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Lotus Demonstrates Activity Collaboration In Future Notes Client

IBM Lotus Software Wednesday demonstrated publicly for the first time new activity-based collaboration capabilities inside a future version of the Notes client.
IBM Lotus Software General Manager Ambuj Goyal Wednesday demonstrated for the first time publicly new activity based collaboration capabilities inside a future version of the Notes client.

Goyal showed off the new activity collaboration capabilities, which are already part of Lotus' Workplace 2.5 managed client, as part of a sneak peak at how the Notes interface and client will evolve in the future. Goyal would not comment on exactly when the new features will show up in the Notes client.

The demonstration came before several hundred Notes administrators at The View Administration Conference for Lotus Software Professionals in Boston. "The activity concept is starting to evolve nicely in the marketplace," said Goyal in a brief interview after his address. "People have said we would like an activity inbox inside the standard Notes client."

The activity based collaboration represents a major paradigm shift, transforming Notes into a dynamic portal for knowledge workers such as lawyers, bank tellers and retail clerks. Goyal, for example, showed a rich Notes client for a lawyer that included an activity centric set of documents, processes, tasks, content and applications. The lawyer desktop included activity-centric tasks such as "Six Patents Need Review" or "Five Contracts Due Today" which in turn were automatically linked to specific team members working on those documents via instant messaging or a voice over IP chat capability. The activity collaboration capacities will allow knowledge workers to do their jobs more easily rather than opening up many different applications, said Goyal.

Nevertheless, several Lotus Notes Domino administrators at the show said they are concerned about whether Lotus will continue to develop Notes/Domino as a standalone application separate from the Workplace 2.5 managed client. "My concern is Domino will eventually be going away," said one administrator that oversees a 15,000 plus Notes environment. "I know there is going to be a release 7.0 and potentially an 8.0."

Lotus has repeatedly stressed that it will continue to develop and support Notes/Domino. Furthermore, Goyal has said that Notes/Domino administrators will not have to choose between Notes/Domino or WorkPlace. Lotus, in fact, has committed to seamlessly integrating Notes and WorkPlace. Goyal said the two environments will be "100 percent compatible."

Notes/Domino is gaining momentum in the marketplace with worldwide sales growth of 17 percent for Notes/Domino in the first quarter compared with the year ago period, said Goyal. "This is a flat to slightly growing market," he said. "That means we must be gaining share. As long as our competition does not allocate other product revenues to this particular market, we should have gained share." Last year, Lotus added four to five million new Notes/Domino users, said Goyal. Furthermore, he said that last year 1,500 customers switched from a non IBM messaging environment to Notes/Domino.

Notes/Domino now has an installed base of 61,000 customers and 118 million users, said Goyal. "Messaging is no longer a nice to have technology," he said. "Messaging and collaboration is becoming mission critical."