Salesforce1 re-energized with Lightning upgrade for connected apps

Salesforce1 gets a major refresh on its first birthday, bolstering the CRM giant's play for the Internet-of-Things.

SAN FRANCISCO---Salesforce.com is moving full speed ahead on its Internet-of-Things strategy through the launch of Lightning, unveiled at the cloud company’s annual Dreamforce summit on Tuesday.

Salesforce1, a cloud-based platform intended to serve as a foundation for building connected apps tied to mobile devices, wearables and big data, first debuted at Dreamforce 2013 last November as the SaaS provider's play for the Internet-of-Things movement.

For its own context, Salesforce characterizes this movement as the "Internet of Customers."

The unveiling of Lightning marks the second generation for the Salesforce1 platform.

Salesforce1 Lighting consists of the same set of technologies used internally by Salesforce itself to produce the Salesforce1 mobile app.

Now, Salesforce is extending access and support for that framework to its customers and partners so that they can use the exact same platform for building their own connected mobile apps.

The Salesforce1 mobile app is comprised of a set of components that as a user might seem simple and standard (i.e. a news feed, left-hand navigation, etc.), but might be daunting to build for the average sales and marketing team member.

"That’s a fundamentally different game from the way applications are currently being built,” asserted Scott Holden, vice president of platform marketing at Salesforce.com, last Thursday.

Thus, the Salesforce1 Lightning Framework is being touted as a one-stop, drag-and-drop dashboard designed to help customers who don’t know how to code build mobile apps with rich and engaging experiences faster.

"That’s a fundamentally different game from the way applications are currently being built,” asserted Scott Holden, vice president of platform marketing at Salesforce.com, last Thursday.

Holden highlighted the Salesforce1 deployment at Jack Daniels, explaining how developers for the global liquor brand build a company-specific app on top of the Salesforce1 platform that can be used from the warehouse to the shop floor.

For example, supply chain manufacturers can use the app upon inspection, recording updates about the product’s color, pH levels, alcohol proofs, and more. Holden noted all that used to be done from a clipboard, but now that data can be shared in real-time company-wide.

"When you think about this challenge, historically, that IT departments have, everyone wants to go faster,” Holden explained. "Our twist is that its not about speed of code. Its about speed to deliver products of the business to customers faster.”

Salesforce1 Lightning’s App Builder function is available only through pilot mode at the moment with 25 launch partners already participating building these individual, company-specific components.

Last week, the CRM giant got the ball rolling early with new introductions and upgrades for Sales Cloud1 and Service Cloud1 , bringing two cornerstones of Salesforce's cloud portfolio more in line with Salesforce1.

Many of the new Sales Cloud1 and Service Cloud1 features (such as the new Smarter Agent Console) will roll out this month through Salesforce’s winter release. Additional capabilities slated to follow in the spring release next February.

Salesforce kicked things into higher gear on Monday with the unveiling of Project Wave as part of the Salesforce Analytics Cloud in a move that broadens its platform for more business use cases and applications while aiming to make data fun and intuitive for the masses.

The Salesforce1 Lightning Framework is available now. The App Builder, in pilot mode now, will follow into general availability with the spring release in February as well.

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