Socialcast Adds BlackBerry, SharePoint Integration

Latest version of activity feeds service brings Twitter-like features to BlackBerry and SharePoint.

The immense popularity of Twitter among consumers has helped make real-time, albeit brief communication feeds more broadly accepted. Socialcast is one of several business-oriented companies to offer a Twitter-like service to the enterprise.

In its latest release, announced Wednesday, Socialcast now integrates its new Socialcast Ease (an abbreviation of "Enterprise Activity Stream Engine") platform with Microsoft SharePoint and BlackBerry mobile devices.

"Our mission is not to just carbon copy what's out there and say 'here's a private version,' but to take the communication metaphors and bring them into large enterprises to facilitate more information flow and efficient collaboration," Socialcast CEO Tim Young told InternetNews.com.

Socialcast Ease now offers a native BlackBerry application that includes a variety of notification options, threaded conversations and what the company said is a simple interface designed for the smaller display of the mobile device. Socialcast already offers a mobile browser version of Ease that runs on other mobile devices.

The BlackBerry app lets users filter messages to receive only specific activity streams. These could include collaboration among a project team or a department or they can access all the content on the network. Other features include the ability to upload and view photos and files as well as user comments. The app also offers lets users view their colleague's profile, including contact information which could be especially handy in a mobile device when trying to connect with someone on the road.

On the SharePoint side, Socialcast said the new release is the first step in a more comprehensive integration with Microsoft's enterprise social platform.

"A lot of customers asked us for this," said Young. "We've built a set of integrations using SharePoint as an aggregation hub and Socialcast as an add-on client. The value here is that you can have real-time conversations right in the middle of the SharePoint experience using) hash tags and the @ symbol [standard Twitter conventions] to find what you want."

In May, Socialcast plans to release a SharePoint connector that will push or stream data from SharePoint into Socialcast. The SharePoint stream can then be viewed from Socialcast's Web application as well as from BlackBerry's and the company's iPhone application which launched last year.

Socialcast has nicknamed the connector 'SharePoint in Your Pocket.'

Young conceded Ease has similar features to the Salesforce Chatter, introduced last month, but points out that Chatter is only out in beta with a select group of customers.

"We're up and running today and we also deploy on-premises," he said.

Socialcast uses a freemium distribution model for the SaaS version of its service, while it charges for the on-premise version.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.




Tags: Twitter, social media, Socialtext, Socialcast, Salesforce Chatter


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