IBM offers sneak peek at Lotusphere 2009

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IBM offers sneak peek at Lotusphere 2009
IBM's annual Lotusphere customer and partner event opens next week in Orlando, and the company has been revealing the new offerings it has in store and how it will continue its onslaught against rival Microsoft Exchange.

IBM confirmed to that there will be four new product announcements at the event, and that new online collaboration services will be unveiled.

IBM Lotus programme director Chris Reckling plans to demonstrate how new social software tools are needed to meet new communication challenges.

"These days, it's more important than ever to tap into the power of the community," he said on the IBM web site.

IBM is also likely to build on its launch of the Lotus Sametime Unyte web conferencing system launched late last year. The firm said at the time that it plans to integrate the system with Lotus Notes to allow people working in emails to join conferences quickly, but few details have been released so far.

Also at Lotusphere, IBM will tell customers more about the benefits they can expect from its purchase of online messaging and collaboration service provider Outblaze, announced on Thursday.

IBM plans to integrate the new purchase with its Bluehouse social networking and collaboration project, which allows users to share contacts, files and project activities, and interact with chat and web meetings.

Bluehouse, along with Lotus Foundations and Lotus Mashups, were the big stories at Lotusphere 2008, and IBM is likely to demonstrate a few successful case studies of the products this time round.

Lotus Mashups is a tool that provides a way to develop composite applications, while Lotus Foundations is a package for small firms designed to ease deployment of Lotus software.

Lotus Software general manager Bob Picciano, who has replaced Michael Rhodin since last year's event, will take questions from the press on Monday and is expected to announce more details.

Lotusphere runs from 18 to 22 January in Orlando.

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