[email protected] is a no-cost hosted platform that provides e-mail and calendars with a 10GB inbox, 25GB of additional file storage, document sharing, instant messaging, video chat and mobile e-mail for students. The service also includes free Office Web Apps versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.
The lure of these free services often leads to campuswide agreements that also include fee-based services and licensed software for administration and faculty. More than 10,000 schools serving tens of millions of students are said to be using [email protected] worldwide.
A number of SUNY schools have already rolled out [email protected], and at least 70,000 of the system's 465,000 students are reportedly already using the service.
Monroe Community College, one of the system's largest schools with 19,000 students, was one of the first SUNY colleges to adopt [email protected] three years ago. The school estimates it will save $600,000 over five years by relying on Microsoft's services rather than provisioning less-extensive capabilities internally.
Within the next year, [email protected] is destined to be rolled into the vendor's consolidated Office 365 offering, which is billed as the company's next-generation cloud collaboration and productivity platform. As announced in October, core collaboration and communications capabilities will remain free to educational institutions, but the [email protected] services will be part of a more extensive and cohesive suite of online applications.