In a package aimed to mobilize small-business employees, Verizon Wireless has packaged a version of the Microsoft Office 365 online office suite to run on its own cellular services, pricing the service at US$6 per user per month.
Verizon is pitching the service primarily to companies with up to 50 employees. The service, part of Verizon Wireless' Small Business Essentials portfolio, could be advantageous for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) given that it can scale quickly as new employees are added, said Michael Schaefer, Verizon Wireless' executive director for Wireless Business Solutions, in a statement.
End users can access the services using mobile browsers in Apple iPhones, BlackBerries, Android devices and Windows phones. The service synchronizes user documents across different devices, laptops, tablets and PCs.
With Office Web Apps, users can view and make light edits to documents in the Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote formats. SharePoint Online provides the tools to set up a basic website as well as collaborate on documents. Exchange Online provides hosted email (up to 25GB per mailbox), calendar and contact synchronization. Lync Online provides audio and video conferencing, a notification table of which employees are online, as well as the ability for users to make PC-to-PC audio and video calling.
In addition to the services provided by Microsoft, Verizon adds some of its own functionality. For instance, should a mobile device be lost or stolen, the data can be either locked or deleted entirely. And once connected to Office 365, a new device will automatically be updated with the user's email, contacts and calendar data. Verizon is stressing the service's reliability when run over the company's 4G LTE network.
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