LotusLive iNotes – not your average webmail

Web-based e-mail: LotusLive iNotes

Whilst the service is not available just yet, details of the LotusLive iNotes offering are beginning to seep through:

What is LotusLive iNotes?

LotusLive iNotes e-mail is a business-class messaging solution for everyone in your organization. Remote employees, retail workers and anyone who doesn’t work behind a desk will appreciate the easy access to company e-mail. With web-based e-mail, all of your employees will have real-time e-mail access from a Web browser and Internet connection. In addition to a web-based interface, all e-mail accounts are enabled with POP, authenticated SMTP and IMAP capabilities for use with e-mail clients such as Lotus Notes or

Microsoft Outlook.

So, LotusLive iNotes is a SaaS email service for organisations (not consumers), typically accessed via the Web.  

It is worth re-emphasising at this point that this is *not* simply an online version of the Lotus iNotes web-mail that you may have used within your organisation on the past – there is no Domino server being accessed here.  Instead, this is a brand new cloud-based offering that is based on the OutBlaze technology that IBM acquired in January 2009.  Designed to be customisable and scalable well beyond the limits of the Domino-based infrastructure, this messaging backend is ideal for low-cost hosted email for the many smaller organisations out there.

Secondly, you will have noted from that description that this is not just your average webmail service – all accounts will be accessible via POP and IMAP, and mail can be sent via SMTP.  This opens the service up to organisations (or individual users) that wish to enable access via desktop clients (such as Outlook, Thunderbird, Mail.app, Entourage, Evolution and many others – both licensed and opensource/freeware), mobile clients (such as the iPhone, PalmPre, Android, Windows Mobile etc) or via Blackberry – client and OS choice is key here, and disconnected/mobile access is vital these days.  While Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) does also offer this functionality, many other cloud-based services do not.

Everything you need. Nothing you don’t.

LotusLive iNotes gives you the best of both worlds. It simplifies e-mail administration but still offers robust, flexible services. You’ll have access to all the essential messaging features – previously only found in desktop software – via the Web browser. You don’t need any special training – and there are no hardware, software or bandwidth costs to worry about, either. In just minutes you can issue e-mail accounts to your users, and easily manage member’s accounts.

What does this mean?  Well, “Calendaring with configurable event reminders and workday views” for starters. Again, this is a feature that is not available from many SaaS messaging solutions.

So, what are we missing right now? Well, there is no suggested availability date as yet, and also no published price – that will obviously be a key detail!  However, judging by the screenshots and details released so far, this is shaping up to be an interesting offering for organisations looking for a lower-cost SaaS messaging solution that still has real client choice at its heart and functionality to match many on-premise solutions.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!