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strategy is single server, single administrative'
is no longer just a communication tool—it is increasingly
being used for business processes. Collaboration and messaging
tools are increasingly gaining significance in the corporate
world. Edward Brill, Director, Core Infrastructure,
Marketing Messaging & Collaboration Products, Lotus Development
tells Network Magazine how Lotus is adapting its products
to address market requirements. He gives a sneak peek at
the upcoming release of Lotus Notes and Domino
aim is to move e-mail from being task-centric to being more
are the key trends you have observed in the area of Messaging?
Earlier e-mail used to be the domain of those who were running
an e-business, but now it is used by everyone involved in
business. Around 18-24 months ago we noticed that both commercial
and government organisations were using e-mail, not just
for communication, but also for operations. E-mail is now
used for things like process management, for seeking advice
or taking initiatives on new products, company strategies,
and so on. This means messaging needs to be up and running
24 hours a day, and needs to be accessible from any device.
We also noticed that messaging is used by two kinds of users
knowledge workers, those who run the business and make decisions,
and those whose work is operational in nature.
The other trend that we notice is that the industry is becoming
highly conscious about cost as well as value driving Total
Cost of Ownership (TCO) down is as important as deriving
value from investments.
Having a messaging system that does much more than e-mail
will help businesses derive a whole lot of value.
We have also noticed that synchronous or real-time messaging
(Instant Messaging) is becoming as important as asynchronous
How is Lotus adapting its products to address market
We have adapted our products in line with these trends by
providing technology for both types of users. We announced
our strategy to segment client access to the Domino Collaboration
Server into three brands: Notes, iNotes and Mobile Notes.
The decision maker will continue to use the Notes client.
We have observed that productivity and knowledge workers
are trying to standardise on a browser, so iNotes was designed
to provide the best capabilities to a browser user. Features
that were previously available only in Notes are now available
in a browser model.
Here's how it works: the Integration Manager allows the
user to download a Notes application from the Domino server
and work locally in offline mode. This saves on bandwidth.
The browser gets an online/offline button to enable the
user to work in connected or disconnected mode. Since the
user works from a browser it no longer becomes necessary
to deploy a Notes client on the user's desktop.
We have a third product called Mobile Notes which is meant
for mobile and pervasive devices. We are writing code for
specific devices (like mobile phones and Palm computers)
to enable users to download applications from the Domino
server and work from these devices.
Our strategy is single server-single administrative: The
Domino server will talk to Notes clients running anywhere,
on any device. We are also trying to address Centralised
Messaging, i.e. not having to deploy software clients to
the desktop unless it makes sense for a user to have it.
For synchronous messaging we have a product called Lotus
Why isn't your Sametime instant messaging product as
popular as ICQ or MSN Messenger?
Sametime does not compete in the consumer space. This is
a Corporate product. The instant messaging products that
you mentioned are more popular because they are easier to
deploy on desktops, and can take over virally in a company
Sametime offers centralised scalability, secure messaging
(with encryption) and real-time collaboration for e-business.
Can Sametime communicate with MSN Messenger or AOL instant
We understand that there is a market requirement for doing
this, so we are in talks with Microsoft and AOL. We recently
did some interoperability testing with AOL on a protocol
called SIMPLE (Session Initiation Protocol for Instant Messaging
and Presence Leveraging). This is one of the instant messaging
standards currently being considered by the Internet Engineering
Task Force (IETF). The testing involves two distinct instant
messaging systems, AOL's AIM and Lotus Sametime.
What are the unique features of the next version of Domino
The upcoming version of Notes, Domino and Designer is code
named Rnext; it is expected next year.
Lotus has a base of 81 million users for Notes and Domino
world-wide. So we first address the needs of existing users
and then pursue new markets. Our user base wants to protect
their investments so we are making Rnext consistent with
previous releases of Notes and Domino. That's important
from a TCO perspective.
We are also building enterprise-class technology into the
product. Rnext will address the need to provide richer integration
between business applications, both internally and between
partners. We're doing things like integrating Tivoli with
Domino. We'll allow Windows 2000 users to use Active Directory
instead of Lotus Directory (if they choose to do so). You'll
be able to manage Domino from Microsoft Management Console
(MMC) instead of using our own administrative tools.
Our focus is to make the product more centralised and scalable.
When you run applications in a decentralised environment,
the costs go up, because there are several servers and a
lot of connectivity.
With Rnext we also want to make changes to the interface.
These will not be radical changes but the product interface
will look more like other popular (desktop) products.
For the Notes client, we are looking at extending its mobility
so you can take more documents with you (on the road) and
When will these new products be available in India?
This is an important market for us. The market for Notes
and Domino grows at 20 percent per annum in India.
Rnext will be launched next year. iNotes has already been
launched in some markets and we will soon launch it here.
Mobile Notes should be available by the end of this year.
You were involved in the mission to migrate users from
BITNET to SMTP at Indiana University. How is SMTP an improvement
over BITNET? What's lacking in SMTP? How can an e-mail system
In the 80's universities used BITNET for electronic communication.
It was a store and forward technology that passed through
a series of servers. Obviously, it wasn't very efficient.
SMTP is based on TCP/IP protocols. SMTP messages are transmitted
more quickly since they pass through routers, not intermediate
The thing that is lacking right now is a Universal Directory
or Meta Level directories.
We are trying to add value to e-mail with automation technology
that's more task oriented. Rnext includes a technology called
Swift File. It studies all your e-mail folders and does
a text analysis on all messages. Messages are then automatically
stored in their respective folders. When one gets 60 - 100
messages a day, a feature like this can certainly improve
productivity. Our aim is to move e-mail from being task-centric
to being more process-centric.
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