IBM Looks To Filter Noise From Social Networks

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With Project Vulcan, IBM is looking to filter out the noise associated with social networking across the IBM Lotus messaging and collaboration portfolio

IBM has said it is working on a new effort to add social analytics to its Lotus collaboration software portolio to help business weeks filter out some of the noise in their social networks.

Dubbed Project Vulcan, the initiative will appear in a developer environment beta in the second half of 2010 from LotusLive Labs, a new research effort that company plans to open to partners to propel IBM’s cloud computing efforts for collaboration.

Vulcan was unveiled at Lotusphere 2010 by new IBM Lotus general manager Alistair Rennie, who provided very few specific details about the effort. Social analytics created under the aegis of this environment will be used to offer workers recommendations for expertise, relevant content and business events.

Given this context, Vulcan may be taking a page out of popular consumer social networks such as Facebook or MySpace, which offer users personalised recommendations based on their behavior within the network and their interactions with friends and contacts.

Vulcan also recalls emerging technologies in enterprise social networking from companies such as Radian6, Mzinga, Attensity, Socialcast and Jive Software, which just acquired Filtrbox to help knowledge workers drill down into relevant themes and communication for insight that cuts through the clutter in the social cloud.

“Vulcan is designed to deliver an incredibly elegant user experience by bringing together all sorts of different services,” Rennie told eWEEK during a question and answer session after the announcement. Vulcan will also boast a strong mobile component, leveraging business users’ location info.

Vulcan will stitch loosely-coupled services together, leveraging IBM xPages, HTML5 and RESTful APIs, and allow users to take action on events in multiple Lotus applications with a single click.

Technologies that evolve from Project Vulcan will seep into IBM’s Lotus portfolio, including LotusLive, Lotus Notes and Domino, Lotus Connections, Quickr and WebSphere Portal.

There are other effort fomenting in IBM’s new LotusLive Labs. Rennie announced Project Concord, a new Web-based document editor to let several users create documents, presentations and spreadsheets together and share them. Concord, essentially a cloud-based version of IBM Lotus Symphony, will appear in the second quarter this year.

Other LotusLive Labs efforts include Slide Library, a new way to build and share presentations; Collaborative Recorded Meetings, a service that records and instantly transcribes meeting presentations and audio/video for searching and tagging; Event Maps, which lets users visualize and interact with conference schedules; and Composer, a tool to let programmers create LotusLive mashups through LotusLive services.

IBM further said its next version of LotusLive Notes cloud-based messaging application will let customers using a both cloud and on-premise collaboration tools access e-mail, calendar, contact management and instant messaging capabilities.

This enterprise offering will include directory synchronisation between on-premise directories and the cloud; access to application and mail workflows that remain on-premise; and entitlement for every user to use either a browser or the Lotus Notes client to access their e-mail.

Moreover, IBM has pared the minimum number of users for a LotusLive Notes subscription from 1,000 to 25, added support for Lotus Sametime instant messaging and made the standard mailbox quota 5 gigabytes.
Finally, IBM said its Lotus Domino e-mail server will soon be available as a developer/test image on Amazon’s EC2 Web services cloud through IBM developerWorks.


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