LotusLIve Symphony to offer online document editing and collaboration

This was one of my favourite announcements at today’s Lotusphere (#ls11) OGS – the planned release of LotusLive Symphony, a production version of IBM’s Project Concord research project.

Ed kicks us off:

Today IBM announced LotusLive Symphony, a revolution in online collaborative document editing.  With a preview release later this quarter and final release later this year, LotusLive Symphony delivers word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations for users looking to improve efficiency and collaboration during the content authoring process.  Like all of the LotusLive story, one of the unique differentiators for LotusLive Symphony is its ability to provide that value to interactions with customers, suppliers, and business partners in addition to colleagues within an organization.

In our mind, document editing is about more than cell formulas, formatting, and animation.  LotusLive Symphony offers capabilities such as real-time or private co-editing, live sections, author presence awareness, contextual commenting, assignment and notifications, and task and attention management cues.  Initially designed for use with LotusLive, we are also exploring ways to deliver these capabilities in an on-premises environment through an initial customer partnership.

We announced LotusLive Symphony a year ago as Project “Concord”, and now have made significant progress and are ready for Technical Preview release 2.  That will go live on Greenhouse.lotus.com after Lotusphere.

eWeek covered the announcement well:

LotusLive Symphony in the Cloud complements its on-premise, free of charge, office productivity suite, IBM Lotus Symphony. IBM has seen more than 50 million downloads of Lotus Symphony, and recently introduced updates including tighter integrations with the desktop to LotusLive allowing users to click to the cloud to get, save, share and collaborate on documents.  

National Bank TRUST is a social business using Symphony to collaborate on documents and transform their business processes, IBM officials said in its press release.

“The collaborative editing support and productivity gains make Symphony unique in the productivity suites market,” said Sergey Chikov, director, NB TRUST’s Board of information and banking technologies for remote sale of credit products, in a statement.

Meanwhile ComputerWorld sounded a note of caution:

With this release, IBM is joining an increasingly crowded field of Web office productivity suites. In December, Oracle launched the first version of itsown hosted office service, called Cloud Office. That version is based on OpenOffice as well. Microsoft offers consumers some basic online office document editing capability through its Office Web Apps service. It also has plans to roll this service into its enterprise-focused BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) set of hosted services as well.

Still, very interesting announcement – I look forward to hearing more during the week…

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!