October 26, 2010 | Written by: IBM Research Editorial Staff
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IBMer Jeff Pierce is the lead researcher behind Mail Triage – an application that rethinks the mobile email experience by allowing users to quickly “triage” their email and identify what needs immediate action and what can be handled later. The project has grown out of ongoing research that attempts to understand how people use the technology devices in their lives – mobile phones, laptops, desktops, tablet computers, etc. — and spread their computing time across them. He spoke at last year’s Web 2.0 Expo about this research effort.
Today, Dr. Pierce was presented with the Basex Excellence Award, or Basey, from Basex, an NYC-based analyst firm, as part of Information Overload Awareness Day. To illustrate how IBM is addressing the issue of information overload with the Mail Triage technology, Dr. Pierce presented a short presentation as part of the Visionary Vendor Panel.
More than ever, businesses are embracing the model of a mobile enterprise. According to analyst firm IDC, there will be more than one billion mobile workers worldwide by the end of 2010 and ABI Research predicts 20 times more mobile data, and 40 times more mobile transactions by 2015.
Utilized by over half of the largest 100 corporations in the world, IBM Lotus Notes and Domino collaboration software support the full spectrum of proliferating mobile and Web-connected devices such as the Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, Blackberry, Android, laptops and desktops used to access corporate applications and business processes.
Also recognized for its contribution to Information Overload abatement is IBM’s research project, Topika. Led by IBM researchers Tom Moran, Tara Matthews, and Jalal Mahmud, Topika is a tool that aggregates responses to email requests into collaboration tools used by the email recipients. It leverages knowledge of the group’s collaboration tool usage to suggest the most appropriate online place to share the email thread. This enables users to better manage and understand the influx of emails received on a consistent basis. Topika now uses machine learning algorithms to match the content of an email with a profile of users’ collaboration tool usage to suggest tools.
“Knowledge workers are under tremendous pressure to manage both inbound and outbound communications and the problem of Information Overload has only made getting things done more difficult,” said Jonathan Spira, chief analyst at Basex, the knowledge economy research firm that hosted the Information Overload Awareness Day event. “IBM Research has clearly been looking into addressing these issues and we were pleased to recognize two experiments, Mail Triage, which allows workers to quickly prioritize incoming e-mails, and Topika, which helps workers determine the best tool for collaboration, as they have the potential to help workers stem the tide.”