On behalf of the entire Sametime organization, l am pleased to announce that the latest version of this iconic product – Sametime 9 – will be available for customers on September 20th.
I invite you to attend the formal unveiling at the “Reinvent The Way Work Works”, a signature IBM virtual event, on Wednesday, September 18th, 10am-Noon (EDT). (Register here.) This event will introduce a number of new innovations around IBM's industry leading Social Platform and feature speakers such as:
Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business
Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Social Business at IBM
Jeff Schick, Vice President, Social Business at IBM
Customers like Australian Bureau of Statistics, Langhoff Promotion A/S and SafeGuard World International
Following the keynote, there will be a deep dive on what's new in Sametime 9 as well as a virtual showcase with over a dozen partners.
While we'll take you through all the exciting new capabilities on the 18th (hint: an entirely new user experience and out-of-the-box continuous presence video conferencing), I want to highlight the significant changes we've made to Sametime's packaging. We're retiring the old portfolio in favor of a more streamlined set of offerings:
The New Sametime
Sametime Communicate is all about individual communications needs. It starts by unifying all of Sametime's instant messaging capabilities into one offering – including Offline Messaging, Skill Tap, Instant Polls, Persistent Group Chat and more. We build on that with 1:1 voice and video capabilities, including Bandwidth Management Tools for Sametime calls. We even added the ability to link Sametime to your telephony or telepresence system over a SIP trunk. Yes, your Sametime Connect client can be your phone or video endpoint without any additional licensing. We include mobile, browser and rich clients along with all the API's and 3rd party plugins to integrate your existing services into Sametime or put Sametime services where your users work every day.
Sametime Conference is for multi-party collaboration. This offering blends our award winning zero-download, browser-based meeting capabilities with our new video MCU for continuous presence, high definition video. Use Sametime meetings for multi-party audio calls, dial out to your favorite audio conferencing bridge or use partner plugins or adapters to integrate Sametime Meetings with your favorite video conferencing system.
Sametime Complete bundles both offerings together and delivers additional value all its own. With Complete, we extend continuous presence video to video calls outside of meetings. We also let you share your screen or an application right from a chat window. In addition, use the Sametime Connect client to invite colleagues to your meetings by just dragging their name from a contact list and dropping it on the meeting room or clicking the meeting icon at the top of a chat window.
One other important change worth calling out today is that Sametime customers will also be able to collaborate with customers and partners without having to acquire the (dreaded) Extranet license. That's right, any licensed user of Sametime inside your organization will be able to work with external parties. So, go ahead and chat enable that customer service site or use Sametime Meetings for your customer presentation.
Finally, we retain Sametime Unified Telephony for those large organizations that want to provide advanced unified communications capabilities to their users while isolating the those user from future changes in backend telephony infrastructure. Sametime Unified Telephony supports homogenous or heterogenous telephony environments that a company may face today or in the future.
We'll have a lot more to say on the new Sametime packing in just a few days.... including transition plans and more detail on what's in each package. We'll also offer a series of posts outlining the cutting edge capabilities you'll find in this latest release. Please keep an eye on this blog, post questions here or directly reach out to anyone on the Product Management team.
It has been just over a month since we released Sametime 9, and we thought it would be good to reflect on what is resonating the best with our customers. For this post, I will focus on the new user experience, and provide a few teasers of what Sametime has to offer...
First, I have to say that our IBM Design team went to great lengths to provide a simplified user experience that takes advantage of the latest design innovations in the mobile space. This resulted in a modern interface that is also very consistent across the rich clients, the browser and the mobile applications. This is valuable considering that not many people are tied to a single device nowadays.
Beyond the overall new look and feel, a visual enhancement that may catch your eye is how your personal information is now being displayed succinctly at the top of the contact list.
This is an implicit reminder of how you look like to others, so you can keep this information more closely up to date. And allow your colleagues to more effectively communicate (or not) with you . It is also nice not to get more friendly reminders that your status still stays that you are "at lunch" when starting a presentation to your board... No more excuse, no menus to navigate, just type over the status or change your location...
Your communication apps. are now accessible - with one click - from the left navigator pane of your contact list.
So you can quickly switch to your meetings, or other built-in social capabilities. And it is not just for Sametime capabilities: partner (ex: voice mail) or custom business applications can easily be added to the navigator, thanks to the extensibility that is characteristic of the Sametime eclipse platform. And you can even rearrange the layout through drag and drop. The added bonus: there is more real estate for your content in the left pane...
Instant messaging is also a more powerful experience with context sensitive actions surfaced so I can quickly start group chats, meetings, instant desktop shares, screen captures, and more ... with just one click.
And if someone has an urgent message to me, alerts with the number of notifications (in red) will remind me of this communication.
There is so much control in meetings...
Change your presence, record the meeting, change permissions, create and view reports, .... It's hard to believe that so much is also available from the browser. It's about control and convenience.
Another nice touch in a meeting is the ability to use thumbnails to skip slides in a presentation (or pages in a document) beyond what is being shared.
So you can quickly jump to the right content, and not waste time.
Undoubtedly, the Sametime 9 interface is a radical change and has been getting rave reviews. But what will matter the most are all these little changes (and more) that make the difference in the day-to-day usage of your communication tools. Enjoy...
In case you missed John Del Pizzo's blog post from last Tuesday, IBM Sametime 9 introduces an all new, simplified packaging model consisting of just four editions: Sametime Communicate, Sametime Conference, Sametime Complete, and Sametime Unified Telephony. In this post, I'd like to share with you our reasons for making these changes. I'll also describe the new Sametime 9 licensing model. In a few days I'll post a follow-up note explaining how existing Sametime 8.5 customers can move to and start taking advantage of the new Sametime 9 packaging.
Why does Sametime 9 introduce a new packaging model?
There are actually a number of reasons we made this change. First, we wanted to better align the Sametime editions to the way our customers have told us they want to buy and use Sametime. To that end, for customers that just want a person-to-person collaboration solution, we created the Sametime Communicate edition. For customers that just want a group collaboration solution, we created the Sametime Conference edition. For customers that want both person-to-person and group collaboration, we created the Sametime Complete edition. And for customers that want advanced softphone capabilities, including intelligent call routing, that will integrate with their existing telephony infrastructure, we continue to provide Sametime Unified Telephony, now as an add on to the Sametime Communicate and Sametime Complete editions.
A related reason for the Sametime packaging changes is that we wanted to provide customers with a clearer, more concise articulation of the value and content of each edition. We felt there was no better way to do that than to create Sametime 9 editions that were specifically tailored to the four main Sametime customer use cases described above. Even the names of the new Sametime 9 editions were carefully chosen to convey meaning about their intended use cases. A high level comparison of the Sametime 9 edition content that underscores this point can be found in the announcement letters under the 'Product Positioning' section.
