Thanks to IBM Lotus Notes Traveler's support for Microsoft's ActiveSync protocol, e-mail, contacts and calendar data from Lotus Domino will "push," or synchronize over the air to the iPhone, helping corporate iPhone users get their messaging information in real-time.
This also means iPhone users will be able to work offline, and erase sensitive business data remotely if an iPhone is lost or stolen. iPhone users can also enjoy a corporate directory look-up feature, which helps them find contact information behind their company firewall.
IBM Lotus Notes Traveler 8.5.1 also includes remote wipe, device lock, password management, and external calendar integration for Nokia Symbian platform, which constitutes half of the world's smartphones. Traveler already provides all of these capabilities for Windows Mobile devices RIM Blackberry.
Native support is a big deal for corporate road warriors who need to keep a contiguous, real-time data loop of e-mail, calendar and contact communications with as little latency as possible.
Google Sept. 22 filled a big hole in its enterprise offerings when it released push mail support for Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and Windows Mobile-based smartphones in its Google Sync product.
IBM this week also made its Lotus Domino Designer 8.5.1 application development tools available free so programmers can build new business applications, ideally to help IBM get more traction for Notes and Domino.
Domino Designer enables Web developers, and even students and business analysts to write applications for business processes such as compliance, sales projections and project management.
These applications, which will let employees access business information through Notes and Domino without needing additional software, can work with other Lotus Domino applications, or on a Web browser, desktop computer or smartphone.
IBM is also changing the way it licenses Lotus Domino client software, offering two access licenses by functions instead of by client types. For the first time, software developers can download IBM Lotus Domino Designer from IBM's developerWorks tool site.
IBM intends no charge access to Domino Designer as an olive branch to programmers, which IBM hopes will ultimately lead to broader adoption of Lotus Notes and Domino applications across PCs, smartphones and Web browsers in corporations.
IBM can use the help. While it has sold 145 million Notes licenses, Microsoft is still the leading business e-mail application, entrenched in hundreds of millions of offices around the world.
IBM is also facing pressure from Google's Gmail, which is used by almost 2 million businesses. IBM returned fire on Google earlier this week when it started selling a Web-based version of Lotus Notes.