Today IBM announces new mobile apps for IBM Connections that continue to provide seamless, contextual sharing no matter where you are or what device you are using.

IBM sits at the top of pretty much every analyst report for social capabilities. And there's a good reason for that. IBM has watched and listened to its users and it understands that social is not an add-on feature, it should be ingrained into work processes helping users be more efficient and effective.

IBM Connections, IBM's social networking software, is integrated across business systems. Now, it offers even greater mobile capabilities for all of the major smartphone devices. IBM's VP Social Software, Jeff Schick spoke with us about the new mobile capabilities and social business at IBM.

Connections Mobile Apps for All

Connections now offers enterprise grade secure mobile apps for the Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices. Available as mobile apps in their respective App Stores, you get a range of social networking capabilities including:

  • File Sharing
  • Photo Sharing
  • Profiles
  • Activity Streams
  • Blogs
  • Ideation

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Connections Home Page Status Update Connections
 

Connections still offers a mobile web browsing experience. According to Schick, some things are better as a native app, some in the mobile browser. IBM wants to ensure that whatever, the approach, users will have the best mobile experience possible.

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Connections - Ideation

For Android Users - Better Communications

But there's more to this news today than Connections capability on the mobile device.  Additional Android capabilities released include:

  • Full click to call capability for Android calendar: Available in beta, people using Lotus Notes Traveler can now click on a name within their calendar app and place the call directly.
  • Unified Communications: Along with presence awareness and instant messaging, Android users now have text to speech, can send photos through Sametime chats and have automatic location status updates.
  • Meetings in the cloud: LotusLive Meetings is expected to support Android later this year.

There's also some new functionality for BlackBerry users: IBM Sametime meetings are now supported.

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Blackberry Homepage

Any Smartphone, Your Smartphone

It's not enough for organizations to say they will support a particular smartphone. Employees expect to be able to use their own device for work, and that could mean an iPhone, a BlackBerry, an Android. So you let them use their device of choice and things seem to work fine. But what happens when an employee leaves the company? What happens to the information stored on their device?

What happens is you have to completely wipe the device to ensure that no company information is taken with them. Until now. Today, IBM offers partial wipe for Apple iOS devices. This means that an administrator can ensure that company specific data stored using Lotus Notes Traveler (email, contacts and calendaring) can be removed without also wiping personal content like photos, videos and games. A full wipe is still available if needed.

Social Business at IBM

Schick talked to us about the importance of Lotus technologies for social business. But it isn't all about that product line. Connections, Cognos Consumer Insight are also important technologies that support IBM's focus on Social Business.

According to Schick, social has outpaced and overtaken email as the primary communication tool. What that means though, is that to support enterprises and heavily regulated industries, you need to ensure that social software can be monitored and is well governed. We saw IBM's new compliance capabilities for Connections that helps to do just that -- a key selling point for the software.

It's also important for IBM that it continues to build its solutions on an open architecture and open APIs, allowing the software to be easily integrated into business processes -- a fundamental element across all software including business intelligence, communications, industry solutions, systems management and more.

Today, it's all about social business -- if you want to thrive and compete. IBM offers the tools to help you make social a fundamental part of the way your employees work. It's not an add-on, not an afterthought. And that is the type of software you need to truly become a social business.