Information Technology Plc, ITL of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, is preparing to market the research it has carried out for the UK government’s Inter-Departmental Electronic Mail, IDEM, project in the form of four systems packages, which are claimed to beat the pants of IBM’s ‘insubstantial’ X400 announcements at the Hanover Fair. ITL sees X400 as the first and nearest fully-fledged Open Systems standard to date. It claims its new products, expected to be marketed from July, will also fill the gap left by the European public telecommunications authorities – including British Telecom – that are late in getting their public X400 message handling services under way. Heading the list of products is a private message handling service enabling messages to be routed between personal computers or asynchronous terminals using the CCITT-recommended P1 protocol for local message exchange, providing a user agent environment as well so that such devices can also link with non-X400-compatible devices. There is a package enabling autonomous regions to connect together, building their own message handling service: it is likely to be UKP200 per user and can link to Ethernet, Oslan, ITL’s broadband networks and Token Ring networks. A P1 gateway package for users of mainframe systems with proprietary electronic mail services such as IBM Profs or DisOSS enables them to link them to external services such as British Telecom’s delayed Message Handling Service. And there is a Unix V.2-based office systems product, which conforms to the System V Interface Definition, aimed at organisations with many small offices to connect.
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