WW-166 -- Push mail phones - Finally picking up in Japan?

J@pan Inc presents the Wireless Watch Newsletter:

W I R E L E S S W A T C H

Commentary on the Business of Wireless in Japan

Issue No. 166
Friday, September 7, 2007
Tokyo

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Push Mail Services – Finally picking up in Japan?

The mobile corporate market is still underdeveloped in comparison
with overseas. Most employees still use their own private phone
and get their business calls reimbursed – a time consuming
exercise at the end of every month. Besides voice calls, business
users have a high demand to access their corporate mails and
agenda. The easiest way to get access to corporate mail is to
forward all incoming e-mails to your mobile phone or use a
POP-mail service that can be access through the mobile phone
browser. These methods are not secure and the mobile and
corporate mails are not synchronized.

DoCoMo introduced the BlackBerry in 2006 aimed at multinational
companies that already use the service in their overseas offices.
The BlackBerry is only available for the enterprise market. At
this moment there is only one device, the 8707h with a Japanese
user interface. DoCoMo provides the BlackBerry enterprise server
that integrates with corporate mail servers like Microsoft
Exchange and IBM Lotus Domino for secure access to e-mail.
DoCoMo sees the BlackBerry as a cash cow creaming only the top
of the market – flat data rates do not apply and hefty roaming
data fees are charged to the bankers visiting Tokyo. We often see
non-Japanese professionals using the BlackBerry in the Kamiyacho,
Akasaka, and Otemachi districts where many financial foreign
institutions are located.

Another player in the push-mail market is Visto who works with
SoftBank. The company does not sell its own phone like Research
In Motion does with the BlackBerry – it provides a client to
install on the end-user’s phone of choice, and a server that
connects to the customer’s mail server securely behind the
corporation’s firewall. Visto launched the first real-time push
service supporting Japanese language in 2005 under the Vodafone
Office Mail brand, and the service was re-branded SoftBank
Wireless Assistant in 2006. In August, Visto announced a new
service in a tie-up with PTS Consulting. ‘Mobile carriers often
lack the IT expertise to setup the push mail services and PTS
Consulting, our service partner, has this expertise. We will
first target the foreign enterprise market where there is still a
lot of low hanging fruit, and then move more and more into
Japanese enterprises as awareness of these types of services
expand in the market’, according to Darren McKellin. The Visto
service with PTS is available on the Nokia E61 and N73 devices
from Vodafone, and the recently launched Windows Mobile 5 phones
from HTC that run on the DoCoMo and Softbank networks. ‘Flat data
rate plans are available for all devices we support, and,
contrary to the BlackBerry service architecture, no customer data
or credentials are stored on servers outside the enterprise’s
firewalls’, says McKellin.

The push mail market in Japan is clearly underdeveloped. Until
now the lack of devices and lack of expertise to setup the
services were the bottlenecks. The new Visto service with PTS
tackles both issues. ‘Japan is a huge, untapped market for
real-time push-mail services, I expect a few million corporate
push mail users within 2 years in Japan’, says Visto’s McKellin
optimistically. Stay tuned and wait for our push mails to arrive.

By Arjen Van Blokland

To comment on this newsletter please visit the website version of
the article at www.japaninc.com/ww166

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Comments

Commenting about VISTO technology your newsletter stated

"...and, contrary to the BlackBerry service architecture, no customer data or credentials are stored on servers outside the enterprise’s firewalls’, says McKellin. ..."

I don't know of any customer data or credentials stored on servers outside the enterprise firewalls unless the BES is out there in limbo-land. Seems to me that the Blackberry architecture does NOT place anything outside the enterprise fire wall or DMZ. Maybe I'm mistaken?/??

Whaddya think?

OTOH - Seems like DoCoMo will miss out on golden opportunity to be the PUSH EMAIL provider in Japan - - the current range of Blackberry products could be a gold mine in Japan. Of course this goes counter to what an executive from DoCoMo told me some four years aga - " you will never see Blackberry in Japan".

Cheers

There is good news and bad news. The good news was that I could read your article on my blackberry in Japan. The bad news was that I was unable to post a comment using it. There are a bunch of other homepages that my blackberry can't really handle, either (eg alc). how difficult could it be to do things like this? (how difficult would it be to install a real Japanese language input function... but don't let me start on that)

Push mail seems to be the way of the future. They guy from Microsoft, Mr. Saburi showed how Windows Vista Mobile is fully functional with Japanese. Maybe there will be some competition to the Blackberry after all.

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