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Interop: IBM Puts Web 2.0 To The Test

IBM unveiled the new Center for Social Networking and showcased a host of Web 2.0 collaboration tools at Interop New York.

Web 2.0

In Web 2.0 speak, Bob Picciano, general manager of IBM's Lotus Software and WebSphere Portal, said 2morO@Wrk can be read two ways: "more 2.0 at work," or "tomorrow at work."

Along with coining a catch phrase and demonstrating a host of Web 2.0 collaboration tools, IBM also announced it's launching the IBM Center for Social Software, a think tank of sorts at its Cambridge, Mass. location that will bring together IBMers, clients, partners, students and others to research, develop and test Web 2.0 tools.

According to IBM, the incubator will explore, innovate and commercialize best practices in social networking; work with forward-thinking businesses to pilot and customize enterprise social networks unique to their industry profile; create jointly funded research collaborations with government, academia, industry and venture capital participation.

The incubator will also design the future of IBM's Web 2.0 collaboration portfolio, including social discovery, social search and new salable architectures for social software including cloud computing; further social software governance, creating formal policies to encourage or constrain the uses of social networking in organization; develop the science of social software to quantify social networking; and explore cultural differences in the use of social software.

Additionally, the center will have a corporate residency program to give businesses hands-on availability to IBM's research pipeline. Already, Dow Jones and the Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters have signed on to participate.

The center, along with other advancements in Web 2.0 tools, Picciano said, show that IBM is bent on using Web 2.0 to connect people with information in the appropriate context to help ease the current information overload.

"There's a tremendous amount of information being driven at us from several different sources," he said, addressing the Interop crowd during his keynote speech Tuesday.

But through collaborative tools and applications, that overload can be assuaged, Picciano said.

"What do I need to be aware of to use that information in context?" he asked. "Web 2.0 is giving us the opportunity to deliver new paradigms in the market place."

As companies make the transition from simple communications applications like email and telephony, to real time and on-demand access; now is the time to embed communications and collaboration through social computing and mash ups.

Embedded collaboration services are available through several means, such as on-premise, SaaS, hosted and appliances.

Throughout his keynote, Picciano, with assistance from Ron Sebastion, executive IT architect with IBM, showed off some of the company's advancements in Web 2.0. The demonstration included Lotus Connections, social computing software that lets enterprise users build communities, blogs, and profiles and access colleague's information to collaborate efficiently in projects.

Another IBM Web 2.0 project, Project BlueHouse, will go into public beta soon. Project BlueHouse enables collaboration in extranet environments, creating virtual workplaces. Additionally, Picciano said, a hosted Notes offering is coming soon geared toward companies of 1,000 to 10,000 employees for between $8 and $18 per user, per month.

Those advancements, coupled with new InfoSphere MashupHub technology that ties communications and other information together into one dashboard-like platform, will round out IBM's Web 2.0 portfolio going forward.

Overall, Picciano said IBM is out to bring new value and new paradigms to collaboration through Web 2.0 tools.

"This is about people and driving better business outcomes," he said.

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