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IBM Redefines Collaboration With New Lotus Notes and Domino Platform


Tuesday, January 23, 2007; 04:33 AM

IBM announced the planned availability of the IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus Domino 8 public Beta starting this February. This is the final beta phase before the product's target ship date of mid-2007, concluding the most collaborative software review program in Lotus' history.

Lotus Notes and Domino 8 expands the scope of the Lotus Notes work environment to include standards-based document editors, a Real Simple Syndication (RSS) editor and composite application support. Lotus Notes 8 customers can also easily link to other Lotus portfolio components such as social, collaborative content management, and unified communications software.

IBM has gathered thousands of feedback entries from customers via blogs and testing sessions such as the recording of keystroke and mouse movements based on a user's role. Input has poured in through IBM's Technology Adoption Program (TAP), a community of thousands of IBM employees and innovators worldwide who test new IBM technologies within a tightly managed feedback framework.

Significant email enhancements have been added to help increase productivity and avoid information overload. Features include "Recent Contacts" and "Message Recall." With Recent Contacts, users will get a one-click, dashboard view of recently sent emails and chats to quickly locate a key contact. The Message Recall feature will let users quickly recall an email message after it has been sent by mistake, saving a user from a potential conflict or miscommunication situation.

Additionally, Lotus is leveraging its collaboration roots to help users evolve from basic email to more significant collaboration activities. For example, with "Activities" from Lotus Connections, users can link to an application that organizes and shares email, instant messages, documents and many other items related to a particular activity or project into one logical unit, bridging the "silos" of traditional communication tools. Inspired by IBM researchers and developed by Lotus, Activities uses Web 2.0 technologies such as Backpack, Atom, Tagging, REST, Ajax and JSON to deliver a lightweight, web-based collaboration offering.

Activities is also core component in IBM Lotus Connections, Lotus' newly announced social software portfolio, empowering users to add structure to tasks that are informal and highly collaborative.

By offering a flexible work environment based on open standards, Lotus Notes 8 will also challenge the traditional desktop PC model. In Notes 8, customers will be able to use productivity editors that support the Open Document Format (ODF) at no additional cost, giving them access to crucial office tools without the cost of a separate license. With IBM Productivity Editors users can create, edit, and save a variety of documents in ODF format, including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents. The productivity editors also allow a user to import and export supported file formats used by Microsoft Office and Open Office file formats, edit those files and save them in either the original format or as ODF documents.

The inclusion of no-cost productivity editors in Lotus Notes 8 is an attractive proposition for IBM customers like Johnson Controls, a manufacturing and services company with nearly 70,000 notes clients and 65 mail servers around the world, currently testing the Beta version.

"We're looking for cost savings for those users who don't need the full suite that Microsoft offers. Because the suite of tools IBM offers is provided by the Notes client at no cost, we're hoping to save money," said Renate Tomesch, who handles global enterprise messaging for Johnson Controls. "There's always apprehension when it comes to thinking about switching from a major piece of software that is universally used, but productivity editors are compatible with our current Microsoft Office product and that's one of the driving forces to us to test the Beta version."

"We have completely reinvented business collaboration with Lotus Notes and Domino 8. Now businesses can be more effective with new capabilities of Lotus's tightly integrated collaboration features that can be tailored to meet their specific application needs," said Ken Bisconti, vice president of IBM Lotus.

Other highlights of IBM Notes and Domino 8 include the following:

--  Easier access to business critical applications: IBM Lotus Notes 8
    contains features that will help users more quickly find information
    contained in different applications so they can more completely "live and
    work" within Notes e-mail. The new standards-based architecture of Lotus
    Notes 8 will provide a fully integrated environment that puts commonly used
    applications such as spreadsheets, Lotus Notes, IM, at the users'
    fingertips. Unlike many other vendors' products, Lotus Notes 8 provides the
    ability to work offline in "disconnected" mode with email, the corporate
    directory, free time search, blogs or custom applications used during the
    business day.
--  The ability to run existing Lotus Notes applications in the new
    version of Lotus Notes and Domino without modification: Unlike some
    competitive products, Lotus Domino 8 will require no rip and replace
    upgrades, no forced migration and no need to purchase new hardware or
    upgrade the operating system. Lotus Domino has been designed to handle the
    compatibility of data from release to release consistently and to enable
    users of older versions of Notes to easily take advantage of Lotus Notes 8
--  Open standards and cross-platform support with a native look and feel:
    The Lotus Notes 8 client can run on many supported operating systems,
    including Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux. Based on the open
    Eclipse standard, Lotus Notes 8 has been designed to give users a native
    experience on each of the platforms. The Domino 8 server also runs on a
    wide variety of operating systems: Microsoft Windows, Linux, IBM AIX, Sun
    Solaris, IBM iSeries, IBM zSeries.
--  Improved capabilities of Domino 8 server: Domino 8 will provide
    administrators with new Lotus Notes 8 provisioning and many improved
    management capabilities. Also included are an improved out of office
    notification; better server efficiency by reducing both disk and CPU usage;
    extended Web services support; and the inclusion of a limited use license
    to IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator, which can be used to synchronize with
    Domino Directory in a multi-directory organization.
--  Composite applications that open the door to a whole new level of
    Lotus Notes development: By building Lotus Notes 8 on an Eclipse-based
    framework, developers and ISVs will be able to create Lotus Notes
    applications that link together multiple systems in ways they never could
    before to create useful enterprise mash-ups. For example, on a single
    screen developers could link a Domino based Sales application with a Human
    Resources system running on another platform.

John Head, Framework Manager for PSC Group, an award winning Lotus Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) builder said: "Using Lotus Notes 8, I can quickly tie different systems together without writing a lot of code. Because I'm in Lotus Notes 8, I also get unparalleled rich client functionality. There's nothing else on the market that provides that. I'm particularly excited about the new activities features, which represent a completely new approach to collaborative computing."

"Our development team has taken full advantage of the Eclipse-based architecture that Lotus Notes 8 is built upon. Its powerful, collaborative and activity-based sharing environment is the ideal platform for creating activities mash-ups that bring together elements of feed readers and instant messaging," said Scott Niesen of Attensa, an independent software vendor who participated in the design of the planned public beta.

A beta version of Lotus Notes 8 is currently planned to be made available to the public starting this February. For more information, visit: http://www.ibm.com/lotus/nd8

For more information on IBM's activities at Lotusphere 2007, access the company's online press kit at: www.ibm.com/press/lotusphere2007.



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