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IBM Empowers Business Users with Customized Web 2.0 Software

Boeing and Carrefour Hint at Broad Business Adoption for Mashups

IBM announced IBM Mashup Center will be hosted as a free trial on the Web with which non-technical business people can use to experiment and build customized mashups following the success of early corporate adopters Boeing Corporation and Carrefour Group.

On schedule for mid-year delivery, the IBM Mashup Center allows business people to create situational applications, or mashups, by remixing information from anywhere to gain business insight and do their jobs smarter and more effectively. Using IBM's mashup technology, even non-technical users will be able to exploit standards and Web-based technology to gain access to myriad information, such as Web sites and feeds, spreadsheets, databases, applications, unstructured text from an email, video, audio and other information on the Web, and make sense of it all in minutes.

In the coming weeks, IBM will offer customers the opportunity to experiment with IBM Mashup Center and gain hands on experience for free through IBM Lotus Greenhouse. Lotus Greenhouse is a Web site where anyone can register and try out IBM Mashup Center, and many other collaborative products, such as IBM Lotus Connections, Lotus Quickr, Lotus Sametime and WebSphere Portal. IBM Mashup Center will be hosted on Greenhouse, giving customers a safe environment to try the technology and evaluate mashup potential without installing anything in their own environment. The hosted version of IBM Mashup Center will include widgets from IBM, and a growing network of IBM Mashup Center Business Partners, like StrikeIron and Kapow Technologies.

This comes at a time in which innovative companies of every size are beginning to realize the possibilities of Web 2.0, but require security, management and governance capabilities to responsibly take advantage of these possibilities. IBM Mashup Center gives users the freedom to create new, light weight applications on the fly and get customized views of disparate information, but with the stability corporations require. IBM's deep history in open standards, information integration and emerging Internet technologies, make the company an undeniably strong partner in a new technology era.

"As an established innovator, Boeing believes in the power of Web 2.0 and embraces it not only for collaborative work, but also for the heavy lifting of enterprise planning and execution," said Paul Comitz, Program Manager, NEO Demonstration, Boeing Corp. "The IBM Mashup Center is playing a key role in our visionary approach to strategic asset management. It's critical to know where your major assets are and how to use them at any given time, situation or condition."

IBM Mashup Center breaks new ground in ease of use and speed at which business users can solve everyday business problems in any size enterprise. It includes an intuitive browser-based tool to easily assemble of new mashups, thus allowing non-technical users - anyone in a business - to literally drag and drop mashup components from personal, enterprise and Web sources to easily create, deploy and share customized Web applications in minutes.

This upcoming offering includes a set of out-of-the-box, business-ready widgets, as well as a catalog for finding and sharing widgets and mashups. To create new widgets, IBM Mashup Center includes an easy-to-use development environment to construct new widgets from enterprise systems and the Web. Users can also take advantage of built-in Web 2.0 community features like ratings, tagging and commenting to guide them to the most valuable and useful widgets.

IBM Mashup Center also provides extensive and powerful capabilities for managing information feeds from enterprise sources. Information from a wide variety of sources can be mixed, filtered and mashed together to create new information sources and output in many different forms, such as RSS, ATOM or XML. With the ability to merge, transform, filter, annotate or publish information in new formats, IBM Mashup Center helps create a single view of disparate sets of information in a highly re-usable manner. Feeds are an easy way to service-enable systems that do not natively provide RESTful interfaces, and thus provide an on-ramp for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).

France-based Carrefour is a multi-billion dollar retail company that serves over two billion customers per year, and is now evaluating IBM Mashup Center. The company maintains more than 12,000 hypermarket and supermarket stores in more than 30 countries and offers a wide range of food and non-food products.

"We are interested in the potential benefits of mashup software to help us quickly create applications to solve a variety of business challenges. One example is transporting food and other items to thousands of stores on time, despite bad weather, custom delays, traffic jams and road closures. This new type software could help warn us of these problems before they happen, allowing us to anticipate supply chain incidences and risk of product unavailability in store," said Olivier Raynal, Innovation Manager, Carrefour Emerging Trend and Innovation Division.

As enterprise mashups continue to climb in popularity and deliver more value for business, IBM is working with an ecosystem of Business Partners to help customers get the most out of situational applications. IBM Business Partners such as Jibes, JustSystems, Kapow Technologies and StrikeIron are introducing solutions that, when combined with IBM Mashup Center, enable rapid access to information and new and compelling uses for new types of data.

For example, IBM Mashup Center users can connect to data in the StrikeIron Web Services Marketplace to reduce the complexity for developers or business users who want to integrate live data from a number of sources. In addition, by connecting to StrikeIron's Lite services, users can create demos to show how easily live data can be integrated with a mashup to create powerful Web applications without having to register or purchase the service.

"Enterprise mashups are emerging as one of the most important opportunities companies will seize over the next few years," said Bob Brauer, president and founder, StrikeIron. "StrikeIron's focus on delivering a broad range of rich, enterprise-class data in the form of XML Web services, and IBM's expertise in providing the infrastructure for enterprise-class mashups, together provide key components of a company's mashup strategy."

Jibes demonstrates the business value of mashups in the enterprise market by providing industry-specific information fabrics for the semi-conductor, airline and media industries on top of IBM Mashup Center. JustSystems provides a rich presentation layer for information accessed by IBM Mashup Center, allowing users to interact with dynamic, or living, documents that combine static and dynamic information. Together, this enables new uses for enterprise mashups such as the sharing of design and development information across collaborative research, or for use by development teams for reconciling supply and demand among trading partners.

Kapow Technologies provides solutions that allow IBM Mashup Center users to unlock the unstructured data of the public and private Web for use in their mashups. Currently, there are less than 1,000 publicly available application programming interfaces, or APIs, compared to more than 165 million registered web sites for potential access. Using the Kapow Mashup Server, companies can obtain access to unstructured data and sites without a public API, then extract and transform it instantly into a Web service or feed that can be used in IBM Mashup Center.

"A massive number of people have the skills to assemble widgets into very useful business applications but do not have the time or desire to become programmers," said Larry Bowden, Vice President, Portals and Mashups, IBM Software Group. "IBM Mashup Center is designed for the majority of business users to create situational applications immediately to fill a need - iterate and innovate as they desire, share mashups with others and be empowered, all while letting IT managers sleep at night, knowing the technology is secure and managed at the enterprise level."

An on-premise version of IBM Mashup Center is expected to be delivered mid-year, and pricing details will be made public at that time.

For more information on IBM contact Kelly Sims, [email protected] at IBM Media Relations.

More Stories By Web 2.0 News Desk

The Web 2.0 Journal News Desk keeps you up to speed with all that's happening in the world of the read/write Web and all its mushrooming new facets - from tagging, wikis, mash-ups, and image-sharing to "Advertising 2.0," podcasting, and The Writeable Web.

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