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Lotus unveils user-initiated groupware apps

Lotus Development debuts a group of applications designed for the Domino Instant! Host platform at Lotusphere '98.

Lotus Development and its business partners at Lotusphere '98 today unveiled a series of user-initiated groupware applications, and said the hosting platform on which to run them will roll out this quarter.

Building on the success of its Instant! Teamroom--a rentable, Domino-based, user-initiated groupware application that enables anyone with an Internet-ready PC to set up a secure collaboration site--Lotus today debuted a group of applications designed for the Domino Instant! Host platform.

Due out in beta February 1, the new platform was jointly developed by Lotus and Interliant, a Lotus NSPAP (Net Service Provider, Alliance Partner). It allows self-subscription to Domino-based applications through Lotus partner services. User-initiated groupware is a class of Web applications that end users can access, configure, and use outside their organization's firewalls.

"The success of Lotus Instant!Teamroom has illustrated the benefits that user-initiated groupware can bring to organizations of all sizes," said Brian Bell, vice president of Lotus' Emerging Products Group, in a statement.

Currently previewing at the company's annual business and technical conference in Orlando, Florida, are 12 new user-initiated applications from a varied group of independent software vendors and Net service providers.

The applications varied in complexity. A simpler one from SkillSet called Employment Exchange allows small businesses to post company information and employment opportunities on the Web and lets candidates apply for jobs and post resumes online, for example. A more complex example was one from Emerging Technologies Solutions called the Solutions in a Box family of enterprise applications, which provide companies with human resources, marketing, and sales force automation packages.

Lotus also unveiled the beta version of an updated Instant Teamroom application, due out this quarter. Pricing for the new applications and the Domino Instant! Host platform will be released later in the year, the company said.