RealTime IT News

Lotus Users Get a Mobile Collaboration Tool

Users of IBM's Lotus Connections software can now take this social networking tool on the road if they've got a BlackBerry in hand.

The initial beta, previewed this week and available as a free download later this year, includes two of the five services in the Lotus Connections package, which IBM launched a year ago.

BlackBerry customers can use the software to search for experts on internal matters and use Dogear to find colleagues' "pre-vetted" bookmarks using tag search and add them on their mobile devices.

The remaining three Connection services -- blogging, community, and activities -- will be in the next mobile client version later this year, said Chris Lamb, marketing manager for Lotus Connections.

On the IT side, administrators have the same security and management capabilities with the mobile client as they have with the desktop client, IBM reported.

The BlackBerry client uses the same push-based architecture, security and administration features of the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, as well as the controls for enabling mobile access to Lotus Connections.

IBM said that the mobile client, the first for its year-old desktop-collaboration application, is indicative of today's business expectations.

"We've had a good relationship" with Research In Motion (RIM), Lamb told InternetNews.com. "They have a large share of the market, and there is a good overlap between our customers and theirs," he added.

Meanwhile, RIM, which recently updated its BlackBerry enterprise server said the BlackBerry add-on provides a useful communications capability for its enterprise customers.

RIM believes its Lotus users want the same social networking capabilities in and outside of the office.

"This augments the e-mail capability users need and provides an effective corporate social networking experience," David Heit, RIM's director of enterprise product management, told InternetNews.com.

"BlackBerry is the killer application when a user is away from the office," Lamb said. "With this client users can tap into their professional networks and provide customer support whenever needed."