Q&A with Bruno Morency of Return Path

Bruno Morency is a Director of Product Management at Return Path and the Founder of Context.IO.  We’re reaching out to several Inbox Love speakers to get their take on the email ecosystem and their predictions for the future.  Here’s Bruno!

1. You all are doing some awesome things in email with Context.io, Outlook.com support, etc, what are you most excited about these days?
There’s a lot to be excited about and it’s hard to pick just one. As a techie, I’d love to be talking about new features we’re working on, as well as improvements we’ve made to the platform…but the one thing that excites me the most is what people are building on top of Context.IO.

Not only did we see a pretty nice growth in usage over the past year with the volume of API calls and total email accounts up 8x and 6x respectively, but we had people pushing the boundary with use cases we didn’t expect. This forced us to quickly adapt to support these new customer needs, such as powering push notifications for some mobile email clients.

2. I see you’re speaking about Exchange at Inbox Love, any quick preview you can share about that session?
Exchange is something we often get asked about and I’ve been wanting to get Context.IO to support it natively for a long time (we currently only support it if IMAP is enabled on the Exchange server). That session will be a discussion focusing on Exchange Web Services (EWS), how it’s different compared to IMAP, both technically and with regard to the user-base. Apps integrating with email tend to start with Gmail, but there’s a huge world outside Gmail and lots of it is only accessible through EWS. For developers building business apps, you just can’t ignore those users.

3. Anyone you’re looking to connect with at Inbox Love?
Developers building applications that integrate with email data or helping users handle their email load are people we’d like to talk to. Also, developing strong relationships with email hosting services is something important for us so I hope to make those connections at Inbox Love.

4. Has there been any big news at Context.io that Inbox Lovers should know about?
The past year has been about integration within Return Path (who acquired us a year ago) and optimizing our infrastructure to deal with growth. That’s a lot of work, but most of its benefits will show over time in the form of performance and ability to grow. That said, we have two new engineers joining this month and the pace of new features will seriously pick up. Soon we’ll be able to announce the work we’ve been excited to ship for a while.

5. What will email look like in 2023?
The future of email, at least in my mind, will be about 2 key things:

1) The email client will fade away and we’ll interact with our email through tons of different specialized clients. Applications handling things like contact management, sales, customer relationships, documents, or productivity will be tightly connected to your account email account and you’ll spend as much time interacting with your email from these apps as you do with standard clients as we know them today.

2) It will rise as the default transport for system-to-system messaging. We’ve had this for years with calendar applications talking to each other through emails with ICS files attached to them. Gmail just started pushing that a step further with Quick Actions. Structured data parts, or microformats, for things like tasks, documents, workflow, shopping, promotions, and more  will be standard parts of emails. More often than not, systems or applications on the receiving end of that email will pick that up and act accordingly. A human reading the email and doing the tasks it’s meant to trigger will just be a fallback for cases where a special decision must be made or there’s no app to pick it up.

Thanks so much to Bruno Morency for his insight!  We’ll be back here next week with more insights from our speakers & sponsors.

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