A third motivation for the new Sametime packaging model is that it helps emphasizes that Sametime 9 is something truly new and different. Sametime 9 is not simply an update of existing technology but rather includes breathtaking new capabilities like a new and simplified user interface, continuous presence, high definition, high performance video, and much more. Future blog posts will describe these new capabilities in detail. For now, suffice to say that the Sametime 9 packaging has a fresh new look that also reflects the freshness of the new Sametime 9 capabilities.
A final reason for the Sametime 9 packaging changes is to better align with the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business licensing model. As some Sametime customers have also become SmartCloud customers (and vice versa), we wanted to make it easier for customers familiar with one product to transfer that knowledge to the other. The Sametime 9 licensing model discussed below is intended to do just that.
What is the Sametime 9 licensing model?
All Sametime 9 editions are licensed by authorized user. Simply count up the number of people that would be considered authorized users of the software (check out the Sametime 9 licenses for exact 'authorized user' terms and conditions), purchase sufficient entitlements for those users, and you are good to go. There is no need to deal with client access licenses, device access licenses, server licenses, or the other complicated license models that some of our competitors torture customers with. This means you can deploy Sametime 9 software on as many servers as you like and the only thing you need to track is the number of users authorized to use that software. Purchasing departments and IT managers charged with tracking your organization's software entitlements will really appreciate how Sametime 9's simple licensing model makes their lives easier.
Sametime Communicate, Sametime Conference, and Sametime Complete also include the ability to collaborate with applicable external users at no extra charge. Be sure to read the Sametime 9 licenses for exact terms and conditions but the net is that an applicable external user is any person that is not directly affiliated with and paid by your organization such as an employee or contractor (i.e. an authorized user) that uses Sametime to communicate with an authorized user. For example, an education institution that provides e-learning services using Sametime Conference would only need to ensure their teachers were appropriately licensed, not the students that those teachers provide instruction to. That's pretty amazing when you consider there could be tens of thousands of external users in such a scenario.
All Sametime 9 editions also include all the pre-requisite software (databases, web servers, etc) at no extra charge. Contrast that to some competitors products that force you to buy all those piece parts separately and I'm sure you'll agree the Sametime 9 product family delivers unbeatable value.
To summarize, our main motivation behind redesigning the Sametime 9 packaging model was to deliver greater value to Sametime customers in a way that was easy to understand. This, combined with the simple licensing model and many new and enhanced technical capabilities, makes Sametime 9 an exciting and high value release that organizations will want to start taking advantage of right away. To that end, my next post will describe how easy we've made it for existing Sametime 8.5 customers to move to and start taking advantage of Sametime 9.
I'm happy to announce that the new IBM Sametime Widgets for IBM Connections are available for download from the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog in Greenhouse. As you know this is a new way for us to distribute new capabilities and we're very excited about these particular offerings.
As promised, we're delivering three widgets: Video Chat, Chat Rooms and Meeting Rooms. These widgets are designed to work in the context of Connections Communities. They bring Sametime audio and video, persistent chat rooms and meeting rooms to community members right from the IBM Connections user interface.
This is one more step on our quest to offer close integration with IBM Connections. As you all know we started with Sametime Meetings integration with Connections Files on IBM SmartCloud and on mobile clients. We also provide integration with Connections Profiles on Sametime mobile clients. Well, this is yet another milestone in our roadmap. There's more to come in the future.
In the meantime, check the widgets out, let us know what you think and don't hesitate to ping us if you run into any issues with them. The nice thing about distributing through the Solutions Catalog is that we can update them as often as needed.
#ucoms As you are hopefully aware, we made many enhancements in Sametime 8.5.2 that help you collaborate more effectively and easily with colleagues outside your firewall. Sametime 8.5.2 browser-based meetings with audio
and video can help you build deeper relationships with customers and business partners, eliminate
expensive monthly fees from hosted meeting services, and reduce the need for audio conferencing, voicemail, and even travel. If those weren't reason enough to buy now, here's one more.
For a limited time, the commercial IBM Passport Advantage® Relationship
Suggested Volume Prices (RSVP) and Passport Advantage Express® Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for
selected eligible new IBM Sametime Standard
for Extranet Processor Value Unit and Sametime Advanced Extranet Processor Value
Unit products have been reduced by 75%. This means it's now more cost-effective than ever to experience rich online collaboration with customers, partners, vendors and more.
Orders must be received by IBM on or after August 2, 2011 but no later than December 31, 2011. This discount is available worldwide except in Japan.
***UPDATED 2011-08-12*** For a list of eligible products, and additional details, restrictions, applicability, and all the standard legal boilerplate fine-print, please refer to the specific links provided below:
On behalf of the entire Sametime team, I am pleased to announce that Sametime 8.5 will be available for download on December 22nd. Happy Holidays!
IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5
represents the next generation of unified communications and collaboration
software. As you can see, we've packed in quite a bit into this release:
A new online meeting experience that is integrated into the IBM Lotus Sametime Connect
client. Join a meeting with a single click. Easily invite others by dragging
their names from the contact list. Accept meeting invitations with a single
click. Upload meeting materials via simple drag and drop.
New zero-download, browser-based chat and meeting clients that extend
the desktop experience to wherever the user is working.
A new standards-based audio and video infrastructure that enables more seamless interoperability
with third party audio and video conferencing systems.
New audio and video codecs that provide higher quality native voice and
video services for a more compelling collaborative experience out-of-the-box.
New Web 2.0 APIs that let developers embed Sametime capabilities into Web sites
and applications so users switch context less.
A new, browser-based Apple iPhone chat client, support for the Blackberry
Storm, and an improved mobile client for Microsoft® Windows® Mobile devices.
New social views that make it easier to find the people you collaborate
with the most.
Deeper integration with Microsoft and Lotus products
A new System Console that centralizes infrastructure configuration, deployment,
management, and policy management for all Sametime services.
We'll be exploring all of these capabilities in the new year... but Sametime 8.5 is really about simplicity. Simplicity promotes adoption and adoption creates return on investment. Ask yourself these questions: How often do you loose the first ten minutes of a meeting providing instructions on how to log into the web conference? Have you invested in video conferencing systems that sit unused because no one knows they're there or how to use them? Do you want to deliver unified communications services into the applications your employees already use? Do you have a mix of communication and collaboration systems that are difficult to use, isolated and underutilized? If so, Sametime 8.5's unified user experience and open integration can help make UC simple for users, leverage those existing investments and drive real business value.
In case you haven't noticed, IBM Sametime 9 is a pretty significant release for us. It marks a new chapter in the life of the platform in more ways than the version number alone suggests. So far Sametime 9 has been well received. Analysts like it, customers like it and business partners are busy learning about it and deploying it for their customers.
All this is encouraging and it validates the decision we made to move on from our old UC2 strategy and embrace Social Communications as our guiding principle. We worked very hard to make Sametime 9 a proof point of that strategy and to use it as a launchpad for a new way to deliver software and bring innovation to the marketplace.
