Exchange 2010 and Mobility
I’m an old Exchange administrator since the 5.0 days and a new version of Microsoft Exchange server is coming near you very soon. It brings a long list of new and enhanced features. This also carries over to mobility and is important for any enterprise Exchange administrator to understand in today’s very mobile world..
I will attempt to highlight some of the important mobile features I feel it brings to the enterprise table and reference places to find additional details and information. Please comment if you may have updated or additional interesting information!
Windows Mobile client Enhancements
Adam Glick has a great recap here:
Conversation View: If you use this feature in Outlook and OWA (Outlook Web Access), you already know that this is an easy way to track a conversation. Conversation treats multiple messages like a single conversation, allowing users to manage, move or delete multiple messages a whole vs. going through the string one-by-one. Free/Busy Look-up: Now you instantly know if your contacts are available for a last minute meeting or if they are on a call. Nickname Cache: This automatically populates a list of suggested emails based on recent messages, allowing users to email more quickly. SMS Sync: Send and receive SMS text messages from Outlook and OWA. Reply State: Icon indicates if you have already replied or forwarded an email. Installable Client: Upgrading to Exchange 2010 doesn't mean you have to update your phone. All of the latest features are available to users with a mobile device that has 6.1 or later. The updated Mobile Outlook software can be downloaded Over-The-Air (OTA).
(BTW, the interesting article that Adam refers to in the video interview on how to block unapproved mobile devices at the firewall with known user-agent strings is here: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2008/09/05/449757.aspx)
There is also the new feature where the nickname cache is shared with OWA, so you can quickly choose known recipients on your Windows Mobile device.
Windows Mobile Outlook Client
Mark Garcia has posted some great in-depth Windows Mobile screen comparisons where you can really see the enhancements described above: http://blogs.technet.com/ucedsg/archive/2009/05/31/what-is-new-with-exchange-server-2010-activesync-and-outlook-mobile.aspx
Another one that Mark highlighted but not in Adam’s list is the voice mail transcription feature. Added automatically in the body of the message. Where you can read your voicemails instead of listening to them..
Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) Changes
Andreas Helland posted some server screenshots from the Exchange 2010 beta where you can verify that the ActiveSync policy settings haven’t changed much since Exchange 2007 SP1:
Under the hood this is the new Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) features in Exchange 2010:
You can setup a single list to block/allow mobile devices as needed. You can also quarantine devices such as new untested devices, etc.
Block/Allow via approved device list:
- Approved by device type or by user
- Device type reported by the device
- Block an unsupported device
- E-mail sent
- Administrator approved
This will be a very interesting feature that I hope to dive deeper into later.
Over the Air (OTA) Update Mode:
You can now push new Outlook Mobile updates/new versions to Windows Mobile 6.1 and above. This is really nice since you no longer have to wait for a new Windows Mobile OS version to obtain a new version of Outlook Mobile.
The ability to send SMS text messages through Exchange and EAS is used to sync SMS message with user’s mobile device.
Benefits of SMS sync:
- User can use OWA, Outlook, and Outlook Mobile to respond
- SMS messages are backed up on the server
- Recipients can respond to messages
- User can switch “screens” while still seeing all their messages
IMAP/POP3 service discovery:
You can now autodiscover/autoconfigure the IMAP/POP3 settings from your mobile device by just specifying your email address.
Outlook Web Access (OWA)
Oliver Moazzezi describes some of the new OWA features:
Here I think it is important to note that OWA now offers full (so called Premium) support to Firefox 3.0 and Safari 3.0 browsers. So they have the same experience as users running Internet Explorer 7 or 8.
ActiveSync - Multi Platform Support
A powerful feature is that ActiveSync is being licensed and supported by more and more vendors. Some are being provided free with the devices, others are an additional license and software client. Most have not yet announced any support for Exchange 2010 and it is skimpy to find details on the specific support on certain ActiveSync features.
It appears so far that Exchange 2010 Beta 1 is compatible with iPhone 2.0 devices. See thread here.
I saw that DataVis is also selling an ActiveSync client for Android devices called RoadSync, but not sure to what extent it supports the ActiveSync features. It appears to be fairly basic and listed support for Exchange 2003 and Exchange 2007 at this time.
Found this interesting company who has created a software client called AstraSync: “AstraSync™ is a new software application for BlackBerry® Smartphones that performs two-way over-the-air synchronization of email, calendar and contact data with a Microsoft Exchange”. There are potential cost savings with this solution if you can forego the BES licenses!
It appears that the new Palm Pre device will not just support one ActiveSync profile but multiples. But little official documentation has been posted so far..
Microsoft has also opened up their Exchange Server protocol documentation and posted some of the ActiveSync and WebDAV under the Open Protocol Specifications as it relates to Exchange Server 2007 SP1: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc425499.aspx. Also see the PressPass announcement here.
MailTips for Office Outlook 2010
On a side note, another awesome client feature I think will be very useful for many organizations, however not available on the mobile devices, is this thing the product team has called “MailTips”. Basically it gives you information on the message you are sending while you are writing the e-mail before you click send and do something you may didn’t want to. Out Of Office, DL sizes, BCC warnings, over size limit, external recipients and more! Simply brilliant I think! Read some of the details here: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2009/04/28/451193.aspx
Exchange 2010 Beta Evaluation:
Exchange 2010 Tech Center:
What’s new in Exchange Server 2010:
Exchange Server Remote Connectivity Analyzer (ExRCA):
Exchange Product Team Blog:
Exchange 2010 Webcast series: