IBM to Launch Innovative New Email Service

By Clayton Hamshar November 20, 2014

Computing giant IBM made a surprising announcement this week: the company is launching its own Web-based email service called IBM Verse. Operating under a freemium model with a free version for consumers and paid for enterprises, the service will offer new organizational algorithms and feature seamless integration with a variety of built-in social media and collaborative tools.

IBM Verse takes a new approach to enterprise communications by compiling the many ways employees connect – email, meetings, calendars, file sharing, instant messaging, social updates, video chats, internal blogs, etc. – into a single thread. The cloud-based platform features intelligent task prioritization, cross-device collaboration tools and a dedication to making email as invisible as possible to promote efficient human connections.

Built-in analytics provide users with an “at-a-glance” view that emphasizes a colleague’s activity deemed to be the most important or useful and provides the context of a given project, accomplished by learning the unique preferences and priorities of each employee. The process is sped up by allowing users to “mute” information they find irrelevant. To expand on this functionality, “faceted search” technology allows users to pinpoint specific information they’re seeking regardless of content type, and the optional inclusion of IBM’s Watson search tool lets users query a topic and receive a direct reply with the answers ranked by degree of confidence.

A major plus for consumers that choose IBM’s free email service is the superior concern for privacy compared to its competitors; the company stressed the point that it does not seek advertisers and will not sift through email inboxes a la Gmail. Combined with a modern interface as well as organizational tools and algorithms similar to the enterprise version, the consumer version’s robust functionality may just provide IBM with a substantial end user customer base (a goal that IBM deprioritized after the sale of its PC division in 2005).

“The convergence of analytics, cloud, social and mobile technologies is not just impacting our personal lives, it's profoundly changing how we work,” said Bob Picciano, Senior Vice President of IBM Information and Analytics Group. “These forces are reshaping how people make decisions, create and share new ideas and collaborate across teams to get work done. With IBM Verse, we challenged our design teams to use analytics to completely reimagine the social collaboration experience to focus on engaging people and driving outcomes, not managing messages and inboxes.”

This important launch is the latest in a series of IBM initiatives to revolutionize its enterprise solutions offerings. IBM launched a partnership with Apple in July 2014 to develop cutting-edge industry-specific business apps, unveiled the Watson tool for predictive and visual analytics in September and launched the Navigator collaboration and file sharing tool in October. A few weeks ago the company began a partnership with Twitter to analyze tweets and other data in order to transform businesses’ understanding of customers, markets and trends. IBM Verse is (for now) the last piece in the puzzle for helping enterprises unlock their full potential in serving customers.

A beta release of IBM Verse will be available to select enterprise clients and partners in November 2014, and the first freemium version delivered via the IBM Cloud Marketplace will become available to individuals in the first quarter of 2015. The company noted that the service will also be offered in the form of iOS and Android apps with an experience similar to the desktop version.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Contributing Writer

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