Transitioning from Sametime 8.x to Sametime 9 is like a play in two acts: Act One features us--designers, product managers, developers, sellers, and all the people that makes shipping software possible but you never see at conferences or "singing" karaoke at Kimonos in Orlando. Act Two brings our customers and business partners to the stage while we move to playing supporting roles.
The play is still running through the last scenes of Act One and the frenzy is starting to heat up backstage as Act Two is about to start.
The play is a drama (of course) garnished with hints of comedy and musical theater--there are a couple of songs somewhere in the script. The Sametime Song you've probably heard a million times, and this one, which I just came across on YouTube:
I don't know these guys but I applaud their enthusiasm. Now let me tell you about Act One.
After we released Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1 in November of 2011 we understood the 8.5 code base had run its course. We initially tried to structure an 8.5.3 release but we quickly realized that we needed to close the 8.x chapter and move on. At some point we thought about skipping a version number and go with Sametime 10. That lasted for a few months. Then somehow we decided it was better to go with 9 and that's what we ended up doing: Sametime 9 it is.
We sat down to ponder where we wanted to take Sametime moving forward. We decided to focus our efforts on four main areas: rich communications, mobile, enhancing the social experience and cloud. Then we took inventory of our existing capabilities in each area, we talked to customers and business partners about what we needed to do to get us where we wanted to be, and we devised a plan to get there.
First we focused on taking Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1 to SmartCloud for Social Business and in adding the capabilities needed to give our customers an attractive offering: integration with Connections Files, built-in audio conferencing, server-side remote control and meetings recordings, and other features that were not originally shipped with Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1.
Getting a cloud-based offering up and running was by far the easiest of the many things we realized we had to do. We spent most of 2012 doing that and the result is IBM Web Meetings, an IBM SmartCloud for Social Business offering.
We also understood that our cloud story required not only a public-cloud offering but also an option for those customers interested in having their own private environments with integrated telephony hosted within the IBM SmartCloud infrastructure. That's how the new IBM SmartCloud Unified Communications Dedicated offering was born.
Secondly, we understood we needed to revamp our media services infrastructure to support the next generation of mobile apps we had envisioned. We also knew (because you told us) that we had to provide a richer, more personal set of integration points with IBM Connections, WebSphere Portal, Notes and the rest of the IBM software portfolio. So, we set out to build a brand new media services infrastructure from scratch. We wanted it to be standards-based, highly scalable, flexible enough to support not just our desktop client technology but also our Web and mobile clients. Julie Reed has been blogging about that extensively in the past few weeks.
Finally, we took a long, hard look at Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1 and we noticed it looked like a Windows 95 application (I have to credit John Del Pizzo for such a witty observation). We then decided that we needed a brand new user interface. Thankfully, IBM had recently introduced a new user experience framework called IBM One UI that gave us the modern, streamlined user interface you see today in Sametime 9. Then, as we always do, we allocated bandwidth to clean up, update and improve the platform.
Then we were ready to build our next major release: IBM Sametime 9.
Doing all this took long days and nights; hundreds (thousands, perhaps?) of meetings, conference calls and IM and email exchanges. Release schedules were proposed and discarded. People went on medical leave, others left, and new people came on board. Many content proposals were considered and rejected and--here's the drama--while we were in the middle of all this we were asked to be the first team in the Collaboration Solutions Group to follow the new release management methodology IBM just recently adopted across all product segments.
The new release methodology promised to make the entire process shorter, more focused and less onerous (it did). There was one little problem: It was technically still under development when we made the switch and we had to absorb changes while in flight and reflect them accordingly on the work products we had to complete. We had a long Spring and an even longer Summer. Many of us just got used to working weekends as if they were weekdays. I, for one, did not take any time off until September 27, seven days after we shipped.
Lots of work, for sure, but with very good results. Sametime 9 is a great release and we're all very proud of the work we did to make it happen.
IBM Sametime 9 is the embodiment of the four themes I alluded to above: rich communications, mobile, enhancing the social experience and cloud. I know you've probably read about this in other postings on this blog but I'm going to repeat it anyway because it's wroth mentioning.
Sametime 9 features the new IBM One UI-based user experience designed to get you where you need to go in no more than three clicks (or taps). It's primarily visual, with very little text on the user interface (reading takes longer than spotting an image) and it makes better use of the available space on the client. It's also faster than our old UI framework and it brings all relevant communication channels to the forefront for easy access; all on a common user experience across clients and platforms.
Sametime 9 also features a standards-based media infrastructure built from scratch exclusively for IBM Sametime 9 and implemented on top of WebSphere Application Server.
Our new media infrastructure is an implementation of the H.264 SVC standard. SVC stands for Scalable Video Coding. It's a very efficient way to distribute video streams between a Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) and two or more endpoints (clients). This makes the system as a whole capable of handling high workloads and complex topologies through clustering and geographic distribution.
When we talk scalability in this case we're referring to three different ways in which the new media infrastructure can handle workload and topology: In addition to the intrinsic benefits of the H.264 SVC standard we've added features such as server-side recordings (we already support client-side recording) for meetings, the ability to dial out to audio conferencing bridges via third-party gateways and we are retaining backward compatibility with non-SVC endpoints such as Sametime 8.5.x clients.
We're working on the next generation of mobile apps for Sametime 9. Our new mobile apps will feature audio, video and telephony support along with lots of new capabilities. For instance, our new meetings apps for Android and iOS will feature the first installment of a concept we call Smarter Meetings, which is a specification for capabilities designed to help you optimize the time you spend in meetings and enhance your situational awareness prior, during and after a meeting. The idea is to help you make better, more informed, more educated decisions around issues being discussed with your colleagues, customers and business partners.
Sametime 9 also features closer integration with IBM Connections as part of our commitment to enhancing the social experience. We're starting with integration with IBM Connections Files on SmartCloud and on our new mobile meetings apps, which will also feature integration with Connections Profiles.
We're working on three Widgets initially for Connections communities (and Portal later): the Sametime Video Widget, a Meeting Rooms Widget and a Persistent Chat Rooms Widget. We have a long list of integration points we want to implement and we're just getting started. You'll see more in this area in the future.
Finally, we repackaged our offerings to make them more functionality-oriented. Sametime Entry, Standard and Advanced were, for the most part, structured around what's included in the server components that conform each offering. Our new Sametime Communicate, Conference and Complete offerings are structured around the functionality our customers need for one-to-one communications, Web conferencing and full-fledged social communications respectively. We continue to offer Sametime Unified Telephony as part of our offering catalog with all the functionality and robustness that made it famous at a great price.
Sametime 9 supports Notes 9 and higher; it supports Connections 4.5 and higher and Portal 8.5 and higher. It's available in Greenhouse today if you want to play with it.
Next, we're taking it to SmartCloud.
Sametime 9 shipped in September of this year, as I mentioned before. We're working on a Hotfix scheduled for November that will make Sametime 9 compliant with the new US Government encryption guidelines that are coming into effect on January 1, 2014. The Hotfix also includes updates to our integration with Microsoft Office applications. We're adding support for Office and SharePoint 2013 on Windows 7 and on Windows 8. We'll also publish the Widgets I mentioned earlier to the Solutions Catalog in Greenhouse. This is the first time we're going to deliver product functionality this way and we're very excited about it.
