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.