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Hosted services come with unexpected benefits. Read about them here

You can do a lot of cool things with hosted Microsoft Exchange. Here are a few suggestions:

Set up accounts for meeting rooms. Each one will have its own calendar and you can see when they're free or busy. To book the room, just 'invite' it to the meeting like any other participant. No more double booking. You can do the same with pool cars and other shared resources.

If you use Microsoft Outlook 2003 to access hosted Exchange Server it will cache a copy of your diary, email archives and so on locally, so you have a copy available even if you are not online. This is really handy if you are going to a meeting by car and you need to check the details and address.

Exchange Server works well with Microsoft-powered PocketPCs and Smartphones but it is also compatible with Blackberry devices. Using hosted Exchange Server means that you don't have to buy a dedicated Blackberry server as well, although additional costs may be involved.

Email anywhere

With Hosted Exchange Server your local coffee shop or internet caf� can be an emergency backup office. If your office internet connection fails or you have a fire or burglary, you can set up anywhere that has an internet connection (maybe using a Wi-Fi hotspot) and still have access to your email and business information.

If you employ temporary staff or have rapid staff turnover, adding a new user to the system takes minutes and can be done online. As soon as they leave, you can delete the account. You only pay for the users you have in any given month. If you need to take on 40 temps for a big project, they can all have email addresses for as long as they need.

Change plans on the hop

Re-book a delayed flight at the airport using your PocketPC to email your travel agent or personal assistant.

Pick up your email at 30,000 feet using wireless networking and satellite internet connections on certain airliners. Or at zero feet if you're travelling on some trains which also have wireless internet connections.

Use the 'Plan a meeting' wizard in Outlook 2003 to find a time when all the invitees are free to attend. No need to ring them all up to check their diaries.

Many people still keep a desk diary and carry a portable one with them, relying on their secretary to co-ordinate the two and deal with any double bookings. With a compatible PocketPC or Smartphone, you can update your diary as soon as you make a new appointment and your secretary can see the changes as soon as you make them.

What next?

Hosted services case studies
Stories of how real businesses use hosted services

Microsoft's hosted services
Read about how you can get advanced email, diary management and more from Microsoft

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How to buy

If you've decided that hosted services are right for you, or just want information about a specific solution, contact one of these suppliers for more information:

- BT

- Cobweb

- Webfusion

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