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Lotusphere was an American annual conference hosted by Lotus Software (which later became an IBM software brand) from 1993 to 2017. In 2013, Lotusphere was re-branded as IBM Connect.

Except for the first conference, which took place in December 1993,[1] Lotusphere was held in late January. It started with a reception party on Sunday night and continued on through the closing session on Thursday afternoon. The conference was held at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels. Most years it has used the additional space at Disney's Yacht and Beach Clubs.

In addition to the annual conference in Florida, between 1997 and 2000 there was also an annual Lotusphere Europe conference, first in Nice (1997) and then in Berlin (1999).

"Lotusphere Comes to You" (LCTY) events were for a few years held by local IBM Business Partners, where some of the information presented at conference was presented and business partners could connect with local users who were not able to attend the big event. LCTY was held in over 50 countries around the world. Since 2007, LCTY in Sofia, Bulgaria was organized by IBS Bulgaria with the support of IBM Bulgaria. The event covered news around Lotus Software as well as sessions emphasizing on local business needs and Lotus Domino development. These events were later replaced by local LUG (Lotus User Group) events like IamLUG (later Icon US), MWLUG, ILUG, UKLUG (later Icon UK) and many others.

Toward the end of 2012, IBM stopped using the Lotus brand and renamed the conference to IBM Connect.[2] It was renamed again in 2015 to IBM ConnectED, but changed back to IBM Connect in 2016. The venue changed from the Disney Swan and Dolphin to the Hilton in Orlando. In 2017 the conference was moved to the Moscone Centre in San Francisco, and the date of the conference moved to the third week of February. In 2018, IBM Connect, along with several other IBM conferences, was merged into the IBM Think conference.[3]


The typical agenda started with an opening general session on Monday, followed by breakout sessions through the rest of the morning and afternoon where different presentations occur simultaneously in different conference rooms, allowing attendees to choose which one they want to go to. Each breakout session was typically an hour long, with pauses in the schedule to allow attendees to mingle and walk to their next choice of breakout session. Tuesday and Wednesday also had six or seven of these breakout sessions throughout the day.

Originally, Thursday was the last day of the conference, with a few breakout sessions in the morning, then a large "Ask the Developers" session where attendees are allowed to ask questions directly to a panel of IBM/Lotus employees involved in making the software. The last event of the conference is a closing session. Starting in 2014 the conference was shortened one day, ending on Wednesday instead.

The opening and closing sessions typically had a form of entertainment and a guest speaker, as well as executives and key employees sharing news and demonstrations of what was planned for the near future.

Breakout Sessions[edit]

In 2008, there were 197 different presentations scheduled during the breakout sessions, scheduled across 18 slots, giving attendees an average of eleven choices per session slot. Each breakout session lasted about an hour. Breakouts were split into several categories called "tracks". Common tracks were:

1) Futures and Innovations
Glimpses of technologies and innovations coming out of IBM and Lotus Research Labs.
2) Application Development
Presentations on custom application development, ranging from paper prototyping to application development techniques specific to Lotus software products.
3) Planning and Managing Your Collaboration Infrastructure
Information for administrators and decision makers on architecture, features and capabilities, deployment, and system management.
4) Best Practices
Tips and tricks for developers, administrators, usually technical and tactical.

In addition to these four tracks, there was sometimes a fifth track with a title and content around "Customer References" or "Sponsor Sessions". There were also "Hands-on" and "JumpStart" sessions.

These were hands-on classes lasting 1¾ hours, taking place in rooms set up in a classroom style with tables and computers. Attendance was limited such that there are one to two attendees per computer.
JumpStart sessions were offered during the day on Sunday, usually lasting about 1½ hours, giving an in-depth presentation on a topic.

