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IBM moves into social networking in the cloud

LotusLive Engage aims to offer easy-to-use applications with high-security features so a company can get its employees working together outside its firewall
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor on

IBM on Wednesday launched a collaboration and social-networking cloud service called LotusLive Engage.

The LotusLive Engage tools are intended to make it easier for companies to help employees to work together, no matter where in the world they may be working, IBM said. Most importantly, an organisation can allow its employees to collaborate outside its firewall, with each other and with clients and partners.

Using the service, in-house Lotus applications can be linked to LotusLive applications running in the cloud — an integrated approach that IBM calls 'Click to Cloud'. The aim, said IBM, is for a company's employees to be able to move their focus easily from inside the office, or wherever they may be working, to the web and back.

'Click to Cloud' will make it easier to bridge the firewall by helping employees move from the in-house computer through the cloud," Darren Adams, messaging and collaboration business leader at IBM, told ZDNet UK. "This is a classic SaaS [software-as-a-service] application."

The LotusLive Engage suite provides companies with online collaboration tools such as Live Meeting, File Sharing and Activity, which tracks project tasks. On the social-networking side, it offers Content Collector, which helps manage email and instant messaging.

However, the cloud service will currently work only with IBM Lotus software. "There are plans to perhaps include Microsoft Outlook and the like, but nothing is settled yet," said Adams.

LotusLive Engage is scheduled to be made available on 7 April. Pricing has not been settled yet — IBM would only say, in a statement, that it will be based on a subscription model.

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