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The Future of E-Mail – Some Thoughts and an Outlook

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Electronic Mail, invented in the last century, has still its place in today’s business and private world. But one thing is for sure – E-Mail urgently requires an update in terms of functionality, compliance and security.

During the past 10 years, E-Mail evolved. It has nearly disappeared from private use for outbound communication, replaced by messengers and nobody really cares. However, did you notice that E-Mail has become your private archive for order confirmations, travel arrangements, electronic invoices and selected newsletters? From my point of view that is interesting and would it be too much to ask for more digital help with automated sorting, maintenance and backup of my archive? Gmail and Outlook (just two examples) have started supporting the management of the inbox and the archive to my liking. And there is more to come, for sure. Presorting inbound E-Mails, presenting them sorted by importance or action (paying invoices), building intelligent archives and connecting E-Mails with calendars, tasks etc. are more than welcome. However, E-Mail for private use will remain focused on inbound, rather on outbound.

E-Mail is still the number 1 communication tool for business. I spend lots of thoughts on this but must say that integration into the Office Suites and the advanced management possibilities are the main reason that more than 3,5 billions of E-Mail users send more than 250 billion E-Mails a day (these are appr. 70 E-Mails a day per user). Messengers have eaten into this sheer mass of communication, however they lack of integration and management and perhaps also on acceptance with existing businesses (see: Continental band WhatsApp). However, next generation of business people has arrived and they will see things different. The fight between E-Mail and all the fancy messengers will start soon (or has it already?) and it will be usability, integrity, integration and management which will bring the decision.

E-Mail nowadays is a huge monster – almost too big to fail. This makes it difficult to update, to integrate new basic functionality for security and sender authorization (to know exactly from whom the E-Mail arrived). The technologies all exist but the spead-out failed and fails due to incompatibilities or just fear that the recipient may not be able to open the sent message. GDPR adds pressure here to protect private data.

New add-ons will arrive. Security has developed, even nowadays. “E-Mail made in Germany” is a good example for the use of a secure network. However, sender authorization is missing, document integrity is missing, delivery audit trail is missing, track and trace is missing and finally – what happens if the recipient is outside the “E-Mail made in Germany” network?

We need somebody who puts all the puzzle pieces together creating new E-Mail that works with any recipient but providing added value. Some add-ons like RMail provide enhanced productivity and compliance (GDPR!) features as of now. Knowing who said what how to whom and when and all perfectly managed together with an auditable delivery proof is perfect for business use and key when integrity, transparency and trust matter.

Volker Sommerfeld
Volker Sommerfeld
Product Manager eServices and Head of Marketing Services, creator of unique links and flows between physical and digital worlds. Passionate about nature, photography, music and mountain bikes.

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