IBM Gets More Social Than Ever

    September 17, 2008
    Chris Crum

IBM has opened a social software research center dedicated to helping customers and partners better collaborate on a global scale. The center is headquartered at Cambridge, and staff will work closely with university faculty and students, as well as corporate partners.
According to CNN, IBM is allowing other companies to send employees to the center to get "hands-on availability to IBM’s research pipeline." Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters have already been named as participating companies. An announcement on the center’s site highlights the following goals:

– Explore, innovate and commercialize best practices in social networking.

– Work with forward-thinking businesses to pilot and customize enterprise social networks unique to their industry profile.

– Create jointly funded research collaborations with government, academia, industry and venture capital participation.

– Design the future of IBM’s Web 2.0 collaboration portfolio, including social discovery, social search and new scalable architectures for social software including cloud computing.

– Further social software governance: formal policies encouraging or constraining the uses of social networking in organizations.

– Develop the science of social software: Quantifying social networking.

– Explore cultural differences in the use of social software.

The center already has a number of projects in motion that it discusses at length via the center’s site. One (the "Many Eyes" project) even goes so far as to offer a virtual tour and visualizations.

Project List

 Beehive is an internal social networking site. The Social Accessibility Project enables volunteers to make Web pages accessible to the visually impaired. The " Many Eyes" project looks at "the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns." Bluemail is a rich web 2.0 email client, and Olympus studies how avatars can enhance meetings around web content. As you can see IBM is really looking to expand further into the social and web 2.0 arena, and it should be very interesting to see what comes of these projects and others that are likely to surface.