Chatter Mobile makes its debut at Cloudforce London

I have been witness to many keynote speeches in my time, especially those which were moonlighting as product announcements, though few had the same sheer stage presence of Salesforce.com’s CEO and Chairman – Marc Benioff at Cloudforce London.

Speaking at the Royal Festival Hall, Benioff bounded on stage to the sounds of I’ve Got a Feeling by the Black Eyed Pees and captured every ones attention through the sheer force of his charisma. Now the speech might not quite of had the manic enthusiasm of Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer’s infamous developers chant but my attention was riveted and I wasn’t even there.

That is because the entire event was streamed live over the internet right next to a Twitter feed with all posts mentioning the #cloudforce hashtag.

Benioff was quick to point out that his first foray into the United Kingdom didn’t have quite as many attentive listeners. “The first time I came to London, I didn’t get to play festival hall — I think there were about 4 people who showed up, 2 of those were lost and the other 2 only came for the free food.”

The phenom CEO also voiced his surprise that one of the company’s customers in London was still using Lotus Notes – a technology that Benioff explains was conceived before Mark Zuckerberg was.

The event doubled as the launch site for Chatter Mobile, which is a real-time enterprise collboration application and platform. The technology leverages social features made popular by sites like Facebook and Twitter, with more focus on collaborative sales applications and less on Farmville. Salesforce.com actually launched Chatter back in June and today’s announcement is about taking this technology mobile.

“Chatter Mobile means you can know what is happening in your entire enterprise, wherever you are,” says Benioff. “The combination of devices like the iPad or the new iPod touch with mobile apps like Chatter that push information to you in real-time are making the desktop obsolete.”

The technology is aptly-timed, considering that almost every piece of mobile kit walking out stores today is internet-equipped and IDC has 2010 pegged as the year the world surpasses 1 billion mobile workers.


Chatter will look familiar to social media veterans.

Matthew Schafer, founding partner of Sequoia Wealth Management group believes that deploying Salesforce Chatter has transformed the way his organization works.

“Now, with Chatter Mobile, employees will be liberated from desktop computing and able to stay actively involved with important information through a simple interface on their mobile device. This will be huge for our productivity,” he says.

The announcement under the shade of Big Ben comes at a time when cloud computing is receiving more attention and scrutiny than ever before. Particularly as the US Government sends it’s oversight committee to glance over the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative.

“Enterprises are embracing social apps and mobile computing as their future,” said R “Ray” Wang, founding partner and analyst from Altimeter Group. “Customers shouldn’t ever worry about where or how their social apps are deployed and accessed.”

Chatter Mobile will be available at no additional charge for Salesforce CRM and Force.com subscribers. Apps for BlackBerrys and Apple devices using the new service are slated to be available in late 2010, with Android devices being supported in the first half of 2011.

Image credit: Stefano Brivio//Flickr, royalty free

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