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IBM unveils new Web 2.0 platforms

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IBM is to unveil a range of Web 2.0 and collaboration tools including mashups and social software to help clients improve workflow and speed decision-making for an increasingly virtual, global workforce at the Lotusphere Conference 2008. 

Lotusphere attendees will get an early look at IBM’s commercial mashup maker, IBM Lotus Mashups, which allow non-technical users to create mashups in minutes, empowering line of business users to get the information they need no matter where it resides.
IBM Lotus Mashups includes four key components:
* A browser-based tool that provides easy assembly of new applications by business users, built on the popular prototype known as QEDWiki;
* A mashup catalog that supports the sharing and discovery of mashup components, with built-in community features like ratings, tagging and commenting;
* A lightweight mashup server, which can be hosted on a variety of platforms for added governance and IT control;
* A rich set of out-of-the-box, business-ready widgets.
“As the number of young, more connected workers intensifies in organisations of all sizes, IBM is committed to helping people work the way they want to and adapt to the needs of a global workforce,”  says Zoaib Hoosen, IBM Software Executive for South & Central Africa.  “Clients recognise competitive advantage in blending and sharing mashups for deeper insights and in developing social networks for business that connect people to the right expertise at the right time.”
In addition to this new product, IBM is announcing the next release of its popular social software for business, Lotus Connections. Since the launch of Lotus Connections at Lotusphere 2007, it has become the fastest growing commercial product in IBM Software history – being deployed by hundreds of organisations around the world. Shipping in the first half of 2008, Lotus Connections 2.0 will include several new features.
A new homepage aggregates and filters social data from all five services of Lotus Connections into a view that can be customised.  Using the widget-based homepage, users can quickly see what information has changed across their professional network and easily search for the information they need to get things done. The widgets can also show information from other social networks such as Yahoo or LinkedIn.
The community component of Lotus Connections will be enhanced with discussion forums and integration to leading wiki services from IBM Lotus Quickr, SocialText and Atlassian. Using these services, users can extend community membership lists to other applications such as Lotus Sametime.
A new customisation feature for the activity dashboard in Lotus Connections will allow users to organise their tasks the way that suits their work-styles. Users will be able to extend activity templates by adding fields, sections and tables that will stream-line execution of day-to-day tasks.
IBM is also announcing the general availability of Lotus Quickr 8.1 software that connects your everyday desktop and internet applications to help teams inside and outside the firewall easily and effectively work together. Lotus Quickr 8.1 includes content libraries, team discussion forums, blogs, wikis and other connectors that make sharing information easier than ever.
IBM will also preview, this week at Lotusphere, the capability to integrate Lotus Quickr with Enterprise Content Management Systems, such as IBM FileNet P8 and IBM Content Manager, providing the industry’s most complete end-to-end content and collaboration solution from a single vendor.  
Shipping in mid-March, Quickr 8.1 will include a new feature, called Lotus Quickr Entry, which enables personal file sharing.  Lotus Notes customers will be entitled to Lotus Quickr Entry at no charge.  
IBM social software and leadership in Web 2.0 technology and governance models is helping companies unlock the knowledge within its employee base, making it faster and easier to find topic experts and bring together diverse teams around a common point of interest. In addition, IBM Global Services recently launched a new consulting offering to help clients understand how emerging technologies, such as Web 2.0, social computing, SOA, 3D internet and virtual worlds, can be used to improve business performance and deliver tangible business value today.