Communication is an important part of our daily work life and really evolved over the years. From sending telegrams and letters to calling colleagues with telephone and sending papers by fax. Our communication methods have changed rapidly over the last 100 years. Currently, we mainly use the following tools for communication:
E-mail was invented ca 1993. This was long before I joined the workforce because I was only 12 years old at the time. I can only imagine what an impact the introduction of e-mail made in the business world. Being able to send a digital letter? Send it to anywhere and everywhere in the world? The recipient even received the message within seconds! Quite the change from the phone or fax. This was also the start of the decline of personal contact between people, because what’s easier than sending an e-mail instead of calling or talking in person to a colleague?
Although 1993 has been more than 20 years ago, e-mail is still a very popular means of communication, and I don’t believe that the end is in sight. You still receive e-mail notifications for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Not to mention the updates from sites such as Groupon! I receive many e-mails every day. We still have a long relationship with e-mail ahead of us.
In this post I am not going to talk about the e-mail clients for all the mobile devices and tablets but I would like to talk a about the new Outlook Web Access (OWA) App for the iPad! Microsoft released the App in the summer of 2013. Although the out-of-the-box e-mail and agenda App for the iPad does the job most people would prefer to use the Outlook client they work with every day. The first thing you notice is the great design:
I really like the clean look & feel of the App by the use of the light colors. It’s very easy to reply to an e-mail:
You can only attach pictures in the e-mail because you aren’t able to store documents on the local iPad hard drive. This is a common issue with the iPad. Unfortunately there isn’t an integration with the SkyDrive (Pro) App to add documents. Hopefully this is included in a future update. The OWA App is full of little nifty features, one of these is focusing on the e-mails and removing the left panel. Just click on the icon with the glasses:
You can use the arrows to browse through your e-mails. The full width of the screen of the iPad is being used.
The App doesn’t only support e-mail but you are also able to access your calendar and contact list. Just click on the three blocks on the bottom left side of the screen:
As mentioned in the previous post the large icons are great. Especially for men 😉 Let’s take a quick look at People:
All the contact details per colleague are shown and you can immediately send an e-mail to your colleague or create a meeting request. Just use the two icons under the job title. Talking about meetings, the calendar is also present and it’s, no surprise, really easy to create a new meeting request. All the features you expect are present: add a meeting room, invite colleagues, check the schedule and create an online meeting. Another cleaver feature appears when you type the name of a colleague:
The App is nice enough to give you a suggestion with a profile picture. Love it! Can’t get enough? One more! The App also supports basic voice commands. For example, you can ask your cute little iPad Mini to search for a keyword within your e-mails:
“Search for Marketing”
What about the Surface RT? For starters, you don’t need to use that awful Windows 8 mail App anymore because the Office 2013 suite is extended with Outlook 2013. That’s very good news for Surface RT owners. Thank you Microsoft.
Office 365 supports e-mail for all your mobile devices and tablets. Every device has an out-of-the-box App for sending and receiving e-mails. Although these Apps are sufficient to work with e-mail, I really like Microsoft’s strategy for providing you with an alternative. The OWA App for the iPad is great! The design is clean, the usability is perfect, all the e-mail features you expect are there and it’s even extended with your contact list and calendar. For people out there who really insist on working with the full blown Outlook client, the Surface should be your pick.
Part 3 - Collaborating on Team Documents