Fans of Notes personal digital assistants using EasySync may have something to cheer about.
Lotus' new version of EasySync, called EasySync Pro, is due out next month. It features a list of new capabilities. And later this year, EasySync may be able to synchronize to custom databases with the release of Domino Everyplace.
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EasySync is Lotus' wireless solution that permits Notes users to synchronize their e-mail, calendar, tasks, contact and memo information between their desktops and PDAs. The product has drawn a large following.
The new version, EasySync Pro, will include the simple personal information management synchronization support offered in EasySync, but it will also sport a more advanced filtering technology, said Ida Parisi, Lotus marketing manager for Mobile Notes/Domino Everyplace.
She said for users this means a clearer choice of what direction - upload/download - from which a user is going to synchronize. It also includes the ability to select separate data sources for receiving mail, such as pulling selectively from a separate address book.
Additional field mapping capabilities for better syncing from the desktop to the PDA will also be in the new release, she said.
Parisi said the Pro version includes an improved interface featuring clearer dialogue boxes that are more intuitive to the end user to get through the synchronization process. The new release will probably include support for some international versions of Notes but Parisi did not know which languages in particular.
These developments may be good news to Michael Lazar, owner of Illini Consulting Inc., an independent Domino administration consulting firm in Crystal Lake, Ill. One of Lazar's clients, a large pharmaceutical company, uses EasySync to keep its 1,400 sales people in the loop.
Lazar said overall he is satisfied with the product because "it does exactly what it's supposed to do." But he said the current version lacks flexibility.
"It does a decent job of syncing but users want more," he said. "We need to see support for Pocket PC devices," he said.
Roadblock to be lifted
That often-cited knock against Lotus' product that Lazar points out - support for only 3Com and IBM devices - may no longer be a roadblock. Parisi said EasySync Pro should support Win CE, certain pocket personal computers and ePockets.
Some surveys have shown that while the Palm is losing market share in both Europe and the United States, the pocket PC is gaining ground in both markets. So EasySync Pro's compatibility with other products may put Lotus on more even ground with some of its sync competitors such as Pylon Pro and IntelliSync.
Lazar said he also wished EasySync was able to sync to custom databases. For that, Parisi said, users may need to look to Domino Everyplace due out from Lotus in the second quarter of this year.
New tools due out
The Domino Everyplace Enterprise Suite will include the Domino Everyplace Sync Server permitting Mobile Notes users to synchronize data with the Domino server, and a set of tools to allow developers to use Domino Designer to create applications for WAP devices.
Parisi said companies that choose EasySync and Domino Everyplace will find some advantages.
"Domino Everyplace cuts down on training, and administrators already familiar with Domino Designer should have no trouble moving applications down to PDA devices," she said.
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