I mentioned we're taking Sametime 9 to SmartCloud. We'd like that to happen in two stages.
We want the first half of 2014 to be all about upgrades to the SmartCloud for Social Business offerings as well as the SmartCloud UC Dedicated infrastructure. We'd like to add support for mobile apps and add new capabilities to the offerings as well. That's our intention but, as you know full well, all plans are subject to change without notice.
On the second half of the year we'd like to focus on enabling multi-point audio and video in SmartCloud and in completing feature parity with the on-premises code base. Again, that's what we'd like to do.
In the meantime, we'll continue working on what's next. This is work that's already started. We are already consolidating the information we've been gathering from sales, development, our customers and business partners on what should come first on Sametime Next. We're also transitioning to a new delivery model that's more dynamic, more flexible and more open. Continuous Delivery and Cloud First (that's the name) is transforming the way we design, build and ship software. You'll hear more from us on this topic as we move along.
That's Act One of this play. I'll tell you about Act Two on a future blog posting. Stay tuned.
I've been doing the rounds across the country (Dallas, Orlando and, today, Chicago) talking about what's new in Sametime 8.5.2. I get questions about what is the main theme for 8.5.2.
As most of you remember, 8.5 was all about meetings. 8.5.1 introduced refinements to that theme by making the meetings experience even easier. 8.5.2 continues to drive along those lines with a special focus on audio and video. So, I can say 8.5.2 is all about the audio and video experience.
This release brings audio and video to the Web meetings client:
Audio and video on Web meetings opens a plethora of new possibilities.
For instance, all you need to do to launch a meeting room enabled for audio and video is embed a URL to the room on your Web page. The Web page may correspond to a portal, a self-service application, a customer service application or anything you want. A Sametime meeting room, being as easy to launch as a chat session, can become your new paradigm for customer service. Why stop at chatting when you can offer your customers a full-blown meeting room?
Bringing audio and video to the Web meetings client provides us with a nice deployment pattern for other capabilities on the Web browser. The browser extension model we're using to deliver the Sametime Web Player is secure, reliable and offers great performance. Unlike our old applet-based approach, You install it once and that's it. It can be downloaded the first time you enter a meeting room or it can be pre-provisioned on the browser by IT.
In addition to delivering audio and video on the Web meetings client, we're also delivering new capabilities that users will only notice if they're not there.
First on the list is NAT traversal, a new component based on the ICE/STUN/TURN standards. The new Sametime TURN Server (I wanted "Stun Server" but apparently there was a risk that no one would come near the thing...) helps Sametime audio and video play nice with firewalls so people can hear and see each other regardless of where they happen to be.
We're also delivering bandwidth management capabilities for audio and video. The new Sametime Bandwidth Manager helps audio and video play nice with the network. We all know audio and video tend to be bandwidth hogs. Bandwidth Manager regulates bandwidth usage to allow other applications to use the network as well.
We're also enhancing our TCSPI adapter model. 8.5.2 allows you to deploy two TCSPI adapters simultaneously. You can deploy, for instance, a third-party video adapter and an audio conferencing bridge adapter concurrently to give users a richer audio and video conferencing experience.
Finally, the new deployment option for the Sametime soft phone (SUT Lite license), allows you to integrate Sametime to certified SIP-based video end points as well as SIP gateways to enable telephone and video calls directly from the Sametime Connect client.
As you can see, we put a lot of effort in making audio and video easier to adopt; in providing a richer experience and in enabling more of the Sametime user interface with audio and video. Notice a trend here? If you do, you'll notice how our focus is turning to audio and video and mobility: we're delivering two new native mobile clients, one for Android, and a meetings client for BlackBerry. Stay tuned and you'll see more of this in upcoming releases.
I'm still playing catch up from Lotusphere (maybe next weekend, after
some of the adrenaline subsides I'll play "rest up") but I wanted to pop
in here for a quick blog post. WOWWW. That was an amazingly insanely
fantastic Lotusphere experience. Thanks to all of you!
I know I'm a Lotus Geek because I'm watching the Super
Bowl tomorrow because Sametime is there! I'm a Dolphin Fan. They
For those of you that were not at Lotusphere that are loyal blog
readers, Sametime has gone Social and is going to the Super Bowl The
very beginning of the closing session was a demo of Sametime being
utilized at the Superbowl for real time security communications. This is
a clear example that Sametime or UCC is the "Action" in a Social
Imagine the challenge of keeping over 100,000
people safe with a vast array of emergency teams ready to respond and
take action at one of the most popular events of the year.
You need a real time communications system to take action right now and
the right person and get the right response.
This is a social network with real implications.
Traditionally you have multiple agencies operating on different systems and on
different radio frequencies. We bring these disparate systems together with a solution called
Radio Connect from UnifiedEdge based on IBM Sametime Standard.
RadioConnect for Sametime has been successfully deployed as a permanent
technology component in the Joint Emergency Operations Center at the City of
Fort Worth, Texas reaching tens of thousands of workers. And this Sunday - it is being used to bring
together 60 different agencies on multiple radio frequencies in the most important game in American Football
– the Super Bowl.
For years, Lotus Notes has included a basic version of Sametime. It provides simple presence and text chat within the Notes / Domino environment. For online meetings, voice, video, file transfers, screen captures, mobile clients, browser clients, the gateway for public IM federation, etc, etc, etc, users needed a license to Sametime Standard or Advanced. Yet, for some reason, we never had an easy upgrade path in place. Now, we do.
Buried in the Sametime 8.5 Announcement Letter are these new part numbers:
Lotus Sametime Standard Extension from Sametime Limited Entitlement (D0CCALL) (D0CC9LL)
Lotus Sametime Advanced Extension from Sametime Limited Entitlement (D0CCBLL)
They let Notes users 'extend' their Notes licenses with Sametime Standard or Advanced capabilities at a discounted price. While the part numbers are in the Sametime 8.5 Announcement, they
can be used for Sametime Standard 8.0.x or Advanced 8.0.x as well. (Just to be clear, these are just for Notes users and you can only extend the number of Notes licenses you have on active maintenance. For users without Notes, you need a regular Standard or Advanced license.)
But, there you go Notes customers, upgrade to Sametime Standard or Advanced today!
* December 16, 2009 update: Corrected Standard Extension part number.
We have great news for you today. Over the week-end, we enhanced IBM SmartCloud for Social Business with a brand new capability: audio-video calling.
First, let’s start with a quick reminder on what you were able to experience in the IBM cloud over the past few month. SmartCloud users have been able to chat with other users, transfer files between each other, and – my personal favorite – they can dynamically select and share a portion of their desktop. So, if I want to quickly show you any part of my desktop, I can do it in one click. And I could perform all of these actions just using a browser or a mobile device.
