Tibco has added geolocation technology to its Tibbr enterprise social-networking platform, in a move that will allow companies to use physical spaces as "data hubs," or launching points for information delivery and collection.
The new GEO function builds on Tibbr's core premise of allowing users to not only follow each other on a network, but also subjects, applications and processes that are relevant to their jobs.
While in the consumer world, geolocation is used to "check in" to a particular site with mobile devices, such as by signaling one's arrival at a restaurant to friends, that idea isn't as useful in an enterprise context, said Ram Menon, executive vice president of worldwide marketing. "What we said is OK, these locations have stories to tell. What if instead of you checking into the location, it checks into you?"
For example, Tibbr systems could allow an airport gate to feed pilots and agents useful data about flight delays or customer ticketing needs as they approach, Menon said.
At least for now, Tibco isn't offering prebuilt, packaged offerings for specific scenarios, because the platform is flexible enough to allow any industry to fine-tune as needed, he said.
While Tibbr GEO's potential for such real-time scenarios is significant, it's also "about retrospective analysis to improve context and prediction," said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. "So, how often does someone arrive at an airport or travel? Why does a plant manager take certain steps during the day? The reality is the post-analysis will be just as important as the real-time capabilities."
"Location is the next frontier," Wang added. "As we move to the Internet of things, location is a must and first-class data object to track, just like people."
Also Wednesday, Tibco announced that Tibbr's mobile applications will incorporate HTML5 along with native device functionality, in order to provide a cohesive experience across mobile platforms as well as help companies with "device-diverse" employee bases. Tibbr Mobile now supports offline access through HTML5's caching capability.
Tibbr incorporates a wide variety of communication tools and features, from a Twitter-like microblogging client to videoconferencing, personal profiles, screen-sharing, communities and activity streams.
Version 3.5 is scheduled for release in February. Some 60 companies are now using Tibbr since its launch a year ago, with close to a million "meaningful" users, Menon said. About 60% of companies are running it on-premises, with the rest choosing cloud deployment, he said.
Tibbr is priced at $12 per user per month with volume discounts applying. The geolocation features are included in that price, Menon said.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com