Friday, January 29, 2010

Social Software from Haifa Research Lab Shines at Lotusphere

Social analytics software from IBM's Haifa Research Lab (HRL) was front and center at the opening session of Lotusphere this year. A demo of the next version of Lotus Connections showed off recommender widgets from HRL. Even more ambitious recommender systems and social analytics based on work from Haifa were envisioned for Vulcan -- the bleuprint for the future of collaboration that Lotus unveiled later in the session.

What people saw was based on SaND, a platform developed by HRL for mining and aggregating social data across multiple data sources in an enterprise. The result is a rich model of relationships among people, content and tags, which search engines, recommender systems, expertise locators, social network analysis systems and visualizations can tap into. For example, the content recommender widget in Lb Connections Next suggests items such as wikis, blog entries, bookmarks, and communities based on the relationships it detects. Detailed explanations for each recommendation explains why it is being suggested. SaND is already used by many IBM projects world-wide.

In the Innovation Lab attendees also got a peek at DUNE (Desktop Unified with Enterprise). DUNE — a first step towards aggregation across the entire Lotus Portfolio — collects social data across Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime in addition to Connections. SaND also has the capability to extend beyond IBM to external products.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Research Talk at Lotusphere Focuses on Enterprise Health and Many Bills

In their Research talk at Lotusphere, IBM Center for Social Software Director Irene Greif and Researcher David Millen highlighted new work from the Center. In the area of enterprise social software, they reported on the latest adoption and assessment studies, including new dashboards for community health, Vivacity and BlogMuse (both seen in the Innovation Lab).

Vivacity shows a variety of ways people are contributing in Connections, and highlights the concept of "Return on Content" as a way to measure impact and understand the relative value of different kinds of contributions, such as status updates, profile changes, blog or wiki entries. BlogMuse encourages people to contribute in meaningful ways to enterprise blogs.

Federal legislation is a hot topic these days, and the Center's latest work on visualization, dubbed Many Bills, tackles the challenges of government transparency and citizen participation by helping people navigate and understand large, complex documents, then communicate with others about them. While Many Bills focuses on government, the work has strong implications for business communities, as well.

Many Bills, tackling the challenges of government transparency and citizen participation.

LotusLive Labs: Trying Out New Technologies from IBM Research

LotusLive Labs was announced Monday at Lotusphere and demoed throughout the week in other talks and in the Innovation Lab. LotusLive Labs is a collaboration between IBM Research and LotusLive that lets users evaluate experimental IBM Research technologies that are integrated with LotusLive. It's another route to market for Venture Research, and opens today with several social and collaborative applications. Slides can be shared individually or in decks, so that people can easily create new presentations from material already available in their organization. Meetings can be recorded, but more importantly can be tagged for later reference, making it easy to skip to just the parts that are proving to be of most interest. Eventmaps, an interactive way to visualize conference schedules, was available to plan attendance at Lotusphere, and Composer lets you create LotusLive mashups by combining LotusLive services. Later this year, Concord, collaborative, real-time document-authoring technology from the IBM China Research Lab, will be available on LotusLive Labs. This set of Web-based editors will let multiple authors create and edit documents on-line in real-time, making them relevant, accurate and up-to-date.

To read about the demos in the Innovation Lab sponsored by the Center for Social Software, click here.

Glimpsing the Future of Social Software at Lotusphere

Lotus customers got a glimpse of the future of social software at Lotusphere this week. Lotusphere draws thousands of Lotus customers, business partners, and press every year who gather to learn about what's new from Lotus. In the Innovation Lab sponsored by the Center for Social Software, members of IBM Research, Lotus, and IBM's CIO office showed off 20 leading-edge projects designed to help people work together.

One of the new social prototypes that visitors saw was the Visual Backchannel, which we aimed at Lotusphere itself. The Visual Backchannel shows what people are talking about at a large-scale event by visualizing tweets as wordclouds and topical streams in real-time. The visualizations are interactive, so attendees can select a topic, word or phrase and then drill down to specific messages, people and images. Enhancements that will let people conduct polls and form impromptu groups around topics of interest are already in the works. The picture below shows exactly when in the opening session on Monday, the Project Vulcan was announced and how twittering about the new vision from Lotus continued throughout the day. Vulcan -- IBM's next generation collaboration platform -- adds business and social analytics capabilities to Notes and other applications in the current Lotus portfolio.

The Visual Backchannel shows what people are talking about at a large-scale event

To see descriptions of all the demos shown in the Innovation Lab, click here.

Why oh Why?

Millions of people are familiar with Many Eyes, the tool that Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg created to help users make sense of data by visualizing it. In this New York Op Ed piece, Fernanda and Martin take a turn at asking seasonal questions and using Many Eyes to find out which ones people are asking most often on the web.

Try it out here.

Courtesy of the New York Times