As an evolving species we never cease in our pursuit of the sublime and the mundane. With that thought in mind we embarked to IBM Connect 2013.
We will first note that this year marks the completed metamorphosis from black and yellow to IBM blue. For proof all one needs to do is look to the new name of the software: IBM Notes 9. As the industry and our clients have evolved these many years with IBM – this is a good thing. The dropping of the Lotus brand name is a long time coming and version 9′s new name will still represent the same incredible collaboration tool. Whether its fan base bleeds yellow or blue does not change the fact that it is a rock solid platform for messaging and business applications.
Some things change – What’s new and trending
Let’s get this one out of the way first. We all know that IBM puts enormous efforts into creating marketing sizzle for their latest technology – sometimes at the cost of overshadowing their bread and butter products like Notes, Sametime, and Traveler. This ‘marketing the future’ is a common practice among all industry leaders and frankly has to be a component of every successful commercial enterprise’s strategy. The danger for smaller technological organizations like RPR Wyatt is we have to learn to distinguish between the marketing hype and true advancements. Let me put it this way “is it the next Traveler or is it the next Workplace?”
Social Business (IBM’s branding) is a success and will be an even greater success as communications strands get ever more tightly wired. The cautious pioneering use of Social (business) is being led by organizations best able to leverage the benefits and those leaders will be almost exclusively large to enterprise sized entities. The SMB market will make little internal use of Social and will focus mainly on harnessing it for outbound marketing efforts.
Why Social makes sense to the IBM Collaborative Solution users and the IBM business partners community is they (we) have been tooling and leveraging collaborative solutions based on coordination and communication for nearly two decades, and the newer ‘social’ wave is a logical extension of that successful practice.
Traveler and High Availability
Traveler has, unofficially anyway, the quickest adoption/replacement rate of any technology we have seen as an IBM Advanced Business Partner. (Something akin to the rate at which the cell phone replaced the pager.) Traveler 9 extends this technology to Domino servers running on the IBM iSeries platform. Mobile device support will be increased to include BlackBerry 10 and Windows 8 phones and tablets. Administrators will have tighter control over corporate data being synchronized with an Android or iPhone. Overall, Traveler 9 takes a solid mobile solution and propels it to the next level.
IBM Introduced Traveler High Availability with the release of 8.5.3 Upgrade Pack 1, which provides system redundancy within the Traveler solution. The key difference between Traveler and Traveler High Availability is the underlying database used to synchronize Domino e-mail with the mobile devices. For High Availability the database is migrated to an external relational database, either DB2 or SQL.
We were especially pleased to have the lead developers on the Traveler team come to our booth, specifically to meet us and see what we were doing with Traveler Monitoring and VitalSigns. For two years in a row now, features that we had requested showed up in the shipping Traveler code. Thanks guys!!
Connect 2013 streamed the live unveiling of BlackBerry 10. Talk about a week of name changes. Among the technical announcements, it was also announced that the company name is now BlackBerry, traded on NASDAQ as BBRY. Not expecting to be wowed, I attended the launch thinking perhaps it would be the last BlackBerry event I’d ever attend. Alas, I was too hasty in declaring BlackBerry dead! BlackBerry 10 came out swinging, and they demoed some very impressive innovations and advances. If you haven’t seen a BlackBerry 10 device, at least take a look. They have some very talented developers on their team for sure.
BlackBerry 10 will be offered on two handheld devices, the Z and Q. While the Q model has the physical keyboard that BlackBerry enthusiasts adore, the Z model is a complete touch screen device. From a functionality perspective the 10 platform allows the user to have up to 8 applications at a time and seamlessly move between them as needed. Further, for BlackBerry devices connected to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the device will be divided into a personal and work side, known as Balance. Information on the work side is encrypted and cannot be shared with the personal applications.
Major changes are also coming with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. BES 10 will no longer run under the umbrella of IBM Domino as an add-in task. Rather, it has been re-architected such that BES will communicate with the Traveler 9 task, either installed on the same box as the Domino server or on a completely separate server. With either configuration Domino administrators are no longer tied to keeping Domino at 32 bit in order to run BES. Further, while the BlackBerry 10 device can synchronize directly with Traveler, Balance will only be available with BES.
Beginning in March, the BlackBerry 10 devices will be available in the United States for playing Angry Birds, synchronizing your Domino e-mail and using over 70,000 other applications.
Some things never change - the quality of Notes and the impact of good people
Scheduled for release in March of 2013 the following provides a brief overview of what is in store.
The IBM Notes 9 client has a number of enhancements in terms of usability. A great new keyboard shortcut is CTRL+Shift+ V, which will paste the contents of the clipboard in plain text. This means the hidden HTML tags are removed when pasting a subset of a web page into a Notes e-mail. There are a number of other new shortcuts and they are easier to find with the improved context sensitive help. For those that archive e-mail, it is now a built in feature to search mail and archive databases simultaneously. Type ahead can now be configured to prefer the Server vs. Local address book. These are just a couple of the many new features in the cleaner and crisper Notes 9 client.
And what does “Social Edition” mean? Notes 9 allows the user to include social applications within the Notes user interface. Social is to business today what an interactive web site was 5 years ago. In order to move forward businesses will need to leverage social tools, and what better way to do that than by allowing your users to connect with your customers via an embedded interface in the Notes 9 client.
The biggest improvements with the Domino Server are with regards to SAML support and the browser plugin. SAML allows for tight integration with Active Directory, ultimately providing single sign on. The browser plugin allows for users of Internet Explorer and Firefox to interact with Notes applications in a fashion that is in line with the native Notes client. Hence, without expensive web enablement projects an application can be made available to a web browser. Further, the iNotes experience is richer and the included features are closer to that of a Notes mail client.
IBM’s acquisition of Kenexa was highly evident on the showcase floor. This acquisition highlights the value of securing the right key staff augmentations to build organizational success. Kenexa is a human resource management company that leverages social business to produce results. Whether you are leveraging your social net or still using your personnel department the right people will still mean the difference between success and failure.
….and finally, one place that surely has not changed:
the lobby bar at the Dolphin. It was packed the whole time!