Last week, I was at IBM’s Lotusphere 2010 conference in sunny Orlando where there were no particularly big announcements except for IBM setting our expectations of things to come by sharing its direction and long-term vision for collaboration and the cloud.

So, in keeping with the forward-looking tack taken at this year’s Lotusphere, I thought I would visit the Innovation Lab held at the conference. It was rather interesting as it shed light into what IBM’s global research labs are working on and what might possibly transpire on the Lotus platform in the future.

I spoke with some really enthusiastic people there, one of whom was an IBMer who told me the premise for much, if not all, of the research is based on the fact that users don’t want to do anything themselves, and that the software ought to be built to do the work for them. Not surprisingly, one research project was about bringing social analytic capabilities to these collaboration platforms so a user could instantly know what colleagues were working on and who they knew based on the plethora of content on the Web and other sources.

It’s not surprising that IBM research labs are working on capabilities that will increasingly do the leg work for users in a collaborative environment. As wonderful as social software is in connecting peers and facilitating workflows, it has also created a frustrating influx of information that users must wade through. Probably, the next phase is tools that help manage the downpour of wonderful content and people that social software makes available to a single person.

Among the enhancements in Lotus Connections to look out for in the latter half of 2010, is the addition of better social analytics, IBM said.

On a lighter note, IBM’s choice of surprise keynote guest William Shatner definitely stayed true to the forward-looking perspective that the conference took this year. Why the choice?  Because as  captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise James T. Kirk has seen the future and used technology to solve problems. Awww …  cute one, IBM.

Follow Kathleen on Twitter: @KathleenLau.

Read ITWorldCanada.com’s coverage of Lotusphere 2010:

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