Is this IBM email app creepy or just really efficient?

Do you dread firing up your computer each day because of the prospect of seeing tons of email in your in-box? Does the task of having to respond to updates and messages from various channels social media channels make your heart sink?

BM (NYSE: IBM) feels your pain. Big Blue has just launched a new email service called IBM Verse that rolls-in social media, file sharing, video chats and analytics capabilities into an app that is capable or learning a user’s behaviour and drafting possible responses to emails based on previous interactions.

IBM Verse also lets users view the relationships between different employees in an email, mute a chain and even convert email text into content for a blog or social media.

IBM also claims it is the first messaging system to feature what it calls “faceted search” a capability that enables users to pinpoint and retrieve specific information across all content types inside an email.

In the future, IBM Verse users will even have the option to embed a Watson feature into their collaboration environment, enabling users to query IBM’s artificial intelligent supercomputer system on almost any topic “and receive a direct reply with answers ranked by degree of confidence.”

It’s almost like having a HAL 9000 in your PC, but actually Big Blue just hopes IBM Verse, with the help of cloud computing and analytics, will someday replace Outlook, Microsoft Corp’s personal information manager that has been handling the email, contacts, calendar, tasks and note taking duties in millions of computers since the late 1990s.

Email is the single most widely used collaboration tool and worldwide revenue for enterprise email is expected to reach $4.7 billion by 2017, according to analyst firm IDC.

From being one of the most significant advances in workplace productivity, email has evolved into one of the biggest burdens in the business world. It is estimated that 108 billion work-related emails are sent daily, requiring employees to check their inboxes 36 times an hour on average. Much more, only 14 per cent of those emails are of critical importance.

“The convergence of analytics, cloud, social and mobile technologies is not just impacting our personal lives, it’s profoundly changing how we work,” said Bob Picciano, senior vice-president, IBM Information and Analytics Group, said in a statement. “With IBM Verse, we challenged our design teams to use analytics to completely reimagine the social collaboration experience to focus on engaging people and driving outcomes, not managing messages and inboxes.”

Delivered on IBM’s SoftLayer Cloud with enterprise-grade security, the solution gives enterprise customers, small businesses and individuals a scalable, cloud-based social collaboration environment optimized for mobile and Web environments.

“It gives you a seamless blend of email, social and collaboration capabilities that didn’t force me to jump between my inbox, calendar and other apps to share and connect with people,” said Gilberto Garcia, chief technology officer, of Cemex, a building materials firm that was among the early beta testers of IBM Verse.  “It’s hard to even call this email anymore…”

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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