IBM Blue Spruce Hints at Future of Web Collaboration

IBM demonstrates for eWEEK a new Web collaboration project called Blue Spruce. This coup in application development lets multiple users work together through what look like shared screens and communicate via telepresence. Though only at a proof-of-concept stage, the IBM Blue Spruce messaging and collaboration solution could be a big step toward more collaborative Web services. Questions remain: Will Blue Spruce appear in Lotus or WebSphere? Will Microsoft respond via Silverlight or Adobe via Flash?

When the subject turns to browser-based innovation, you'd be forgiven if IBM didn't immediately pop up in the conversation alongside vendors such as Google, Mozilla and Yahoo.
That may change with the eventual arrival of Blue Spruce, a Web browser application platform IBM is working on to allow simultaneous multiuser interactions enabled by AJAX and other standard technologies through the Web browser.
David Boloker, CTO of IBM's Emerging Internet Technologies group, met with eWEEK recently to show off Blue Spruce, a mashup that combines Web conferencing with voice and video and other data forms to let people share content.

The project is IBM's solution to the classic one-window, one-user limitation of current Web browsers. Boloker summed it up:

"Blue Spruce is really about, How do I take existing apps, enable them for audio and video and also add the ability to start sharing things using existing Web widgets, Web pages and building on top of that?"

Calling Blue Spruce Web collaboration "on steroids," Boloker said the platform is geared for impromptu meetings and next-generation telepresence that products such as IBM's own Lotus Sametime wouldn't be able to adequately support. The market probably needs this technology now given the harsh reality of the current recession.

Check Out Pics of Blue Spruce Here

In the first demo, Boloker logged into the Blue Spruce client to show how a real estate investment meeting might work using the Zillow real estate application.
Using a MacBook, he opened a session window supported by the open-source WebKit browser to engage a colleague named Bill, posing as his real estate broker.

Through a small Web conferencing window on the left of the screen, Boloker and Bill could see and hear each other as with Lotus Sametime Unyte, although the feature was created specifically for Blue Spruce.
Boloker and Bill were then able to move their respective mouse pointers around the screen to click and make changes on the Zillow application, with the platform enabling concurrent interactions through the browser without disruptions. Yet this appearance is somewhat deceiving.