IBM Readies Lotus Notes 6.5
IBM's Lotus unit will this month update its Lotus Notes messaging client by adding integration with instant messaging and in-box tools designed to counter e-mail overload.
By integrating IM with e-mail, IBM is embarking on a path that competitors--namely Microsoft--have indicated they are pursuing as well.
Leveraging the power of "presence awareness," Lotus Notes 6.5 will bring Lotus Instant Messaging and its related presence capabilities into the Notes interface. The Notes 6.5 welcome page will display the IM contact list, and all names throughout Notes will carry presence-awareness information such as whether someone is online and their availability status.
IM is "better inside the Notes client," says Alan Lepofsky, IBM product marketing manager. "Anytime you see a name, you can interact with it."
The updated Notes version features a toolbar specifically for IM-related tasks, such as starting a meeting, initiating a chat session, or adding a contact name.
In an effort to better control IM contact lists, IBM has added a feature to dynamically update such lists from e-mail messages. When a user opens a document in Notes from someone on their IM contact list, Notes temporarily populates the IM contact list with the sender's name and information from the subject line of the e-mail, Lepofsky says.
New in-box features in Lotus Notes 6.5 include the capability to drag and drop items such as e-mail messages and documents from the in-box to the calendar and to-do list sections. The update also automatically files junk mail into separate folders and provides flags to mark important e-mails and to indicate whether an e-mail has been forwarded or answered.
Version 6.5 also includes improvements to the Lotus Workplace welcome page. For example, it now extends searches to Web sites, Notes domain catalogs, servers, databases, and local server replicas. The update also provides the capability to launch applications, documents, databases, and Web sites from within the Workplace.