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Volume 11, Number 34 -- October 18, 2011

Notes and Domino Gets New Social Networking Features with Version 8.5.3

Published: October 18, 2011

by Alex Woodie

Companies adopting the version 8.5.3 release of IBM's Lotus Notes and Domino will get a free license to the Files and Profiles features of IBM's increasingly pervasive social networking software, called IBM Connections. The new release also brings enhancements to email and calendars, and new features in areas of mobile computing and virtualization support.

IBM has been building social networking capabilities into its Lotus Notes and Domino products for some time. There is Engage, the Web-based collaboration feature of the hosted version of Lotus Notes and Domino, called LotusLive, that enables workers to get together in forums, participate in online meetings, create surveys, and share files. Then there are the Social Business Toolkit and ShareBox offerings that IBM launched at Lotusphere this February.

And of course, there is IBM Connections, which was originally called Lotus Connections until version 3.0 launched last November. IBM's Connections is a Web-based product originally launched in 2007 that allows teams of users to collaborate through Web spaces, blogs, wikis, forums, and shared libraries. It has hooks into the Lotus products (obviously), as well as IBM's Cognos, FileNet, and Content Manager software. Earlier this year, IBM launched Connections for the major mobile OSes.

Now IBM is spreading its social capabilities even more by giving Lotus Notes and Domino version 8.5.3 users entitlements to the Files and Profiles features of Connections.

The Files component of IBM Connections is designed to make it easier for users to share content with others, and eliminate the need to send large files through email. It also allows users to "socialize" their content by adding links to it and the ratings capability (like "like it") that are so popular with the kids these days.

Meanwhile, the Profiles function allows users to tap into the knowledge of networks of professionals, and search for people with certain skills, interests, and organizational structures. Like other popular social networking sites, Profiles uses "tags" to identify expertise, current projects, and responsibilities, according to IBM.

Not every Lotus Notes and Domino customer can get these new features in IBM Connections (which runs on AIX, Linux, and Windows). Only users with Enterprise Client Access License (CAL), Messaging CAL, Collaboration Express License, and Messaging Express Licenses can get the new features.

Notes 8.5.3 brings several other new capabilities. On the calendar front, the new software will automatically apply updates to meetings that users have accepted as updates arrive. There's also a new counter proposals function in calendaring that keeps a placeholder on the original meeting time when suggesting a different time. This release also ensures that all invitees to a meeting are notified of changes.

On the mail front, IBM has enhanced the new email notification to enable the user to receive a pop up preview of new email. This release also brings new search and sorting features, including the capability to search email by sender and subject. Users can also use different signatures in different email messages, and change the color and style of read and unread mail.

Notes 8.5.3 also includes the latest release of the embedded versions of Sametime and Lotus Symphony, which keeps Notes users up-to-date with the latest instant messaging, unified telephony, and presence awareness services. IBM has also updated iNotes, its Web-based version of the Notes interface. iNotes version 8.5.3 delivers usability improvements and productivity gains, including faster auto-processing of meeting updates, the presence-awareness and IM capabilities of Sametime, and support for the latest Web browsers.

On the mobile front, improved XPages support in Domino Designer 8.5.3 will make it easier for developers to ensure that Domino Web apps can run on mobile devices. This release also delivers support for the Nokia Symbian 3 devices with Notes Traveler, which sits between the full Notes client and the iNotes Web-client, and offers "push" email capability. Notes Traveler also gains the capability to wipe email, calendar, and contact data from Apple iOS devices while leaving other devices unaffected.

Meanwhile, IBM has enhanced the Domino server with version 8.5.3. IBM says it now supports kernel virtual machines (KVMs) in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server environments. For more information, see IBM United States Software Announcement 211-330 (pdf).


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