History and Statistics[edit]


Year Location Attendance Theme phrase Top messages Host Opening General Session guest(s) Closing General Session guest(s) Sunday night reception Wednesday night party CULT shirt
1993 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 2300 Working Together Don Bulens Geoffrey Moore Disney-MGM
1994 No Event
1995 Orlando, Florida, U.S. The Right Event. The Right Solutions. Right Now. Disney-MGM
1996 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Release The Power None Cirque du Soleil
1997 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Pool of Knowledge
  • Don't compete with, embrace the Web.
  • iNotes Web Publisher
  • Domino
Ray Ozzie Avery Brooks
1998 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Cultivate Your Senses Notes R5 Steve Beckhardt (?) Bill Nye
1999 Orlando, Florida, U.S. LOTUS: A Part of Every Solution Jeff Papows Marc Salem
2000 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 10000 Looking Forward/Forward Looking
  • Raven
  • Domino Access for Microsoft Outlook
Jeff Papows > Al Zollar Walter Cronkite The Raspyni Brothers Notes World Order
2001 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 10000 In The Know
  • Lotus K-Station
  • Lotus Discovery Server
Al Zollar Umbilical Brothers Domino Survivor
2002 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 6000 Proof Positive
  • Notes/Domino 6
  • "Lotus Software" brand
  • J2EE
  • "two-lane highway"
Al Zollar Ben Stein Kevin Nealon Disney-MGM Fellowship of the Domino Ring
2003 Orlando, Florida, U.S. The Essential Human Element Al Zollar > Ambuj Goyal Dr. Ronan Tynan Magic Kingdom Just-Us League & Collaboration League
2004 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 5273 The Workplace For Innovation Ambuj Goyal Patrick Stewart Richard Jeni Universal Studios Florida CULT SHIRT ON HUMAN
2005 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 5800 Envision Decisions Notes and Workplace convergence Ambuj Goyal Steven Wright Country/Western Universal's Islands of Adventure Zen of Collaboration
2006 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 6000 FutureInSight Mike Rhodin Jason Alexander Jim Gaffigan Poker tables SeaWorld CULT Man Group
2007 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 7000 IT Revolves Around You
  • Notes/Domino 8
  • Notes moving to Eclipse
  • Quickr
  • Connections
  • Save The Notes Client, Save The World
Mike Rhodin Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson Disney's Animal Kingdom I AM _____
2008 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 7000+ Emergence Mike Rhodin Alton Brown Beach Party Universal's Islands of Adventure Pirates of Collaboration
2009 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Resonance
  • LotusLive
  • Lotus Notes 8.5 for Mac
  • Alloy (SAP + Lotus Notes)
  • xPages
  • DAOS
  • ID-vault

Bob Picciano

Benjamin Zander

Universal Studios
2010 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Lotus knows why. Lotus knows how. Bob Picciano > Alistair Rennie Brian Cox (physicist) Hollywood Studios
2011 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Get Social. Do Business. Alistair Rennie Watson Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure
2012 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Business. Made Social. Alistair Rennie Andrew Zimmern SeaWorld No CULT Shirt
2013 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Get social. Do business. Alistair Rennie Universal Studios Florida No CULT Shirt
2014 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Energizing Life's work. Craig Hayman Hollywood Studios No CULT Shirt
2015 Orlando, Florida, U.S. 3000 A new way to engage Jeff Schick Beach party n/a No CULT Shirt
2016 Orlando, Florida, U.S. Hilton 2000 Make Every Moment Count
  • Project Toscana
Jeff Schick Jason Silva Erik Wahl Universal Studios No CULT Shirt
2017 San Francisco, CA, U.S. Moscone Center 2000 Redefine work with Watson
  • IBM Connections Pink
  • IBM Watson Work Services
Inhi Cho Suh Dr. Sheena Iyengar Eric Whitacre Exploratorium No CULT Shirt


  1. ^ Lotusphere trivia Archived 2007-12-12 at the Wayback Machine, Richard Schwartz's blog, May 3, 2005
  2. ^ "IBM Drops Lotus Brand, Takes Notes and Domino Forward". 17 November 2012.
  3. ^ Suh, Inhi (May 8, 2017). "Get Ready to THINK in 2018". IBM Social Business Spotlight Blog. IBM. Archived from the original on September 7, 2017.
  4. ^ Lotusphere Lore, C.U.L.T. 2008 Lotusphere Wiki

External links[edit]