With this latest update, we are now adding one-to-one audio-video calling to instant messaging. How this works is very simple. Let’s imagine that you and I are starting a chat (of course, with a very polite “hi…”). You will now see two new buttons in your chat window: one to start an audio-video call, and one to start an audio-only call. After you click on the video button, I can accept the request, and both of us can see each other in a quality video call.
And if you - or I - would like to skip the camera – trust me there are many times when I am not ready for it – then we can just talk to each other. From computer to computer. Simple. For that, we both just need a browser.
The mobile client (iOS or Android) will soon be available in your favorite app. store. We will let you know in this blog when it is available for download.
So is this a big deal ?
Oh... Yes… We believe that the use of video is critical to collaboration and social. There are many situations where a quick talk, or engaging in a video conversation, is much more efficient that a text-based chat. Every time you need to show something real (as opposed to virtual…), a whiteboard, a paper-based drawing, or a piece of high-tech equipment, a video is worth a thousand words (and even less when you have to type all these words on your tiny phone).
And there are so many other ways to leverage quality video when you need to better communicate with someone else: for an interview, or for a 1-1 meeting with your new boss... Seeing someone is key to establishing trust, or not…
So, if you want to get a first-hand experience at this new video experience, here is a video interview that was recently recorded.
There is one more SmartCloud enhancement that I will cover in my next blog. For now, go ahead and jump on the cloud to try this new browser-based video experience.
On behalf of the entire IBM Unified Communication & Collaboration organization, I am pleased to introduce IBM Sametime 8.5.2 (Standard, Advanced and SUT). This is an absolutely jam packed release that continues to deliver against our "UC2" vision. More importantly, this release helps position Sametime as a critical part of your Social Business Platform... making it possible to find, reach and collaborate with your colleagues, customers and partners when and how it is most beneficial.
Here's an overview of whats new in this release:
New in Audio / Video (av):
Native and third-party audio and video in browser-based online meetings. Sametime 8.5 made it easy to access meetings through the Connect client or through a browser. Now we've added audio video to the browser experience. You can leverage our own native capabilities (up to 20 people with switched video) or use third party audio, video conferencing and telepresence systems for more robust capabilities. Either way, all it takes is a a small browser plug-in (2 mb).
Standard-based Network Address Translation (NAT) support and Firewall traversal for Audio & Video. This bit of infrastructure makes it easy to use av with customers, partners and anyone outside of your network.
Bandwidth management tools to protect the network by managing audio and video usage. Protect your mission critical applications by controlling how much bandwidth is allocated to av overall, how much is allocated to different classes of users and locations and politely prevent av sessions from connecting if there is inadequate bandwidth.
Support for dual Telephone Conferencing Service Provider Interface (TCSPI) adapters. This enables simultaneous integration with multiple audio and video conferencing systems and gives users the choice of which makes the most sense for them.
New in Mobility:
A new Sametime client for Google Android devices Text to speech reads you incoming messages, embed images in Sametime chats, update your location through the phone's GPS and initiate SUT calls.
A new Sametime Meeting client for Research In Motion (RIM) Blackberry devices
New in Telephony:
SUT Lite Client License An easy way to get started down the UC path, this new license turns your Sametime Connect client into a simple softphone. It requires minimal configuration (a SIP trunk from the Sametime Media Manager) to make or receive voice or video calls.
Intelligent number recognizers within the chat window. Sametime will now recognize phone numbers sent to you via instant message and let you click on them to dial.
Active speaker notification in ad-hoc conference calls
SUT Dialer on Google Android devices Change your preferred SUT device and initiate SUT calls while mobile. Call recipients will see your unified number and other Sametime users will see when you are on the phone.
New in Sametime Advanced
An infrastructure refresh that improves both scalability and deployability. Sametime Advanced helps you interact with communities of users (for example, your IBM Connections Communities) in real time. A great way to tap into experts you don't personally know right when you need them.
Its big day for Sametime partner news. Polycom has announced the availability of the integration of their video conferencing solutions and Sametime UC product. The integrated offering allows users to use their Sametime 8.5.1 desktop video clients to join Polycom video conferences along with other room system and telepresence users.
"Unified communications and collaboration is about making it easy for
people to find, connect and collaborate with others," said Joseph
Burton, chief strategy and technology officer, Polycom. "Polycom's
integration with the IBM UC2 environment puts our powerful, productivity
enhancing video collaboration tools just one-click away within the
Lotus applications that millions of people use every day. This extends
the value of customers' UC investments and drives greater ROI."
This week's Business Partner Tuesday is a day late, but if you saw our earlier post today, you'de know why :-)
Would you like to connect instantly with other members of the Lotus Community? Perhaps your favorite blogger? A presenter you saw at Lotusphere? A Lotus Business Partner? Or even an IBMer? Well the people running BleedYellow.com are helping make this a reality. Here's an easy how-to guide to set yourself up. I've already done it, so you can now connect with me via Sametime (say hi!).
BleedYellow is a public Lotus Connections site, run by IBM Business Partner Lotus911 (now GROUP). So the first thing you need to do, is go there and register. (the Register link is at the bottom left corner, as shown below):
Once you have an ID and PW on BleedYellow, you next go into your Lotus Sametime client, and add an additional community, allowing you to connect to both your company's Sametime server to chat with your coworkers, and the BleedYellow Sametime server to chat with people from all over the world (but you already knew that Sametime client can connect to multiple communities, didn't you...)
In Sametime: - Choose File - Manage Server Communities from the top menu. - Click Add New Server Community - On the Log In Tab, add the username that you registered at BleedYellow.com, and your password. * Note: Some people have told me that they use the email address they registered on BleedYellow with, not their username.
On the Server tab, enter im.bleedyellow.com as the Host Server, and 1533 as the Server community port.
Then click OK at the bottom. Now the last thing you have to do is add a group so you can see the people to chat with. Click on the New icon, and choose New Group:
Select Search for a public group (1), select the bleedyellow community (2), search for the group yellowbleeders, select it (4), and click OK.
Thanks for all the positive feedback on the Sametime 8.5 Meetings demo! It seems I've tapped some latent demand. Yes, we will be making these available on IBM.com as soon we clear the posting requirements. In the meantime, IBM'ers can download them from our internal Connections site (see my Files area). When the rest of them are done, we'll bundle them up and post a collection publicly.
Savings Bank, one of Finanz Informatik's many customers, just unveiled a brand new service they call Online Chat that allows customers to communicate with their financial advisors. The service is based on the IBM Sametime Web Chat client and it integrates with the bank's Interactive Service Platform developed by Finanz Informatik. This new service is yet another branch of the multi-channel customer service infrastructure Savings Bank has set up for its customers. It all runs out of the call center. It's easy to use, and it's already proving to be very effective. Take a look:
Don't worry if you don't speak German.
Congratulations to our friends at Finanz Informatik. This is a great implementation and a mighty fine example of what IBM Sametime can do. Congratulations also to Savings Bank. I'm sure their customers will be very pleased with the new service.
