I've written this entry during the keynote from this week's DNUG/IBM Lotus Technical Forum event. Tons of information covered in ninety minutes, with breakout sessions to follow with even more detail. Sidebar note-to-self from the keynote: Don't flash vowe, his is bigger than mine.
Mike Rhodin gave an excellent high-level overview of the evolution towards the dynamic workplace. Similar to the keynote he gave last week at Admin2006, the discussion was of the evolution to contextual collaboration, open standards interfaces, and composite applications.
Craig Hayman and Ron Sebastian followed with several technology updates. Ron demonstrated the RSS feeds template for Domino 7.0.2. He used the feeds database to create a feed from a standard, unmodified Notes discussion database. The feed definition is a simple form.
In Ron's example, he posted an entry in the discussion that included an MP3 file. Ron then switched over to Apple iTunes, included the RSS feed from Domino in the "podcasts" view, and promptly blessed the "iTunes client for Domino" to resounding applause.
Craig and Ron then moved on to cover the Lotus Notes access for SAP announcement from last week. Better than a "Duet", in perfect harmony, they described the seven use cases that IBM is building for out-of-the-box integration between Notes 7.0.x and SAP:
- Vacation/leave request
- Time reporting
- Contact management
- Workflow integration
- Report generation
- Employee Self Service / Manager Self Service
- Meeting scheduling
Ron even demonstrated how such an application can be accessed from a Blackberry interface, extending Notes/Domino workflow applications to the Blackberry platform (again to applause).
The next section of the presentation featured Surjit Chana, Lotus VP of marketing, discussing real-time business, featuring Lotus Sametime 7.5. Surjit's "brag chart" covered the success Sametime has had in market to date....noting, for example, that three of the top four most profitable companies in the world are using Sametime (Surjit asked the audience if they could guess the fourth, which lead to a laugh as some had a slow realization that said company isn't likely to be using an IBM product enterprise-wide).
Ron's next burst of applause was showing the extensibility of the Sametime 7.5 client. First he accessed the same RSS feed from Domino via the Sametime client's extensible UI. Then, in-line in a chat, he showed a programmable command that grabbed "@LatestSales" and pasted it directly in the chat. The data grab happened to be from a back-end, but then Ron showed a similar capability (easily created) to grab an Excel spreadsheet section.
Ron concluded the Sametime section with a demonstration of an add-in from Avistar, an IBM business partner. The Avistar plug-in for Sametime 7.5 adds full-motion video to a multi-way chat. Ron showed a four-way video chat session, with very high fidelity. More applause.
The next section of the keynote covered WebSphere Portal 6. The user interface has undergone significant updating, including a streamlined action bar (which looks a lot like the launch bar coming in Notes "Hannover"). The out-of-the-box UI uses AJAX and a streamlined "web 2.0" experience to make portal navigation much easier.
The very last section of the keynote featured Mike Rhodin and Ron discussing and demonstrating Notes "Hannover". Announced last June at the DNUG/IBM event, Mike went into detail as to what has transpired since then. Mike talked about "outside-in design" by focusing on the user experence first, and then making the architecture of the software match the design. He also emphasized the open nature of the Notes "Hannover" platform. Then came the big announcement -- The Notes "Hannover" release will include spreadsheet/presentation/word processing productivity tools supporting the newly ratified Open Document Format . "We are going to provide an open alternative".
I didn't cover everything that was in the keynote here. For example, Craig and Ron discussed IBM Workplace for SAP® software, emphasizing the point that they had also showed SAP integration in Notes, Sametime, and WebSphere Portal. Every additional piece of SAP integration caused a buzz in the room, because these capabilities bring a lot of the power of the SAP back-end to end-users in a variety of Workplace environments...almost all without coding. Ron also highlighted Workplace Collaboration Services 2.6.1, WebSphere Portlet Factory, Activities, and the Linux version of the Notes client plug-in. I'll write a lot more in the coming days about some of these other announcements and demos.