Lotusphere ’08 opening general session – live

(11:05 EST, 16:05 UK) – I’m waiting for the opening general sesison to start… like many of our UKISA colleagues I’m attending the re-run, necessary because the numbers this year mean they couldn’t accomodate everyone in one go. It looks like it’s going to start late as many people are still coming in and trying to find seats. This is supposed to be half the attendees, yet the room looks full.

(11:21 EST, 16:21 UK) – the symphony (ho ho) orchestra have completed an outstanding set and preparations are being made for Mike Rhodin to enter the stage.

(11:23 EST, 16:23 UK) – Mike arrives and cracks the symphony gag. He then says that the first run of the session this morning was a rehearsal, and goes on to explain the theme of ‘Emergence’ (getting the big picture from patterns and using it to your advantage).

(11:27 EST, 16:27 UK) – the guest speaker is Bob Costas, a sports commentator. Well done to everyone who said it was going to be William Shatner.

(11:43 EST, 16:43 UK) – Mike Rhodin has returned to the stage and is discussing modes of collaboration.

(11:55 EST, 16:55 UK) – no announcements yet, but the ground has been set for Lotus Connections, composite applications and mobile working. Oh, an announcement that Lotus and RIM will work more closely on content and applications.

(11:58 EST, 16:58 UK) – Dr Vishal Sikka, the CTO of SAP comes to the stage. ‘Atlantic’ will allow Lotus Notes to access key SAP applications. Ron Sebastian (of course) provides a demo of a composite application.

(12:03 EST, 17:03 UK) – Alistair Rennie arrives to talk about Notes and Domino. He is joined by Russ Holden and Jeff Eisen for a light-hearted debate. Jeff talks about Notes on the Mac, Ubuntu Linux and Traveler (including iPhone support).

(12:07 EST, 17:07 UK) – Russ counters with improvements on the Domino server (storage and performance), and the new Domino Web Access Lite. Jeff then talks about ‘My Widgets’ which Ron demos along with Quickr integration and new calendar scheduling options.

(12:15 EST, 17:15 UK) – Ron demos Domino Web Access Lite and the iPhone edition.

(12:17 EST, 17:17 UK) – Russ discusses Domino 8.5 – directory freedom, Notes ID vault, and reducing file attachment storage. Also, a new appliance for Domino virus and spam protection. And then, Web 2.0 for the Domino server. Maureen Leland comes on to talk about improvements to building and rendering web applications, and demos improvements to the Domino Designer (which will be an Eclipse application in 8.5).

(12:25 EST, 17:25 UK) – Kevin Cavanaugh arrives to talk about Symphony. He says that it allows businesses to move away from proprietary document formats and strangle-held budgets. He then announces that beta 4 will provide new APIs to extend Symphony’s functionality.

(12:30 EST, 17:30 UK) – Bruce Morse wishes Sametime a happy 10th birthday. Outlook users made up a third of new Sametime customers in 2007. Sametime Advanced and Sametime Unified Telephony are discussed, and Ron provides a demo.

(12:42 EST, 17:42 UK) – it’s Portal time with Larry Bowden. He says that Websphere Portal has been #1 in the market for a decade. Larry talks about portal-based dashboards providing content to Quickr, Sametime and Notes. And another set of demos from Ron – Portal / Connections integration, embedding of rich media, tear-away portlets, integration with Forms, a Forms web-based designer (Total Forms)… crikey, loads there.

(12:53 EST, 17:53 UK) – it’s Jeff Schick to talk about social networking (and probably Connections). He also talks about Quickr – clearly a move to couple the two more closely – and says that version 8.1 will add more value, especially to Lotus Domino customers. Integration with FileNet and Content Manager is discussed. Ron gets a break from the demo and Suzanne Minassian takes over. ‘My Files’ and the media library are demoed.

(13:04 EST, 18:04 UK) – back to Jeff for an announcement of on-the-fly language translation for Connections, And here we go, Connections 2… customisation, attention management, widgets and mash-ups, Atlas for Lotus Connections (visualisation), off-line access / synchronisation, and mobile access. Suzanne demos.

(13:14 EST, 18:14 UK) – Jeff talks mash-ups. “Makes SOA work the desktop”. Jeff announces Lotus Mashups, a graphical browser-based tool for application assembly.based on open standards. Suzanne demos, building an application that starts as an organisation chart but then includes salary and HR data. Funky.

(13:19 EST, 18:19 UK) – back to Mike. Big drum roll followed by a big SMB announcement… Lotus Foundations, a collection of integrated servers for all-encompassing services. Mike then pulled a Domino-configured Nitix server from an envelope. And then ‘Bluehouse’, solutions for small businesses. Another demo from Ron.

That’s it… a lot there, I could hardly keep up.

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