This new feature, enabled by the correct combination of Windows Mobile 5 (with the correct release level, also known as AKU2), and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 will allow enterprise IT departments and users of hosted Exchange accounts to manage their devices OTA (over-the-air).
Enabling the new Direct Push on Exchange Server 2003 SP2
The MSFP includes such features as direct push email, a new form of OTA email delivery that relies on cellular networks to delivery emals rapidly to mobile devices. It will provide access to GAL, and it will include a full set of management features, including device security options:
Security settings for mobile devices on Exchange Server 2003 SP2
You can access this dialog by opening the Exchange System Manager, expanding Global Settings and righ-clicking Mobile Services to open its properties. All checkboxes are self-explanatory, really,so I won't go and describe each item.
There is also some other features, such as remote wipe - where an IT person can send a command OTA to wipe the device's memory's contents. Very useful if one of the workers (your PHB example) forgets the mobile device in a cab on the way to the airport.
But this is not working yet. Why? Because there are a few missing pieces in this puzzle:
No Windows Mobile devices with MSFP in the market, yet. They are coming, we are told. Some are already testing AKU2, but the word from operators I talked to is "not before Q1 2006". But then we have to wait the operators to actually distribute the ROM updates to end users.
The remove wipe feature (and some other features) "require[s] the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Mobile Administration Web tool, one of a collection of Web tools that will be available in late 2005" (source).
So it's not only the Windows Mobile 5 AKU2, but also another piece of software that has not been released yet. Ok, so when is this ActiveSync Mobile Administration Web tool being released? No word.
All the hype about this, but every time one turns, a new piece is uncovered. As far as I can remember, Exchange Server Service Pack 2 and the AKU2 were all we needed. But now there is this new piece of functionality to be available.
Companies are preparing for a period of no IT changes, because of lower support resources available over the holiday season. Even if these software are released in the next two months, I can't see any company doing any work on this until Q2 2006.