One of the strange things about this Lotusphere is that there’s no big Notes / Domino announcements. I suppose it’s all about timing – Notes / Domino 8.5 have just shipped, and it’s too early to feature Notes 9. That’s not to say there aren’t any sessions on Notes / Domino… there are… loads, and they focus on topics as diverse as XPages for building Web 2.0 applications to deploying and administering Notes / Domino in efficient and cost-effective manners.

The big announcements and the most visible glimpses of the future have been around Connections 2.5, Sametime 8.5, Sametime Unified Telephony, LotusLive solutions and various bits and pieces surfacing on the iPhone.

However, if you know where to look you’ll find some info on the future of Notes. Yesterday I attended a session on new features in Notes 8.5 – although I knew most of it I picked up some new info, such as how to install and wire in a new plugin to integrate with LinkedIn. But the whole session was made really worthwhile with the brief tour of some future ideas. Jeff Eisen demoed a preview of tasks (to-dos) on the Notes sidebar, showing how easy it was to create and manipulate tasks. The really cool part was when he went into a new e-mail and inserted a new task (could be plural… tasks) into the body of an e-mail, explaining that the recipient would see those tasks moved into their own to-do list and become part of a task workflow process.

Right now I’m sitting in a session about e-mail archiving – important stuff as it relates to cost of ownership and also personal productivity – and as well as covering the current options they’ve spent a lot of time talking about things being done to make archiving easier, making the archives more seamlessly integrated with the user’s mail box and making it easier to find and access archived data. It’s great stuff and shows that the development teams are constantly pushing ahead with improvements in so many aspects of the product.

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