Mobile collaboration and applications development take a big step forward
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  apple sametime social-business connections domino collaboration tablets iphone ipad lotus notes mobile ibm android
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By Jacques Pavlenyi
Market Segment Manager - IBM Collaboration Solutions
The LeWeb Conference, one of Europe's largest tech conferences, has been abuzz with all things mobile. IBM, as a Platinum Sponsor of the event, decided it was just the right venue to announce a wide range of new mobile collaboration and application development solutions (Ed Brill also blogged about this this morning). With help from IBM and their workplace IT department, Apple, Android and other mobile device users can more easily integrate their work and personal lives. I'll cover some of the announcements in more detail below. But if you happen to be in Paris this week, and can tear yourself away from the City of Lights' Christmas finery, stop by the IBM booth to see this stuff in action.
Mobile computing continues to be a hot topic. The number of mobile devices and subscriptions is rapidly approaching the world's population. MobiThinking estimates that by the end of 2010 there will be over 5.3B mobile subscriptions, covering over 76% of the population. And smartphones accounted for over 21% of total shipments, growing faster than the handset market overall. Add in the growth of Bring Your Own Device to Work programs: more than ever users are demanding not just better collaboration with their colleagues while away from the desk, but a better way to integrate their work and personal lives.
There are definite benefits for the enterprise here: improved employee engagement, higher job satisfaction through improved productivity and work-life balance, improved recruitment of new talent, higher employee retention and reduced employee turnover, for starters. Real companies are seeing real benefits here. As the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports has stated:
And ComputerWorld published an article on IBM employees using their own smartphones and tablets for work:
I myself am a recent convert to the BYOD trend. I've had smartphones since 2004; remember the Palm Treo? As a busy marketing manager, I have struggled for years to coordinate multiple calendars, email, and social accounts. But it's only recently that I've started the technologies IBM is announcing below to really change the way I work for the better. For the first time I can honestly say I don't need messy work-arounds to better manage my work and personal lives. My iPhone is rapidly turning into the primary way I interact with people who aren't right in front of me, regardless of whether they're IBMers or family or Facebook friends or Twitter followers (or any combination of those and more).
The focus on how employees interact with one another more socially appears to be more critical than focusing first on customer or public Brand engagement. According to the IBM 2011 Tech Trends report, the majority responders from more than 4,000 IT professionals in 93 countries and 25 industries said that their organization considers social business as a way to increase efficiency and collaboration. From a review of the report in InformationWeek:
So let's dive a little deeper into each of the announcements. You can also see all of these innovations in action at Lotusphere 2012 in Orlando, Jan 16-20 (registration open!).
Business social networking on your iPad
The new IBM Connections native app on the Apple iPad brings access to your IBM Connections blogs, profiles, status updates, file share, and more, with added functionality such as round-trip editing: download a document from the IBM Connections server, open it in another editor app, and then upload the updated document back into the IBM Connections server. Existing IBM Connections users can download the app at no charge from the Apple App Store.
I've been putting off getting an iPad, but with this release, I wonder if it's time to put my Apple Store gift certificates to good use. Just look at this beautiful interface, showing the latest status updates from people in a network as well as contacts being followed.
IBM Connections users can view detailed profile information for people in their networks through the Profiles feature.
IBM Sametime software users can now lead, participate in and manage browser-based meetings from their iPad or Android tablets. And a new Sametime app is now available at no charge from the Apple App Store. It provides one-on-one or group instant messaging, background notifications, and the ability to send photos through the Sametime chat window. Sametime Unified Telephony customers will benefit from additional cost savings features. Ed Brill and Stuart McIntyre have already been trying it out. It's great to be able to send iPhone screen captures and photos to my work colleagues right from my iPhone. And the business card feature allows an IBM Sametime user to launch an announcement or chat to an individual or group using an iPad:
Online meetings for iPad devices and more
Also available is IBM LotusLive Meetings for Android, BlackBerry, iPad, and iPhone devices. The apps allow users to join cloud-based online meetings on LotusLive from mobile devices. Users can easily view shared presentations, chat with meeting participants, and virtually raise and lower hands.I've tried this out as well on my iPhone, and being able to walk away from my desk while not leaving a LotusLive Meeting is quite useful. Here's a screenshot of where IBM LotusLive cloud-based collaboration service allows iPad suers to participate in online meetings.
New home screen widgets for mail and calendar, and click to call from from Android OS tablet device calendar
Lotus Notes Traveler now allows IBM email users to easily add widgets to their home screen for quick, convenient access to mail and calendar information. And you can now call people listed in your calendar views with just one click. This is also available for a variety of mobile phones. This dovetails nicely with the October announcement, where IBM announced Traveler support for secure access to email, calendar and contacts from a variety of mobile devices.
Access business documents from iOS and Android
Available now in app stores, IBM Lotus Symphony Viewers allow IBM Lotus Notes Traveler email users and others to view on their iPad, iPhone or Android device any Open Document Format (ODF)-based attachment, including Lotus Symphony documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Here's a screenshot:
Make websites look great on tablets
The new IBM Web Experience Factory helps companies more easily control the content, look and feel, and page navigation on tablet and other mobile devices. Now Web developers can create a more graphically-pleasing and high quality Web experience. Online retailers in particular can benefit, as many shoppers continue to increase their online spending, especially through newer mobile devices like tablets. But any organization looking to provide Portal access (internet or intranet) to their mobile users can benefit. The first example shows how IBM WebSphere Portal Mobile Experience solution helps companies more easily control the content, look and feel and page navigation on mobile devices.
The next screenshow shows higher quality mobile Web experiences that can lead to more online business.
Mobilize social applications
Astute readers will note that these controls have actually been available through OpenNTF. But if your organizations or clients have been holding back because they aren't supported by IBM, fear no more. These controls are now fully supported by IBM as part of Upgrade Pack 1 .
Although not “just” about mobile, Upgrade Pack 1 also comes with the new IBM Lotus Domino Access Services. Now you can transform your Domino assets into social services using REST APIs. Many consumer (and mobile web-based) social services are available through REST-ful applications, so they can be combined into different interfaces. Now Lotus Domino applications can be also be made available as integrated online services via this common, lightweight programming interface.
Here's three ways you can learn more about Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.3 Upgrade Pack 1: