Monthly Archive for January, 2008
Most of the things I saw in the labs I have seen before at other so called Web 2.0 services, some of the solutions look exactly like Facebook or XING, but nobody of my customers would use these services internally to gain more productivity and organizational efficiency. So it is the right way to build this stuff into the new social software tools from Lotus - and have it integrated in the flagship product I work every day with: Lotus Notes 8.
Lotus Notes 8.0.1 is about to ship soon. I will be happy to see the official Quickr plugin in my sidebar, MyWidgets and LiveText support (a big deal, I think), some other really necessary new features I waited so long for that will make my life easier, official Citrix and Ubuntu support and the new visualization and federation features I saw in the demos.
I will be happy to have a look at Lotus Traveler - even if I am not a big fan of Windows Mobile. But I heard the Lotus Traveler team is working on the Symbian client - at least if Brent Peters lets them work on this thing. Maybe partners like iAnywhere and Nokia will not like that because they sell that stuff and Lotus Traveler comes for free. Some other vendors will not be happy too: With 8.0.1 there is a new compression algorythm for compressing documents and attachments. No good news for Safe-Lots-Of-Bucks-By-Using-ZIP-XYZ-Mafia 😉
On the Domino side I learned that Lotus Domino 8.5 will be the biggest release since Version 6. A new ID Management (no password needed using Windows authentification , replaceable Domino directory with other LDAP dirs, Domino Configuration Tuner, central Notes ID vault to store ID files (I know some admins that will love it) and the Domino Attachment and Object Store DAOS - which some will probably not like... and so much more.
I left Lotusphere now shortly after the famous "Ask the Developers" session. Bob did not ask the first question 😉 Looking at all the bloggers and twitterers out there, I don´t need to say anything. LiveBlogging with exact transcript of many sessions everyhwere (OGS, Sametime Keynotes,...), a transcript of the Blogger Q&A (btw there should be a podcast of that session?) and the LiveTwitter from the Developers Q&A are available.
So next Lotusphere will be Janury 18th to 22nd. maybe with even more blogging, twittering, flickering and more coverage. Hope to meet everybody then again.
Apple does not make me happy. Apple Stores everywhere. In New York I was forced to visit the new store on 5th Avenue. Dark forces made me playing around with MacBooks, iPhones and iPods. As I were ready to give up and wanted to buy an MacBook Air, they could not deliver. Then they told me I will not be able to change the keyboard when I am back in Europe. What a hard life for me.
Then looking at the iPhone I don´t want. I really do not want it. In fact - I do not want an ATT or T-Mobile contracts. So I looked at the iPod touch. "This will not make you happy" everybody says. 399$ for an iPhone, 399$ for an iPod Touch with 16 GB. "You will miss loudspeaker, you will miss data connection as soon as you are out of range of WLAN access, you will miss the camera,...". So buy an iPhone? "You will miss your adress book sync, you will miss calendar entries, you will miss Notes mail sync, yadayadayada". So buy an iPod Touch and stay with my Blackberry? Domino will not support the iPhone - yes, DWA on iPhone, but this does not make me happy. Then iAnywhere told me today they will support iPhone in the near future. So buy an iPhone?
Hey, nobody can imagine how it feels to choose between all this stuff. These are real problems I am facing. All the other problems I have are ridiculous compared to the inhuman torture Apple puts me on.
I said I was a little bit disappointed after the opening session. But the next two days it became clear there is so much new stuff, they could not present in the Opening Session. So my complaint is only about the communication in the Opening Session in general. There are lots of exciting news - but they did not manage to get the people excited during the session. So no disappointment at all. It´s now more a problem of manage all that new stuff and sort the relevant news.
The target market for Lotus Foundations serverproducts will be the small sized company, under 500 seats, more an SOHO than a SMB company. Someone from IBM mentioned the "Trucker company who even has not IT staff at all but needs email, collaboration and file management". So when I look at these companies: Why should they choose an IBM product when the could have Google Hosted Apps? Yes, it is an appliance, it runs on customers own infrastructure - but is this really an advantage? As long as I do not know anything about the pricing, it just speculation. But for me as a reseller of IBM technology I fear there is not much in it for me - and it will be a hard sell. In addition, these kind of companies cause high maintenance and do not want to pay for it. Don´t get me wrong: I like the idea behind Lotus Foundations as a collaboration server out of the box, and obviously the Net Integration guys did a good job packaging that stuff and making it remote manageable and installable in about 15 minutes. But my question ist: How will I make money with that?
Furtheron: Lotus Bluehouse, the hosted version of Lotus Foundations, will raise that question even more. As I asked Mike Rhodin in the Bloggers Q&A, he said its a kind of experiment, a test what the market is willing to pay for that. "There are not much companies out there making money with Software as a Service solutions". Well, thats right. But will IBM sell that stuff through the channel? Yesterday at the Business Partner Roundtable the answer was a clear YES. But isn´t this another reason why these small companies will choose other solutions that deliver "collaboration on demand"? Simple go to a web site, register, pay online, ready to go?
I am sceptical about the business model, not about the technology. To make that clear again 😉
I loved the things I heard yesterday about the unified communication strategy, and after this mornings session I am convinced to further invest our work in the Sametime platform.
So what did I learn today:
- First: It´s Lotus Sametime 10th birthday! Wow, its a long time ago Lotus started to invest in this market - feel a little bit old remembering it is 10 years ago. Interesting information I did not know: First idea for a product name was BLIMP "Buddy List and Instant Messaging Platform"
- I was very happy to hear the first announcement: Strategic partnership with Ericsson. This is important for us because we have several customers running Ericsson PBXs who wants to integrate with Notes and Sametime - including ourselves on some locations. Hope to see first results as soon as possible.
- Several other agreements including OEM agreements with Cisco and Nortel.
- Sametime Advanced will be released in Q1 with persistent chat rooms, chat room alerts, open chat rooms for multiple users
- I love Sametime Unified Telephony! Very cool demo of managing, filtering or forwarding incoming calls depending in IM status or rules. "It does not matter what PBX you use". Interesting statement, can not believe it, we have to dive into it - and get our hands on this.
- The IBM Metaverse meeting center was shown again as it was in the OGS. Yes, it is Second Life style. But my own Second Life avatar is hanging around in the IBM Pavillion since months. Nice to see, but no business value in there - for now.
"We try to rule it all out"Podcast of Blogger Q&A will be available as podcast soon.
Now heading to JAMFest in the Atlantic Dance Hall.
Anyway. The key message still is: Collaboration becomes more and more the number one issue for CEOs/CIOs. The mobile work force is growing fast, today 70% of all employees work on different locations from their boss. So supporting tools for the mobile workforce are the new challenge for companies - and this is the mission of Lotus software. So far so good. We heard something about the paradigm shift from document centric, people centric work to community centric services. We heard the well known story of CEOs kids using facebook or new employees entering our business environment who used to collaborate as students via wikis and miss these tools now. Its young people, its the the tools people use in their private life that drives companies today to implement social software solutions. But still lots of the arguments behind that "external pressure" remind me of the good old knowledge management discussion 10 years ago. Some of the arguments can be found in K-Station flyers Discovery Server announcements from the last Lotusphere Europe in Berlin - "the end of search, start discovering,...". I don´t want to say thats wrong, but this is not revolutionary. We just now have different tools to harvest, manage, distribute knowledge inside the organizations. And this is a good message.
Anyway, this is what I took away from this years opening session:
- Mobility: IBM and RIM announced a strategic partnership. Didn´t they last year? No clear communication whats really new about that. Lotus Traveler? Still Windows Mobile only. iPhone? In a world where there are not much applications for the iPhone available an Mobile Notes application would have been great. But what we get is a tailored Domino Web Access for iPhone. Cool, but I would say useless at least as an argument in Europe today.
- "Atlantic": SAP and IBM announced another strategic partnership. As with RIM I wonder why there is no clear communication in the OGS about the difference to last years announcment. OK, the SAP CTO Dr. Vishal Sikka appeared on stage. But a travel expense application that works witha SAP backend and a Notes frontend was shown last year too. I know there is more about that partnership and I am looking forward to learn more about it.
- Widget Support: Widgets integrate into Notes 8 now. Looks very cool and easy to use. The LiveText feature parses the Notes documents content, gives you context sensitive information e.g. flight number will be highlighted and you can directly access current flight status, adress information will open google maps, stock information shown when stock symbol in text, etc. Very cool, love it. My customers will love it too.
- Domino Web Access: New light version that loads fast. Looks very good. But why choice for a fast and a slow version?
- Notes 8.0.1 on Ubuntu: Probably the most important news for my company because we are running more and more workstations on Ubuntu. Official support for Ubuntu is great and made our CEO happy today. Notes 8 on Mac is in public beta now. Great news too.
- Domino 8.5: Lots of improvements, like better performance, enhanced ID management, and space saving. Space saving? Space savings through central storage of mail attachments with duplicate control. Single Copy Object Store revisited? Hopefully not, and hopefully it can be disabled.
- Domino Designer 8.5 will be delivered on Eclipse. The Lotusscript class browser was the only moment today in the morning when some guys in the session really got excited. Easy to create Web2.0 apps now. Web 2.0 style Notes discussion database demo. So there is hope for all that ugly designed web interfaces of old notes apps.
- WebSphere Portal: I am not in that WebSphere Portal business, but what I saw looked cool, in fact a little bit Apple like 😉 People seemed to be happy about the news.
- Lotus Connections / Lotus Quickr: Lots of improvements in the UI and tighter integration of both products. Media file support, podcast support, tagging, rating, commenting, many nice to have update and lots of absolutly necessary updates. I am happy to see that many issues have been adressed. Quickr 8.1 will come in March and opens up not only to Filenet or CM8 repository - the open connector framework should enable partners to integrate many other ECM solutions. Lotus Connections comes now with Facebook, Socialtext and other integrations. Not really an issue for my customers, but nice to have. More important: Lotus Connections replicates and synchronizes! I need to take my activities with me offline. Now I even can take it with me on my mobile device with an own Facebook-like Blackberry Connections application.
- Lotus Protector: Obviously one of the late outcomes of IBMs ISS acquisition. Security appliance. Do not expect my customers to buy this. Probably only intersting as part of the Lotus Foundations bundle.
- Lotus Symphony: Still I don´t know if we can position it as an alterntive productivity solution for OpenOffice (I am not talking about an alternative solution for MS Office, because Symphony definetly IS an alternative). But today it become more clear. Its the programmability and integration into Eclipse that makes the difference. In Beta 4 we will see Expeditor integration, some SmartSuite features, new APIs. So ist more than an alternative to MS Office, its an alternative to the .NET environment. Customers ill not only save money by not paying to MS Office, they save money because they can change the whole platform. I like that idea.
- Unified Communication: Sametime celebrates its 10th borthday now! They demoed the new telephony integration, and I want to get my hand on it asap. Set phone rules in properties, status sensitive call forwarding. Great! When I am in a meeting, forward call to assistant. When my status is "away", forward to my mobile. When my boss calls, forward to voice box. Cool. Have to visit the UC2 keynote tomorrow morning.
- Lotus Mashups lets you build ... of course: mashups. Looks very easy to use. Lets you combine internal and external sources of information. You can easily wire widgets and build new composite applications.
- Lotus Foundations was announced yesterday at Business Development Day. Today it became more clear that this is really a bundled set of products, ready to install within 30 minutes including collaborative services, file management, firewall, backup solution, etc. Reminds me of the artist formerly known as Ben Hur aka Collax Business Server. Low price, easy to install and administrate, easy to use. Mike Rhodin pulled a fully configured Lotus Foundation server out of an envelope ala MacBook Air. A fully blown Small Business Server in an envelope. Eat this, Microsoft/Apple! 😉 There will be hosted version at Lotus Bluehouse. Have tried to register, system failed. It seems IBM want to sell Collaboration as a Service like others sell CRM as a service (Salesforce) or will sell ERP as a service (SAP). But whats in there for us as a business partner?
Went after the Opening General Session to the Lotusalon 2.08. This was really entertaining - and another interesting example what all this social software web 2.0 buzz is about. To hear people like Ze Frank, Golan Levin and Jane McGonigal speaking about gaming, lifestyle, creativity, communication and collaboration in these times with all these new tools and services out there in the web was very motivating to think out of the box. Like especially Golan Levins "telesymphony" project and Ze Franks "earth sandwich project". And anybody out there who wants to dress up his vacuum cleaner? 😉
Cool event, enjoyed it very much.
Time to cool down now and think about the impact of this years announcements for my business.
|Lotusphere WiseCraig: quickr & connections up|
|Lotusphere LotusEvangelist: sadly I nodded off during web sphere it is not my area lets get to quickr|
|Lotusphere TheLionKing: Did Chris Miller just get 'called out' in the OGS? LOL|
|Lotusphere WiseCraig: yawn.. Ah portals over. Wake up!|
|Lotusphere TheLionKing: Someone told me 'Notes/Domino is Dead! Portal is the future!' Well, energy drain from LS crowd for portal says otherwise!|
Probably te best way to follow the announcments this morning via the Lotusphere Twitter stream.
A few minutes ago the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra opened Lotusphere 2008 with ... a Symphony of course 😉
Ed Brill and Alan Lepofsky are in the first row to do some live blogging. I will sum up the announcmens later on. But everybody who bet yesterday at the coldest beach party ever for Steve Jobs beeing the guest speaker and announcing Notes 8 support on iPhone was disapointed. Guest speaker is Bob Costas. So no celebrity on stage this year for guests from outside the US.
So what happend today in the morning: A cool Notes-Quickr-Connection-Sametime Demo by Chris Crummey. Mary Beth Raven showed some new features to federate and visualize all sorts of tasks. So if you use Follow Ups in Notes mail, To Do lists and of course Activities in Lotus Connections you can no see them all in one context. But thats only one use case, the technology can be used to visualize all data in views. You will be able to simply generate line graphs, bar charts or bubble charts from views, no matter if the come from NSF or CloudScape data. So no third party apps needed. I know some vendors who will not like that.
Mike Rhodin announced a new SMB offering called Lotus Foundations. Lotus Foundation seems to be a bundle offering for SMB companies with less than 500 users. Lotus Foundations includes Domino services for collaboration, file management services, backup tools, firewall, productivity tools (Lotus Symphony), directory services. I have not seen real time collaboration, so Sametime awareness or Web Conferencing might not be included. So Lotus Foundation should compete with Mircosofts Small Business Server at a "very affordable price". So lets wait for the pricing and the technical architecure - big question is how many servers this small company wil need to roll Lotus Foundations out.
Finally some intersting thoughts from Steven Johnson, author of books like "The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software". He learned about the history of fighting cholera in the 19th century, a kind of victorian version of CSI. An intersting story about open data platforms, visualization of data and the power of beeing an amateur that leads directly to our new web 2.0 social software buzzword world - and to services like the New York City Subway Smell Map. I would have needed that service yesterday 😉
Overbooked. Again. Now they give money to everybody who voluntarily will not join this flight. But this time I have a boarding pass. And I will not give it back.
So finally we ended up after that horrible trip in New York. Standby on the last flight to Orlando - but everybody wanted to fly to Orlando. No help from Delta available like always. It was Delta´s fault to not check us through, they forgot it in Berlin. But anyway. Booked the worst Ramada hotelroom ever near the airport just to have a bed.
But having breakfast this morning at Cafe Cafe in Green Street in Soho was not so bad at all. I love New York. Now hanging around in New York, maybe visiting Mr. Guggenheim - and of course visiting the Apple Store. Biggest disappointment so far: MacBook Air will be available only in two weeks 😉
I feel exactly like this right now 😉 Tired.
Just arrived in New York JFK, missed the connecting flight to Orlando because of "strong winds and air traffic control issues". DELTA does not really take care of us. We are on standby for todays last flight. And we are confirmed for tomorrow evening. No help from Delta finding a hotel or get a transfer to any New York hotel. "This is your problem". Seems I am getting into troubel with DELTA again like two years before. And seems we will miss a great day at Lotusphere 2008 Open.