IBM Simplifies Consumer Internet Experience With Free Online Service
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled a free and easy-to-use online service for recording step-by-step processes that Web users do on a regular basis, then automatically runs those processes, eliminating repetitive or mundane tasks for the user.
On average, people spend eight hours of their day online which is the equivalent of a 40 hour work week. The majority of this time is spent conducting the same searches and tasks over and over again. This new service alleviates the need to repeatedly perform the same actions. In addition, the service requires no technical skills to be used, making it simple for all end-users to apply.
Created at the IBM Almaden Research Center and available on alphaWorks, IBM’s online community providing early adopters with access to new and emerging software technology from IBM research and development labs around the world, CoScripter is a unique service that enables users to go to a Web site, capture their actions as a “script” which can automatically perform those tasks, and share that information with other users.
CoScripter simplifies repetitive common daily processes on the Web such as checking email, checking flight arrival times and status, or searching for WI-FI hotspots in the area. The service uses a technique called “programming by demonstration” to capture the steps of a process by watching people do it and recording those steps into a script. The scripts are integrated with a wiki, so they are easily shared with other users.
The service also enables companies to be competitive in the Web 2.0 marketplace. As organizations continue to adopt Web 2.0 technologies, emerging technologies such as these become valuable resources for changing the ways they interact with the broader community. According to new Economist Intelligence Unit research, almost 80 percent of large enterprises believe that Web 2.0 technologies can improve revenues and margins. In fact, 68 percent of executives expect Web 2.0 methods and tools to be the single biggest factor changing the ways their companies interact with customers.
“This new service is an effective means of giving time back to users who have generally lost many hours repeatedly going through the same motions when using the Web,” said Kathy Mandelstein, Director of Worldwide Developer Programs for IBM. “CoScripter not only makes it easier for users to take advantage of the Internet, but it also encourages community and the sharing of information through the Web.”
For example, a user wants to begin a house search using a home search Web site. After a few searches the process becomes quite repetitive. Using CoScripter, the user can create a script to capture and then automate the steps required in the search. Then subsequent searches can be quicker by simply running the script.
The user can then share the script so anyone else wanting to perform the same search can save time and effort by using the script. Subsequent users can customize the script to meet their specific needs and then make that revised script available as well.
CoScripter can also be used by companies to document difficult or complex processes within their organization and share the recordings with the employees who need them. It streamlines the process of doing tasks and eliminates the need to spend hours conducting the same searches on the Internet. This saves the companies money as their resources are no longer wrapped up conducting repetitive tasks online.
For example, a small business is looking to hire developers with a certain skill set. The HR rep constantly searches Monster and other job search sites for the candidates. Using CoScripter, the HR rep can specify the criteria for one or more potential hires and then run the script, automating all the regular steps required for the search for the candidates, clicking through various pages and forms. Then subsequent searches are very simple using CoScripter because it saves time and effort on searches since a great part of the process is now automated. Because CoScripter is a collaboration tool, the HR rep can share the search script with other HR reps or parts of the organization to continue/supplement the search. The HR rep can also reuse these scripts for future candidate searches and alter the criteria depending on what the business need is.
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