In the manner of a liveblog....

The Blue Man Group has just finished "Rock Concert Movement"... y'all weren't quite into it yet this morning though, took some time to warm up.  And for Carl Tyler's benefit.... we had them hired before your charity drive but it's been a really fun laugh....

8:45 AM Dan Akroyd has just shimmied off the stage and Bob Picciano has returned.  He has so far announced that there are over 12,000 new Lotus customers since the release of Notes 8 (I believe this is a Notes/Domino-specific number, actually), and that customer/partner attendance at Lotusphere is up 2% year to year.

8:51 AM Jean-Michel Ares, Coca-Cola Company CIO is on stage discussing TCCC's digital workspace, including Notes, Blackberry, and SAP software.

8:56 AM  John Dunning of NetJets is discussing their use of WebSphere Portal, Lotus Quickr, Lotus Connections, and a variety of other solution components.

9:01 Ian Haynes, Head of Staff for Collaboration at HSBC is now on stage.  Says "HSBC has chosen Lotus as one of its key partners...Notes, Sametime, WebSphere Portal, and Connections are critical elements in our collaborative solution."

9:07 Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion is on stage... celebrating ten years since launch of Blackberry.  Announces support for Domino 8.5 in BES 4.1.6, only ten days since release of 8.5.Announces new Blackberry updates for IBM Lotus Connections release 2.0.1 including all Connections services; new client for Sametime, including file transfer support and presence integration; announces support for Symphony and Quickr support for Blackberry.  Finally adds support for Domino Designer with XPages for Blackberry coming later this year.

9:14 Bob Picciano back.  Announces official brand for "Bluehouse" is now LotusLive

9:17 Alistair Rennie announces that Lotus Notes will be 20 years old in 2009.  Welcomes Kevin Cavanaugh.  "Notes is unlike your average 20 year old.  Notes can actually save you a lot of money."

Kevin (quickly) showed the names of 40+ customers that have completed deployment of at least 1000 seats of Notes 8 and were willing to be references.  Than you to all of you!  That slide will be up again in my session this afternoon.

Announces Alloy by IBM and SAP, the final name for Project "Atlantic".  Will ship in March.

9:24 Ron Sebastian and Suzanne Minassian are now on stage demonstrating Notes 8.5. Features getting attention -- LinkedIn integration in the Notes 8 sidebar, drag-and-drop from Sametime contacts to Notes addressing.

9:35 I just couldn't keep up writing with all the cool content in the demo.  Kevin is back and just announced SmartMarket as a way for Lotus partners to communicate their offerings to the market.  He then announces a commitment to for IBM to contribute code and resources. He goes on to enumerate some of the cost savings benefits of the Domino 8.5 release that bring a significant cost reduction...for either existing customers or those migrating from Exchange.

[Break in the blogging -- I have been on Twitter and helping channel your feedback back to Bob Picciano and Sandra Marcus in the last 25 minutes.  This is an unexpected new benefit of Twitter and the live blogging.  We hvae added more wifi, adjusted the room temperature, and more as a result of your input]

9:59 TechCrunch's Jeff Widman is surprised to learn that these are live demos.  Welcome to Lotusphere, Jeff!

10:07 Connections new features like wiki, microblogging, microbrowser interface getting good applause.

10:14 Larry Bowden on to talk about Mashups and Portals.  He's reaching out to the Lotus loyal customers by both reference as well as the new yellow hue of the WebSphere Portal icon.

10:29 Sean Poulley describing LotusLive Engage and other LotusLive offerings.  Suzanne and Ron back to demo.  (I am now spending MUCH more time on Twitter, sending and receiving, than on the blog for this OGS)

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