Sendmail Adds Calendaring, Scheduling

E-mail server software developer Sendmail Inc. is branching out into groupware with the addition of its Calendar Server.

E-mail server software developer Sendmail Inc. is branching out into groupware with the addition of its Calendar Server.

The product, targeted at enterprises and service providers, offers personal calendars and group schedules that users can access and manage from Web and wireless clients.

Calendar Server, which was announced last week, supports wireless access to appointments, tasks and contacts via Wireless Application Protocol and i-mode protocols. It also can synchronize appointments, tasks and contacts with Microsoft Corp.s Outlook e-mail clients.

It also allows users to view other users schedules to resolve date conflicts, updating information automatically to maintain appointments.

Calendaring and scheduling are the most widely used collaborative applications after e-mail, Sendmail officials said.

But Ron Meyers, manager of Lotus Notes systems for Anixter Corp., said most users dont take full advantage of calendaring and scheduling systems.

"Its perceived as difficult by a lot of users," said Meyers in Skokie, Ill. "In our company, there are only spots where its used. Typically a manager thats a power user will require his people to use it. But we dont require it across the whole enterprise."

Though not familiar with Sendmails calendar product, Meyers said the upcoming Notes Version 6 will include interface improvements that make calendaring and scheduling easier to use, which should increase use of the technology at Anixter.

"If you can get people to use it, thats the biggest battle," Meyers said. "If [Sendmail] makes their product easy to use, they ought to do well."

Sendmail, in Emeryville, Calif., has traditionally targeted customers looking for a scaled-down, more cost- effective e-mail system. Calendar Server adds more functionality for customers looking to expand beyond e-mail. It is the companys first move toward becoming a provider of broader collaboration and groupware software.

Sendmails Calendar Server is available now as part of the companys Integrated Mail Suite. The pricing is $2 per user per 1 million users, higher for fewer users and lower for more users.