IBM has upgraded its hosted collaboration suite, LotusLive, with additional capabilities, including a revamped e-mail and calendaring service called LotusLive Notes, and a new set of collaboration tools, called Communities.
The newly unveiled LotusLive Notes, based on IBM's on-premise Lotus Notes software, features messaging, calendars, instant messaging and contacts. Users can deploy either a Web edition or thick-client software. Previously, LotusLive had offered Web-based e-mail for US$3 per user per month, but the new messaging/calendaring service starts at $5 per user per month. In the new plan, each user is allotted 25 gigabytes of storage.
Support for Notes applications has not been added yet, said Sean Poulley, vice president of IBM's online collaboration services. But the service can be integrated with an enterprise's in-house Lotus Notes deployment, using internal LotusLive capabilities and IBM's Tivoli Directory Integrator.
"No companies want to have two directories. No one wants double sign-on, but everyone has external requirements," Poulley said, noting that this integration would allow organizations to collaborate more easily outside their firewalls. "Most of what you can do in administrating mail, calendaring and scheduling in an on-premise environment, you can also administer LotusLive from the same Domino console."
LotusLive's other major new addition, Communities, might also be handy for cross-organization collaboration. It lets users interact via discussion forums, project-tracking tools, bookmarks, file sharing and information tagging. It closely resembles IBM's enterprise social-networking software Lotus Connections, though it does not include the ability to create blogs and wikis. Those tools may be available at a future date, Poulley said.
In addition to those enhancements, IBM has integrated LotusLive with Tungle's scheduling and calendar applications -- allowing LotusLive users to schedule meetings across different calendaring applications -- and with Bricsys' software for sharing, viewing and annotating documents, with support for more than 70 document types.
The entire LotusLive suite, which also comes with Web conferencing, costs $10 per user per month.