Lotus Announces New and Enhanced Products at Lotusphere

Collaboration & Messaging
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A new release of Notes and Domino will be coming in February that will contain numerous enhancements. More products and upgrades will arrive before midyear.

 

Lotusphere 2008 opened Sunday in Orlando, and this week's show promises to be a high-energy conference with a spate of announcements starting at today's general sessions (there will be two in order to accommodate the anticipated crowd).

 

Enhancements to the Lotus product line are focused on worker collaboration and the integration of Lotus programs and features with enterprise data and applications. They include new mashups and widgets, social networking upgrades, unified telephony application enhancements, instant messaging and mobile communications improvements, file sharing, email text recognition, security offerings, and developer and user tools for building customized applications and forms.

 

The theme of this year's conference is "the emergence of a digital collaboration infrastructure." As part of that, Notes and Domino 8.01 will ship in February with a number of enhancements, and Lotus will later ship several new and refined products by the end of June.

 

At the September Collaboration Summit, Lotus officials introduced several enhancements to Notes and Domino 8 that will be confirmed for shipping in V8.01. Among others, these include the following:

  • Lotus Notes Traveler, for mobile devices
  • Domino Web Access with user interface improvements and "Lite Mode" for limited bandwidth or lower-cost mail client installations
  • A side-shelf connector to Quickr 8.1 and the availability of Quickr Personal Edition
  • Hosting improvements for applications on demand
  • A significant reduction in resource usage for Notes and Domino in the realm of 30 percent for IO bandwidth and 20 percent CPU usage as well as reduced mail file storage

New enhancements to Domino that will be announced at the show and included in the next release of Domino, numbered Domino 8.5, include these:

  • Web application structure interface modernization. Domino Designer will be moved into Eclipse as its base and will include new design templates and an environment called X Pages that can leverage AJAX and other Web 2.0 environments.
  • Lotus Notes Toolbox or Widgets that will connect text elements or phrases in Notes to a set of widgets (included in 8.01). Users can drag widgets into the Notes sidebar, and the application will be able to recognize text and send the content into a specific widget.
  • Lotus Notes Traveler (also 8.01)
  • Programmability functions within Lotus Symphony. The office suite has been downloaded 280,000 times since September. It has been updated three times since then in various beta versions and now is available in 23 languages. The new capability that is being announced at Lotusphere will allow ISVs to extend the functionality of the Symphony "editors" and ship that functionality without royalty. To do this, IBM is opening up the underlying Expediter environment on which Symphony (and several other Lotus programs) are based. The goal is to make Symphony more than a set of preconfigured editors but part of the Lotus programmable environment.
  • Lotus Protector Suite will, over time, offer anti-virus, data encryption, compliance, archiving, and intrusion prevention. The first product will be Lotus Protector for Email Security. This will be delivered as a physical appliance to deliver anti-virus and anti-spam capability integrated into other Lotus products.
  • The Lotus Sametime family will be expanded from Sametime Entry and Standard (which shipped with V8.0) to include Sametime Advanced. This will be shipped in the first half of 2008. Sametime Advanced will support broadcast chat and persistent chat and will extend the capability of core IM into the social and community space.
  • Sametime Unified Telephony is designed to search, reach, and collaborate across an open range of telephony environments. Lotus is working with 3COM, Nortel, Siemens, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, and Avaya to provide an open solution that allows for delivery of a federated presence and call control across a variety of different PBX systems.
  • Lotus Sametime Unyte, a newly acquired Web conferencing service, will have increased integration with other parts of the Domino portfolio, including the Notes calendar (in V8.01).
  • Lotus Quickr family currently provides core capability for team collaboration and allows for the integration of content from various sources. In addition to Microsoft Outlook public folders, Microsoft SharePoint sites, Lotus Domino Teamrooms, and Domino document management libraries, Quickr will soon integrate with enterprise content management beginning first with FileNet data. Quickr V8.1 will ship sometime before the end of June. It will have enhanced drag-and-drop capability and an improved user interface as well as improved integration with Lotus Connections. Quickr Entry will allow for personal as well as public file-sharing.
  • The next release of WebSphere Portal is in beta, and developers are adding a client-side aggregation framework to support Web 2.0-style applications as well as integration with various widgets and gadgets. Developers soon will be able to wrap plain HTML pages around objects and have them work within the navigation structure of Portal and pick up some of the role-based access that Portal has. The idea is to integrate more Web content into the Portal environment with a minimum of development. A new theme will allow for visual navigation similar to that of the iPod. Seven new Portal Accelerators were introduced in 2007, and work will continue to expand these with updates to existing ones.
  • Lotus Total Forms will be introduced at this week's show for the first time. The goal of Total Forms is to move Lotus Forms from a tool that requires enterprise development and deployment to one that can be easily used by a user. It includes a simple Web-based form editor that a user can employ to lay out the form, a simple mechanism to route the form to other people, and a service to aggregate forms and then provide visualization and summary data. The idea is to get simple viral adoption of forms capability inside an enterprise.
  • Lotus Expediter, client middleware that allows for extending composite applications to laptops, desktops, kiosks, and mobile devices, will be updated to support Citrix and Windows Mobile V6. Banks are building line-of-business applications with collaborative tools and finding that development productivity is high.
  • Lotus Connections 2.0 (will ship before the end of June) is used for social computing and has been deployed by a large number of companies that have provided Lotus with substantial feedback. Enhancements in 2.0 will include a user-customizable home page, extensions to the profiles capability, and activities. Users will be able to define their own activity types. Community support has been enhanced with integration to wiki and real-time environments such as chat. Unified search will be delivered across Connections with the ability to refine those searches.
  • Atlas for Lotus Connections offers the ability to visualize a worker's personal network and represents an extension of Lotus Connections.
  • Lotus Mashups will be announced as a beta that provides capabilities to allow users and enterprises to assemble masups from open content to enterprise content. It's a major step to a new approach to situational applications within the enterprise. Lotus will ship a client with a browser-based graphical tool for the creation and display of the mashups, a catalog server to provide for the sharing of widgets and mashups already created, and a lightweight server to drive the mashups. Lotus also will ship some pre-developed widgets as well as tools to build robust new ones from scratch that can access enterprise data.

This is a fairly complete outline of what Lotus will be announcing and demonstrating at Lotusphere all this week. For those who are at the show and come away with information and significant new updates on Lotus products, feel free to write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your impressions or new info, or post your findings in the forums discussion at the end of this article.

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