IBM's Social Networks and Discovery
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IBM on Thursday lifted the veil on its vision of tomorrow's Web.
At its Market Street office in San Francisco, Rod Smith, VP of emerging technology in IBM's software group, and Stefan Nusser, a research staff member at IBM's Almaden Research Center, introduced six technology projects designed to help people deal with the proliferation of online content in an increasingly browser-centric world.
IBM's overall goal in pursuing the various projects, said Smith, was to help people work more efficiently as the Web grows. Toward that end, the technology demonstrated focused on online collaboration and issues that accompany collaboration, like privacy.
In conjunction with the event, IBM said that it has begun working with Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston to develop a Web-based "radiology theater" to allow health care experts in different locations to correspond, interact, and review medical data using a Web browser.
The secure Web site that IBM created allows CT scans, MRIs, EKGs, and other medical data to be posted and analyzed using live videoconferencing and whiteboard capabilities. It requires no special software beyond a Web browser and can thus be accessed from a laptop or mobile device, as well as a desktop computer.
"The magic here is the integration of all these things in one place," said David Boloker, CTO of IBM's emergent Internet technology software group, who demonstrated the system.
And the difficulty is how the application, referred to as Blue Spruce, handles the policy issues surrounding the sharing of regulated health data. Those details are still being worked out, as is the Web technology upon which the Blue Spruce mashup platform relies.
For example, in order to keep the live video streams synchronized when a user moves to another browser tab or another application, IBM's programmers used a feature in the still-evolving HTML5 specification called socket persistence.
In other words, the rules for working on the Web and for making the Web work are still being written. IBM's work aims to shape those rules.