Email has been around for some time and has helped all users in many ways, but not all email is the same. Many businesses are familiar with MAPI (Exchange), but there are other variants of email such as POP and IMAP. While all systems send/receive email, POP and IMAP have many limitations versus a MAPI connection.
The first version of POP mail was developed in 1984, updated to POP2 in 1985, and the most recent version POP3 in 1988. The reason POP mail was created was because computers at the time had slow internet connections. The idea was to offer a simple way to download the message for offline viewing because of the connection speed. When you read your emails using a POP connection, it creates a local copy of the message on the computer and deletes the original message from the server. At this point the email(s) are isolated to that one computer/machine and cannot be accessed anywhere else. Additionally, POP email checks the server for new email in polling intervals (15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.). These limitations prompted a new email connection to be created.
IMAP was created in 1986 with the major difference being that users could now view their messages from multiple devices. This was accomplished by leaving the messages on the email server until the user deleted the message(s). One major problem with connection type was mailbox storage size and when the limit was reached, the system prevented the user from sending/receiving new messages. At this point the user had to archive mail or POP the mail off the server down to their local machine to free up some space on the server. POP and IMAP both share the polling intervals to check for new email, thus creating the possibility of delaying a time sensitive email since it is dependent on the recipient's email polling interval.
Shortly after the development of POP and IMAP, Microsoft created MAPI (Exchange). This connection type allowed IMAP like connections not only for email but also for contacts, calendar events, tasks, and more. These additional features increased employee productivity in many ways. Calendar events reminded the user not only on their desktop, but also on a mobile device when configured. Sharing a calendar between users provided the ability for a receptionist to schedule appointments for an individual based on their availability. When entered into the system, a company's/user’s contacts (ie. vendors, clients, etc.) information would be available to the user on any device. Email delivery and other notifications are pushed using a MAPI connection. Push allowed new data on the server to be immediately pushed out to the user without delay.
The evolution of email has provided users more abilities than just sending/receiving emails. POP and IMAP connections are still popular today and are used with many free email services such as Yahoo.com and Gmail.com, and are even bundled in from some website providers when you purchase your domain. However, for most businesses the added features that an Exchange mailbox provides through a MAPI connection are a requirement to keep their business efficient and productive.
Viral-Technology recommends and offers an Exchange MAPI connection to all of our customers. With affordable options that are usually less than one user's business card costs for a year, even small organizations can utilize these services with technology from today. Contact us to discuss your options.