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Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
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Lotusphere Thoughts

The focus at Lotusphere this week has been on collaboration – using IBM’s Sametime and Notes products as the basis for unified communications and group collaboration.

It’s quite obvious between last week’s Microsoft/Nortel media event in NYC to push their joint UC strategy and Lotusphere this week that 2007 will again see a major focus on unified communications and integration with both real-time and non-real-time collaboration.  In fact it is this extension of UC to incorporate collaboration that seems to be emerging as the biggest trend so far, one that IBM defined as UC^2 (unified communications and collaboration).

It’s amazing to me that we’re just in the early stages of adoption of unified communications and yet the concept of UC of simply integrating disparate communications applications such as voice, video, and IM with presence, is already passé.  Instead, the push is on now to deliver UC in “context”, meaning enabling workers to exchange information by whatever means necessary within the context of a project, group, or other self-defined classification.

To support this new vision, IBM unveiled two new software applications, Lotus Quickr, a tool for integrating real-time communications with shared workspaces, enabling workers to easily share information stored in workspaces with each other via Sametime, Notes, or other office applications.  In addition, IBM released Lotus Connections to bring the power of social computing to communications and collaboration platforms.

The release of these tools will further blur the lines between applications such as VOIP and collaborative workspaces.  Enterprises will find a greater need to address collaboration and communications platforms in whole, rather than as separate stand-alone pieces.  They will also need to develop business cases that take these tools from being “nice-to-have” to “must-have” business applications.

The original paradigm of unified communications may be obsolete before its adopted,  but enterprise efficiency stands to greatly benefit from the unification of communications with collaboration.

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