The 12-question survey asks about joining and hosting Sametime Meetings. The goal of this survey is to gather statistics around views used, number of meetings typically joined and hosted, and the ease of use. The data we collect from this survey will help us with future design decisions that better the product.
Thank you for your time and continued support of Sametime!
Over the past couple years in my role as Product Manager for Rich Media in Sametime , I’ve been excited about the great new video capabilities we were introducing in Sametime 9 and the business value the continuous presence experience could bring to our customers. However, I must confess that I was less than enthusiastic about using it myself. Certainly not the endorsement you would expect from the Product Manager – but hear me out.
Like many people, I don’t particularly like being on video. Maybe it’s due to feeling self-conscious or maybe it’s just a generational thing. Face it, I’m not only over the hill – but I’ve made a good start down the other side! However, sometimes in life you’ve got to do things you’re not comfortable doing – and as Product Manager for Rich Media, this was one of those times.
I started using our new video platform as soon as it was ready – okay, even before it was ready. In the beginning, the main purpose was testing. We would initiate a video call, wave at each other, ask the proverbial question “can you hear me?”, and hang up shortly thereafter. We were still falling back to telephone calls and dialing into an IBM conference bridge for most of our discussions.
As we got into the beta stage, within our Product Management team, we started using it more frequently for real conversations. The discussion might be as adhoc as “Are you seeing this behaviour in the Sametime 9 client?” – but instead of simply IM’ing or making a Sametime Unified Telephony call, we actually initiated an AV call. With the Sametime 9 Connect client, it’s a single click to escalate a group chat into a multi-way video call.
It wasn’t long before we were using Sametime 9 Meetings with AV for our regular team meetings. I would typically undock my video window to move it to my second monitor, allowing me to maximize the shared content pane on my laptop screen (perhaps another generational thing...). As a team that’s distributed across the US and Canada, we don’t “see” each other regularly. With video, the experience became more personal - we had a chance to see each other’s workspaces, we learned who talked with their hands, and we were able to quickly see when someone was in agreement or possibly confused. Most importantly, our interactions became more engaged.
Like many people in other organizations, IBMers are guilty of multi-tasking. When talking on the phone – or participating in an audio conference call – it’s common to try to respond to that urgent email or polish up that slide deck needed by the end of day. It takes resolve to ignore everything else – and truly focus on the current topic and conversation. I found continuous presence video can quickly have a big impact on reducing the multi-tasking and improving the focus in the discussion and result in more effective meetings. There are a couple reasons - first by seeing the speaker and other participants, one’s attention is drawn to the meeting and visual cues and body language become part of the communication. The other reason? Well when one is on video, one is less likely to multi-task as others on the call will detect the lack of attention. In some ways, video is an added dose of resolve!
John Del Pizzo and I started using Sametime 9 video for our weekly 1x1. The more we used video, the more natural it became – and the experience was much like we were sitting across the table from each other.
We even conducted our Sametime 9 Analyst Briefings on the Sametime 9 Beta platform in IBM Greenhouse using video. The new browser support allowed analysts to join from their Mac or Windows machines as guests. After installing the Sametime plug-in, the analysts were able to participate in the continuous video experience with John, Kramer, and me. With Sametime 9, Mac users can choose to use Apple Safari or Mozilla Firefox – and Windows users can choose between Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome. The new browser support combined with the new built-in extranet model also enables Sametime customers to include external participants in video meetings.
The new video capabilities in Sametime 9 are something you need to experience! I’ve provided personal examples of the value it can bring, but don’t take my word for it. A recent survey by Polycom and Wainhouse is worth reviewing (find it here: http://tinyurl.com/nfbceve). A couple key points to note from this survey. First, the biggest value most respondents attributed to video was the ability to improve productivity and to increase the impact of discussions. Second, the survey showed that those users that use video conferencing are likely to use it on a daily or weekly basis.
Clearly, my experience supports that second point. Once someone begins to use video, even a skeptical user like me, the value of the experience quickly overcomes the hesitation. Eventually, even I stopped glancing at the preview window – and put my focus on the other video participants – and the “real face to face communication”.
Let me share a few observations from my personal experience with Sametime 9 video in IBM.
Don’t underestimate the experience of interacting “face to face” with your globally distributed organization!
Initiating a Sametime AV call is easy and quick! You will not have time to swap that heavy metal t-shirt you’re wearing for that light blue button down shirt hanging in your closet, so think ahead.
You never know which executive or customer may be on the other end of that “video call” invitation you accept (… in your role as Product Manager for Rich Media)… dress appropriately.
If you are someone who likes to pace while you are on a call, you may want to invest in a wide angled camera for your laptop.
It’s amazing how many people wear baseball caps at their desks!
I will be following up in the next few weeks with some additional entries about the Rich Media capabilities in Sametime 9, so please check back. If you’re curious about what’s coming on our mobile platforms to support these new video capabilities – see Marc Pagnier’s post earlier this week which shared a video with some sneak previews – and stay tuned on this blog for more details coming soon!
Hopefully, you had the opportunity to attend yesterday's Social Business launch event. (If not, here's a link to the replay.) The theme was "Reinvent work with the right platform for social business" and I am hoping that you are now - even more - convinced of the value of the IBM social business portfolio. Sure, I would not have minded if the presentations had been sprinkled with a few more mentions of our products, e.g. "Sametime 9 is awesome" or "Sametime 9 is the most important Sametime release EVER" , etc. ... but as we heard yesterday, it's not about the technology, it is about how we use it to transform our business...
My personal favorite from this event was a presentation by Lane Masterson from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, who provided a very compelling testimony about the usage of Sametime in his organization. Sametime has become "the primary method of informal communication". Weekly face-to-face meetings that used to be costly and irregularly attended are now becoming more collaborative and efficient, through the use of video conferencing. All of this while reducing travel costs and productivity losses. "Every desktop has become a virtual video-conferencing room". Impressive presentation altogether.
And if you have time, don't forget to check some great stats on their site (random fun fact: it is impressive that over 73% of Australian households have broadband access)
What we also saw yesterday are great demo snippets from Suzanne Livingston and Luis Benitez who provided a small window into what a perfect "day in the life" could be. That is for someone lucky enough to be using the IBM product portfolio, where one can seamlessly flow from social collaboration to ... social communications (with Sametime 9). After these teasers, John Del Pizzo followed up with a breakout session ("Drive business results with the new Sametime 9") on the modern state of communications (Simple, Smart, Social, Secure) and a deeper dive on the new capabilities of Sametime 9.
So what is new in Sametime 9 ?
1. A modern look-and-feel ... with a new interface that reflects the latest mobile design techniques, and an end-to-end user experience that optimizes the flow of how users communicate.
Does not it make sense to enjoy a great experience.... consistent across the devices that you use throughout the day ?
2. A best-of-breed HD audio-video experience with continuous presence for more engaging collaboration.
Don't you think that the breakout session from this morning with John's video was much more compelling than a set of narrated slides ?
3. A very simple all-inclusive offering structure with a built-in extranet model (see previous posts from William Kulju).
No other server, client or device access licenses, and no hidden pre-requisites for other client or server components. It is that simple.
4. And ... even tighter integration into the industry's leading enterprise social networking platform (IBM Connections).
And so much more ...
If you are dying to learn more about Sametime 9... don't worry... we are planning to dive more deeply into some key areas over the next few weeks in this blog. Just to whet your appetite, here are a few teasers. Julie Reed will provide more specifics on the video capabilities and start peeling back the onion (layers) to better understand video standards. Marlon Machado will provide more information on new product features that really matter. We will also shine the light on two critical areas ... mobile and social ... where we want to demonstrate our market leadership.
So come back.. often...
As we are getting hold of these video vignettes of today's event, we will share the links as comments to this blog post.
In case you missed the tweeting a few weeks ago, you should know that a new cloud offering for Unified Communications was launched by IBM (it's us) on April 16th. Under the name "IBM SmartCloud Unified Communications Dedicated", this offering delivers a complete communications suite from a private cloud. This solution is built on enterprise-grade software components, such as: feature rich telephony, instant messaging and presence from IBM Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony, unified messaging from IBM, video integration, and more... A wide variety of communication devices can be made available with softphones, deskphones, and of course, support for smartphones and tablets.
This offering is designed to facilitate the transition to cloud-based telephony, and provides support for flexible deployment models (IBM data centers, or managed on customer premises). This offering is the result of an extended partnership between IBM Collaboration Services (Sametime software) and IBM Global Technology Services (ex: networking and managed services), aimed at delivering a best-of-breed and complete UC solution.
For more information, here is the official IBM announcement (www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=897/ENUS613-002&infotype=AN&subtype=CA). You can expect more news around this new offering over the next few months.
If you have any questions, please reach out to me, or anyone in the Sametime product management team.
I'm about to embark on some design work regarding security models for online meetings. This is an especially fun and challenging design task, since we have many possible options, but presenting them in a straightforward, uncomplicated way to end users can be tricky.
I'd love to hear from some of you regarding which online security capabilities matter most to you, and why. Here are some capabilities that come to mind:
Meeting rooms that are hidden (i.e., people can't find them by searching, except by exact match)
Meeting room passwords, including rules around when they expire
Only authenticated users can join
Meeting participants can join only if the meeting room owner is in the room
Meeting room access control lists (you can only join if your name is in the list)
Locking a room (i.e., no one can enter the room once it is locked)
Which of these do you use? Which of these would you never use?
So you want an easy entry point to bring VoIP into your enterprise? As you heard from our May 18 announcement, we added the IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client license to our Sametime product family. This easy-to-deploy VoIP solution quickly adds many softphone capabilities directly to your users' desktops right from their Sametime Connect client. We just posted a demonstration of how this works to YouTube. Take a look, and let us know what you think!
As I blogged about on NoJitter back in June ("The Future of UC is
Social" --> http://www.nojitter.com/blog/229900178?queryText=the+future+of+UC+is+social
), I disagree with the premise that it's either UC or social
collaboration, but not both. Enterprises for some time have been asking
to make UC part of a broader collaboration environment, including newer
collaboration capabilities such as blogs, wikis, forums and communities.
Users want a variety of tools to use, and more importantly, the ability
to pivot between various tools depending on the circumstances they're
in, and from the applications and environments they're working from,
whether business process applications, mobile device, e-mail client, web
application, etc. And many analysts have been seeing the same thing; I
believe Gartner just recently said by 2014 more than 20% of business
users will use social networks as their primary communication hubs, and
separately said that the distinction between UC and collaboration will
disappear altogether by 2013.
I also believe that, while many
recent UC startups and cloud offerings in the consumer space are
spurring innovation, the levels of security, policy management and other
administration features demanded by enterprises are going to stay out
of reach for many consumer-focused UC and collaboration vendors -- cloud
or on premises. Social collaboration, including voice and video,
generates a certain level of agida on the part of enterprise Legal, IT,
and Finance that has to be addressed by any serious vendor.
Microsoft and Cisco are by no means the only vendors integrating social
collaboration with unified communications. IBM has been doing this at
least since the launch of IBM Connections several years ago. Integration
with other IBM applications as well as with best-of-breed applications
and platforms through open standards-based APIs, has been the hallmark
of the IBM approach for some time.
What do you think? How fast do you think UC is merging with other collaboration tools? What are examples in your environments where this is -- or isn't -- happening?
A refreshing note from our friends at No Jitter... Brian Riggs writes about Unified Messaging for WebSphere Voice Response, an IBM product that sits at the core of VoiceRite's unified messaging solution for Notes and Sametime. You can find the article here. #LS11 #UCOMS
#ls11 If you want a quick overview of the many sessions covering UCC at Lotusphere 2011 you may want to listen to "Lotusphere Preview: Unified Communications and Collaboration", a new podcast hosted by Caleb Barlow, John Del Pizzo and David Marshak with the participation of the presenters (including yours truly) telling us about their sessions, what to expect, and why you should attend. Here's the link to it.
Hello Sametime Blog Community! My name is Lisa Harris. As of the 1st of this month, I am the Offering Manager for the core Sametime portfolio (Entry, Standard & Advanced). The rest of our team remains the same: SUT Offering Manager Kathleen Cooke, Product managers Rob Ingram and David Marshak, and Industry Solutions lead, Marlon Machado. John Del Pizzo, continues at the helm, as Director of the entire UCC portfolio and strategy.
I've been with IBM for eleven years, starting in our Services division. I spent the majority of my career holding multiple leadership roles in the HW business (PCs and xSeries) prior to moving to the SW division in 2007. My core role in our SW business was Pricing and Investment Specialist of our Lotus Social Software Business, Portal Solutions and Rational Enterprise and Modernization Tools.
I bring a very deep passion and fervor for Collaboration solutions, including a diversified background that touches on all the elements of a complete IBM solution.
It is with great excitement, passion and enthusiasm that I happily take over the reigns of Offering Manager and continue our Unified Communication & Collaboration vision with this great team.
While we strive to create a unified user experience for our Sametime users, on the back-end there are a lot of moving parts required to make a unified communications deployment running smoothly. To make it easier for Sametime administrators and developers to monitor what's going on and take pro-active steps to keep everything running at its best, Jim Dewan, a Lotus Services Fulfillment Specialist, developed a great free tool called Watchit (you can download the tool and a full article describing it from IBM developerWorks Lotus library here).
This article describes (and provides) a simple lightweight proactive
tool to assist administrators in better understanding the Lotus
Sametime user experience to reduce outages, respond to issues more
quickly, and improve the customer experience. In addition to monitoring
capabilities, this tool can assist in debug collection and take the
burden off users for problem recreates and data collection. By
combining network validation with Lotus Sametime IM, user awareness,
user login, and username look-up validation, never before has such a
complete picture of the user experience been available. By reducing outages, calls to the Help Desk, and anticipating problems, you can save money and improve user satisfaction with your Sametime deployments.
