IBM Lotus is rolling out a set of incremental upgrades across its product lines over the coming 12 month, including new capabilities in Notes/Domino, Sametime, Connections and LotusLive.
In the shadow of its Project Vulcan, a multi-year effort to create a framework for the integration of cloud and enterprise computing, IBM Lotus continues laying out improvements and upgrades that will provide features and components eventually align with the Vulcan framework.
IBM says its Vulcan strategy is to flow upgrades into products in lieu of major overhauls of platforms.
"Our customers don't want to have a massive monolithic stack they have to upgrade; they want a base that is incrementally upgradeable at a pace that they choose," said Alistair Rennie, GM of Lotus. He said Lotus users will continue to see "a rapid set of innovations delivered in a way that is loosely coupled and allows them to pick the pieces they need and when they need them. He says the cloud will provide the perfect companion to that pace "in the sense that we can innovate very, very quickly and provide delivery of new capabilities on an incredible pace."
IBM Lotus said the Notes release after 8.5.2 , set to ship later this year, will be "Vulcanised," according to Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president of messaging and collaboration. He did not mention Notes/Domino 9 by name, but said users who get to the 8.5.1 rollout will be on track to take advantage of Vulcan features when they start to drift into the platform in 2011.
IBM Lotus unveiled Lotus Protector for Mail Encryption, which extends Notes native encryption to work over Internet email links. Lotus is working in conjunction with PGP Corp. on the technology.
On the online Notes side, IBM Lotus introduced LotusLive Notes and said it would deliver the multi-tenant hosted service in the second half of the year. A beta will come in the next few months. The minimum number of users will be set at 50 and pricing will be a fixed cost that will be made public at a later date. IBM plans to host the service.
LotusLive Notes will also feature a 5GB mailbox and integrations with Sametime. It will be optimized for cloud and on-premises with support for directory synchronization between with two, access to Domino applications, and workflows that remain on-premises, according to Cavanaugh.
Lotus will release a beta for a LotusLive Notes update in the next few months, and the final release will come in the middle of the year.
In addition, IBM Lotus said it would deliver a beta this spring for updates to LotusLive iNotes, the lightweight mail application introduced last year.
Mobile support will be a major focus with work to integrate the IBM Lotus collaboration environment with the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android and Nokia devices.
Also in 2010, IBM Lotus to release Linux server support for Notes Traveler, and also a corporate directory lookup and mobile installer. Also announced was a Notes plug-in from Gist, which connects the Notes in-box to business information on the Web.
IBM Lotus also plans to upgrade its Symphony productivity apps to version 2.0. The suite will go into beta in February and features support for OpenOffice.org 3.x
In the second quarter of 2010 the next version of Quickr will be released that features enhanced team collaboration capabilities, closer alignment with Domino 8.5.1, and a common administration interface. The feature set includes folder level access control, simplified version management and tighter support for XPages applications and integration with FileNet.
The next version of Connections, the IBM Lotus social software suite, is planned for the second half of 2010. Code-named Lotus Connections Next, it will focus on compliance features, mobile integration, profile enhancements and social analytics. The new release will get a mobile browser interface and a new recommendations widget. In addition, LotusLive will be updated in the second half of the year to include Lotus Connections for Community.
Sametime will get two maintenance upgrades in 2010. In the first half of the year, the 8.5.x additions will include audio/visual enhancements, an additional client platform, and Sametime Unified Telephony client synchronization with Notes/Domino 8.5.
In the second half of the year, the Sametime 8.5.xx will include audio/visual for the Web, bandwidth management, fine-grained access controls for meetings, and more flexible firewall traversal.
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