IBM makes play at reimagining the inbox with Verse

Much like Google's Inbox or Dropbox’s Mailbox, Verse is IBM’s play at reinventing the e-mail inbox.


If there is one piece of archaic but necessary technology that is more hotly debated — and detested — than the password, it is the email inbox.

Much like Google's Inbox or Dropbox’s Mailbox, Verse is IBM’s play at reinventing the e-mail inbox.

Carolyn Pampino, design director for IBM’s enterprise social solutions, outlined via telephone last week about how IBM Verse stems from CEO Virginia Rometty’s push for a reinvestment and upgrade in IBM’s heritage in design.

Pampino, herself, recalled a conference several years back where she once quipped, "Email, now there’s a content management problem if I’ve ever wanted to solve it.”

"The mail experience hasn’t been reimagined since it was invented,” Pampino lamented, characterizing email as it currently stands as "a flat list of stuff coming at you.”

IBM is aiming to differentiate Verse with what Pampino stressed as "more of a focus on people” and relevant conversations in the workplace. "It’s an easy and fast way to immediately filter on a person’s name,” she added.

The idea, Pampino simplified, is bringing fast search capabilities seen on consumer sites such as Amazon or any online retailer into the mail experience. IBM is also infusing a social element to Verse by promoting and incorporating relationships into the mail experience by offering data insights into other people on a given thread. Pampino suggested how these touches could motivate how an individual user engages with business email.


Pampino assures the mobile experience is the same as the desktop, allowing users to zoom into a person’s business card, track most important contacts and hone in on those messages. Verse will only be available for iOS and Android, and there aren’t plans to expand to any more mobile platforms at this time.

IBM Verse could also serve as glimpse at what is to come from Big Blue’s buzzed-about collaboration with Apple announced earlier this year.

"We are certainly talking with Apple around this and setting up some meetings to work with them on this particular app,” Pampino replied. "That announcement is part of a larger effort we have at IBM focusing on how we transform how people work and transforming the enterprise.”

Highlighting another recent data deal with Twitter , Pampino championed cloud-based IBM Verse as "another example of transforming how we work."

IBM Verse is launching in beta this month with the first group of users set to start using the program on November 25. IBM is targeting general availability for the end of the first quarter of 2015.

Earlier this month , IBM infused its smart technology further into its security portfolio.

Two hundred IBM engineers were tasked with building the Dynamic Cloud Security suite for cloud and on-premise deployments.

The portfolio's assets, which range from better visualization options to the IBM QRadar security analytics platform, are supposed to resolve gaps that could fall between on-premise and cloud-based apps as well as offer a bridge to Software-as-a-Service products and mobile devices.

Constructed for protecting user data and apps based in the cloud, IBM is really gearing this product toward corporations opting for hybrid cloud deployments, which is increasingly becoming the de facto (or at least generally accepted) cloud model.

Images via IBM