Feeds

IBM reveals radical email interface rethink

Touch-enabled, in-browser, multi-platform email coming later in 2014

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

IBM has revealed a radical new user interface for email at its Connect 2014 conference in the USA.

Dubbed Mail Next, the new interface is inspired by social media and billed as a quantum leap beyond the likes of Outlook.

There's a lengthy explanation of the approach in this video of a Connect keynote. We've asked IBM for high-res shots but Big Blue hasn't been forthcoming as yet, so the screen grab below is the best anyone can do for now.

IBM says this interface is a scientific approach to coping with multiple incoming communications across multiple channels and uses analytics to turn personal information managers into tools that use analytics to help knowledge workers understand what to prioritise. Such an interface is needed, IBM suggests, because a decade or more of personal information managers and unified communications tools haven't improved many knowledge workers' feeling of being overwhelmed by email.

IBM's re-imagined MailNext interface

IBM's re-imagined email interface

What's the interface about? The row of headshots at the top is a user-defined set of people who matter to a user, with indications of recent messages (or perhaps social media posts) from those people. Imagined as a replacement for email folders speakers at the conference suggested the circles could instead be attached to a workflow to indicate progress on a task. The row of tiles at the bottom is a to-do list and items can be added to it by dragging a message onto a tile.

The panel at centre left is a concept design for a calendar while the centre-right panel is a notification for a worker's next meeting.

Later in the demo IBM's program director for messaging and collaboration solutions Scott Souder showed off what might happen when one clicks on a person's icon from the top row, namely presentation of their recent communications across multiple applications and (internal and/or) external platforms.

Souder told the conference this interface is not set in stone, but that this is the direction IBM wants to take email for knowledge workers and that Big Blue sees an opportunity to challenge its messaging rivals with radical change. Souder also admits this kind of interface is not for every organisation: a more traditional interface could be useful for those whose working lives aren't quite so collaborative. But IBM expects to have a final version of this interface in the market during 2014 for the PC and mobile devices, and customer testimonials for this approach to email on the agenda at Connect 2015. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.