Lotusphere 2010: IBM has announced a Labs extension to LotusLive that will allow customers to trial new functionality within the cloud collaboration suite.
LotusLive Labs will be run by a software development team that will focus on cloud computing innovation, the firm said.
"The general idea is to provide an accelerated research and development pipeline," said Lotus chief technology officer Charlie Hill.
Big Blue made the announcement at Lotusphere, its customer and partner event taking place this week in Orlando, Florida.
IBM said that LotusLive Labs will showcase the company's latest cloud computing ideas to customers, developers and partners from within their LotusLive platform.
"The way it works is that, if an organisation wants to expose Labs to their staff, users can plug the working software into the fabric of LotusLive as an extension," explained Hill.
"This is useful as it tightens the relationship between end users and researchers, and allows customers to directly provide feedback. So it's like the Firefox plug-ins, but there is more of ecosystem in bringing the ideas to life in a real business context."
Some innovations will be immediately available from LotusLive Labs including Slide Library, a way for customers to build and share presentations; Collaborative Recorded Meetings, a service that records and instantly transcribes meeting presentations and audio; Event Maps, a conference schedule visualisation tool; and Compose, a tool that allows users to create mashups of different LotusLive services.
IBM LotusLive Labs will also announce Project Concord later this year, which will allow multiple authors to collaborate on documents in real time.
LotusLive Labs will be made available to partners in the future. "Partners will be able to take advantage of the open ecosystem and produce products that customers can then add on," said Hill.
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