Distribute enterprise email using a variety of delivery methods

If you run a diverse business, you probably run a diverse email environment. A diverse environment means a potpourri of software packages, often with stopgap measures designed to let dissimilar mail systems communicate with one another. Infinite InterChange, from Infinite Technologies, is a complete remote-access electronic mail solution that can bring order to your company's email systems.

Infinite InterChange lets remote users access your company's email network over the Internet or a LAN using various methods. These methods include access from an Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) 4 client, such as pine on UNIX systems, and Post Office Protocol (POP) 3 clients, such as Qualcom's Eudora Pro running on Windows-based systems. You can even use software such as UP.Phone and Message Handling System (MHS) mailboxes as the message source.

Infinite InterChange includes an innovative Web interface that lets users read, respond to, compose, and manage their electronic mailboxes from any Web browser. This component, called WebMail, lets remote users use their browsers to point to the Infinite InterChange server to retrieve their email. You no longer need a special electronic mail application on remote computers, nor do you need to open up your network's firewall to pass traffic through non-Web IP ports.

Installing Infinite InterChange is not difficult. I installed the software on my Micronics-based home-built dual-Pentium II machine running Windows NT Server 4.0 in less than 5 minutes. The only reason installation took that long was because my test copy arrived on three disks rather than a CD-ROM. No reboot was necessary.

Because Infinite InterChange is a middleware layer between your users and their electronic mailboxes, it requires a large amount of time and administration knowledge to properly set up. The first step is to create your email interfaces. The software supports interfaces to Microsoft Exchange, ExpressIT!, Microsoft Mail File Format API (FFAPI), IMAP4 clients, Messaging API (MAPI) clients, POP3 clients, System Measurement Facility (SMF) and MHS systems, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) systems, and Lotus Notes and cc:Mail systems. Each email interface has configuration nuances, which means you need to be knowledgeable of at your company's email systems to set the proper parameters.

After configuring your email interfaces, you need to add users to Infinite InterChange's configuration so they can access their email. The software can import user lists from different sources (e.g., Exchange Server) to help reduce your workload. You can also individually register each user.

Another advanced feature I enjoyed is the product's rules-based system for processing email messages. You can create server-based rules that tell Infinite InterChange when to automatically forward messages, delete messages, change messages' status, and reply to messages. Rules contain include and exclude conditions that specify when Infinite InterChange is to apply these rules.

WebMail is a pleasure to use. After you log on with a username and password, Infinite InterChange retrieves your email and dynamically creates an HTML page to display your messages, as Screen 1 shows. All messages in your Inbox appear in an HTML table, and you can read a message by clicking the From column. You can also click one of seven icons at the top of the Web page to perform tasks, such as send a new message, review old messages, or customize WebMail's appearance and performance. When sending a message with WebMail, you have all the options found in a regular email program--you can send carbon copies, set message priority, maintain an address book, and use the spelling checker. When spell checking a document, the software automatically makes each misspelled word a hyperlink, so you can automatically correct the problem with a few clicks.

For such a powerful software product, Infinite InterChange is reasonably priced. A free trial version of the software is available at Infinite Technologies' Web site so you can try it before you buy it.

Infinite InterChange
Contact: Infinite Technologies * 410-363-1097
Web: http://www.infinitemail.com
Price: $349 (10 users); $599 (25 users)
System Requirements: Windows NT 4.0 or Windows 95, 4MB RAM, email system