you didn't have a doorbell (and there was no other means for a visitor to make their presence known to you) you would have to keep opening your front door every half-hour, or so, to see if someone was waiting there.
A pain for you and an annoyance to your visitors. So they invented doorbells.

Always-on Broadband enabled the email "doorbell" for Desktop PCs.
With POP3 and IMAP accounts, email is not pushed to the Desktop, instead, the email program automatically checks for new mail every 10 minutes.
With Outlook linked to an Exchange server, new emails are pushed to Outlook as soon as they arrive at the server.

Mobile phones with the ability to read email have been around for, maybe, 5 years but it has always been a case of you deciding to make a data call to see if any new emails are waiting in your inbox and, if not, you've wasted your time, used up some battery and paid for a data call.
Mobile email needed a doorbell and a very long time ago (2001) Research In Motion (RIM) invented the Blackberry which did just that and they called it "Push Email".
RIM had the Push Email market all to themselves until early 2006 when Microsoft and a few others finally got their systems to work properly.
Microsoft calls their system Direct Push to differentiate it from other Push email systems.


Is Direct Push a Blackberry Killer?

Could be.
Direct Push is integrated into Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 3 and mobile devices talk directly to Exchange so there's no relaying of email through a third party system or any service charges to pay.

There are some complications setting up Direct Push on Exchange such as digital certificates and getting it to co-exist with OWA, OMA and Outlook Anywhere but nothing that can't be sorted out with a bit of persistence.
Setting up Direct Push on a mobile device is remarkably straightforward:-

1 -

Get a Windows Mobile 5 or Windows Mobile 6 SmartPhone, PocketPC or other mobile device

2 -

Get it connected to the Internet.

3 -

In the ActiveSync program on the mobile device, enter the Exchange server address, your username and password.

4 -

Enable notification events for new emails: an audible alert, flashing light or vibrate.

5 -

Set the hours and days of the week you want Push email to operate - "all the time" is a popular option to begin with, but after your first month's data bill arrives you may want to revisit this.

There's more details of how to setup Direct Push on a SmartPhone here.

Remember that Direct Push also pushes calendar changes.
As the article referred to at the start of this article asserts, if your work day involves moving from one appointment to the next, where the times are subject to constant re-scheduling, your secretary, with access to your calendar, can coordinate appointment changes which are then pushed to your mobile device.
This could be a fantastic aid to your productivity.

RIM has tailored the Blackberry for the corporate business market where data security is a big concern.
Microsoft hasn't missed this trick, and here are the security measures that can be enforced on the mobile device from Exchange:-


1 -

A mobile device can be forced to have a non-trivial power-on password.

2 -

Exchange can initiate a remote wipe of a mobile device which will erase all user data, extra programs and configuration info to set it back to it's factory state.
This would be invoked if the device was lost or stolen.
The device would obviously have to be turned on and connected to the Internet for it to receive it's self-destruct order.

3 -

Enter your password wrongly a set number of times and your Mobile device wipes itself - keep it away from the kids!
The following shows the security settings configuration screen in Exchange server:-


Direct Push security options  


RIM may well continue to innovate in order to remain a favourite of large companies, but the lower cost of Microsoft's Direct Push has opened up Push email to a wider market.

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