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IBM Think Review 2 – ICS Announcements (Excepting App Dev)

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There were a host of announcements at IBM Think, some of which I may have missed. But I’ll cover all the ones I did catch here. I will leave Domino app dev for a separate blog post covering everything announced about V10 to date as well as my thoughts about what they mean to all kinds of Domino developers.

Watson Workspace

Workspace Plus including Zoom entitlement was announced the week before IBM Think in Orlando (yes, conferences do still take place in Orlando!). Zoom has emerged as a best of breed audio video offering and disruptive technology. For those not aware, the team behind it used to work for WebEx before it was acquired. Disillusioned by the inability to develop their software in the direction they desired, some left Cisco and Zoom emerged. As someone who has used the product for a little while and used it within the context of Watson Workspace, I’m very impressed and haven’t come across anyone who is not. Like Watson Workspace, neither are fettered by the need to support legacy and both are able to leverage modern technologies that offer advantages (HTML5 for Zoom, GraphQL for Watson Workspace).

Watson Workspace Plus will also include templates, which provide a sidebar area for integration of custom applications into Workspace. Think of it as a mini custom multi-application portal that’s people-oriented with discussion, collaboration, cognitive extensions and history to be spun up as required. It’s still very early for this, but it looks a very interesting option for businesses. It’s certainly a differentiator to Slack (I don’t know if MS Teams is planning this kind of extensibility) but the kind of integration point that’s needed to appeal to existing ICS Customers.

Connections

Connections Grid (previously Project Live Grid) was launched, an add-on to IBM Connections. I missed the sessions on it, but it’s been covered at various sessions and conferences over the last year and will I’m sure be covered more at Social Connections next month.

Relevant for European business partners and customers, GDPR support will be also provided whether in the cloud or on premises. The functionality will be available in advance of the May deadline for companies to test.

Zoom integration will also be available in IBM Connections, in communities, which will also have integration with Watson Workspace. It will be interesting to see this in action, but again could increase adoption of Watson Workspace, providing a cohesive toolset across the two offerings.

Domino V10 and Email / Calendaring

Domino V10 announcements are evidently taking an innovative approach. Gone are the roadmaps kept under wraps and only announced at the main conference, then reiterated at conferences throughout the year. The new approach is to announce intriguing new features and add more announcements at subsequent events. This is resulting in the kind of buzz around the products that has not been seem for many years. Bearing in mind the planned beta and announced delivery timeframe, I expect more announcements at Engage but probably not much more after that.

V10 will include enhancements for Notes client email and Verse on Premises. It’s unclear at this stage whether the enhancements to Notes client email (e.g. forward multiple emails as attachments, errors / warnings and hook for before mail send, delayed or timed delivery, group by sender) will be client only or Verse as well. But it would not be great if Verse slips further behind the functionality of client. There are also new features around forwarding invites, managed by the chair unlike in other calendaring solutions to ensure proper governance of the meeting by the chair. The challenge of supporting Notes client, iNotes and Verse though will need addressing at some point to avoid significant overhead to delivering new features.

Team calendar functionality was also announced to see all calendars for a team. It will be interesting to see if this provides the kind of benefits for customers that allow the mail migration debate to focus on features rather than fashion.

Verse on premises will get some additional enhancements like archiving rules, more offline history, processing .ics files from Verse etc.

Domino V10 will also introduce a new update process, the base work for which was included in 9.0.1 FP10. So if you’re on that version or higher, the new update process can be used. The update process is one already in use for cloud and will allow admins to push updates but for timing to be controlled by end users with admin override. It will include innovative approaches to managing bandwidth and number of updates. Some heavy but under-used features like feed reader, open social components and embedded experiences will be removed by HCL. Bearing in mind embedded experiences don’t to my knowledge work in iNotes and Verse, and I’m not aware of a developer using them, it makes sense.

Sametime V10

It was announced that in the future Sametime releases will be coordinated with Domino releases. Sametime 10 will bring updates to Community Server, support for entitlement to Sametime on mobile / web, and simultaneous client logins. It will be interesting to see if there are any further Sametime announcements at Engage. 

AUTHOR - Paul Withers

Paul Withers has been an IBM Champion since 2011, has been an OpenNTF Board Member since 2013, has worked with XPages since 2009, co-authored XPages Extension Library and was technical editor for Mastering XPages 2nd Edition. He is one of the developers on OpenNTF Domino API as well as contributor to a variety of other OpenNTF projects.

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