Since the article was first published, we've made some new additions to it, the result of stress tests with some of our own clients' major deployments. Additional improvements include:
LDAP monitoring plug-in: test bind and search requests to back-end LDAP servers to ensure connectivity and performance thresholds are met
Heartbeat plug-in: contact Watchit instance to ensure it is running
Exclude hosts to be network alerted on, or add maintance windows: it's important to exclude network validation of ports or hosts when those servers are down for maintenance
e-mail alerting: in addition to IM alerting, you can also set up e-mail alerts for off-hour notifications or paging
As if the greatly improved administrative experience, user experience and overall business value from IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 weren't enough (hey, I had a lot of coffee this morning), you might want to also know that IBM has announced that as of September 30, 2011 (over a year from now), IBM will no longer be providing support for Sametime 7 and Sametime 7.5. This should give you, our esteemed clients, plenty of time to upgrade. And remember, if you're on Software Maintenance (and most of you already are), there is no charge to upgrade*: begin planning your upgrade now by starting with Upgrade Central or Planning for migration from an earlier release in the Sametime Information Center.
(*terms and conditions apply, see Announcement Letter for details. I had to say that or IBM Legal would get mad at me).
Speaking of business partners, FaceTime has built a very nice solution that adds considerable value to Sametime deployments in various industry scenarios with high security and regulatory compliance requirements.
FaceTime for Sametime augments Sametime deployments with hardened compliance for regulatory and e-Discovery. It provides tamper-proof logging, it provides a framework for defining ethical boundaries, it allows exporting Sametime file transfers to IBM Enterprise Content Manager and it adds an e-Discovery user interface to facilitate searching and reviewing.
When it comes to security, the solution adds protection against viruses and worms for instant messaging sessions. When it comes to data loss prevention, it scans file transfers over IM sessions and it allows filtering file transfers by keywords and regular expressions.
Regarding management, the solution allows controlling availability of features (IM, VoIP, video) on a per-user basis and it provides a rich reporting framework that allows retrieving conversations as they occurred.
In short, wherever there's a need for IM archiving and compliance, security and data loss prevention on IM sessions, enforcing compliance, ethical boundaries and communication policies, I think FaceTime for Sametime is a a good way to go.
I got a piece of good news a few minutes ago. The WebSphere Portal team recently released a software asset called the IBM Retail Banking Template for WebSphere Portal. This is a generic retail banking application (a template) that integrates Sametime 8.5 through the Sametime Proxy toolkit. This is what it looks like:
When you click on the advisor's name a Sametime Web Client chat session starts so you can chat away for as long as you want. Pretty cool.
You can learn more about the template here. You can see it in action here.
In February, we let you know that our long-time leader, Akiba Saeedi, had moved on to new challenges in IBM (A Changing of the Guard). Today, I'd like to share a couple of additional organizational changes with you
First, I took over as head of the Sametime Product Management team in March. I have been extremely lucky to be a part of this team for the past two years and will do my best to clear the way for the real brains in the organization... our product managers Rob Ingram and David Marshak, SUT Offering Manager, Kathleen Cooke and our Industry Solutions/Collaboration Agenda lead, Marlon Machado.
Second, I'm very excited to announce that Jelan Heidelberg will take over for me next week as the Offering Manager for the core Sametime portfolio (Entry, Standard & Advanced.) You may know Jelan as the Offering Manager for Quickr, a role she's held for the last four years. Jelan really knows how to make the IBM machine move and I'm counting on her experience to help us accelerate the transformation that began with Sametime 7.5 and the Unified Communication & Collaboration vision.
Finally, we also have an important addition to our WW Sales Leadership. Rick Schonbrun, a long-time communications industry veteran, joined us in March. Rick was most recently President & CEO of Telovations, a managed services provider "offering outsourced communications services and applications delivered through a hosted SaaS model". He's also had senior sales and marketing roles with Sonexis, Expanets and 3COM. We're happy to have his expertise to guide us as the collaboration and communication markets continue to merge.
addition to meeting with customers and business partners, Lotusphere
is also a great opportunity to meet with IT analysts, reporters and
bloggers, share with them what we're up to, and get their feedback,
since they have such a strong pulse on the marketplace. Our Analyst
Relations lead, Public Relations lead, along with our Unified
Communications leadership team met, with several analysts and
reporters throughout the week.
wanted to summarize some of the feedback we received, mainly to show
IBM's continued commitment to the Unified Communications and
real-time collaboration market.
up is a video interview with Zeus Kerravala from Yankee Group. He particularly liked
the themes of multi-modal UC and cost effectiveness that were in the
broader themes covered in Bruce Morse's Unified Communications
Keynote Monday afternoon. Zeus is also a regular contributor to the nojitter.com blog.
think the most interesting new stuff right now revolves around the
Meetings [function in Sametime 8.5]. And I think that what we saw
especially how fast and easy it was."
Riggs from Current Analysis blogged extensively
about his thoughts from Lotusphere 2010 on nojitter.com. Money
Sametime client can of course provide the same click-to-call and
other telephony features. And with the release of SameTime Unified
Telephony last year, IBM can now deliver a soft phone that combines
instant messaging presence, telephony presence, and the ability to
initiate and receive calls in a multivendor PBX environment. So while
IBM has stayed out of the PBX business, it is quite capable of
delivering a UC-enriched soft phone that works with a variety of
IBM is demonstrating is that no matter where an organisation is
starting from, it can move the communication and collaboration
platform forward to wherever the organisation feels it needs to go:
in-house, hybrid or pure-play cloud.
Osterman from Osterman Research was at Lotusphere as well, also
producing a lengthy blog entry.
is making major strides toward moving its offerings into the cloud.
IBM is also focusing heavily on mobility, demonstrating a number of
interesting mobility-based features and functions for Notes, Sametime
and other platforms.
let us not forget the mainstream media. Sametime's press activities
at Lotusphere did generate articles in key technology and telephony
trade magazines including: NetworkWorld, Computerworld, ChannelWeb,
eWEEK, IDG, VON, V3 and TMCNet.
If you've read the Sametime 8.5 Requirements, you may have noticed that Windows is the only platform listed under the Connect client. As much as it pains me to say this - especially as a long-time Mac user - we've had to hold the Mac & Linux clients. This is simply a point-in-time statement and we intend to release them both in 2010. In the meantime, if you need Mac support in order to deploy Sametime 8.5, please contact me. There is a beta (which I've been using for months) that we will make available in select situations. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the new zero-download browser client, demo'd here.
Now, to keep the lawyers AND the finance folks happy, I am required to add this disclaimer anytime I make statements about future releases:
"The information on the new product is intended to outline our general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information on the new product is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract. The information on the new product is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code or functionality. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion."
Our friends at Arkadin have just published a very nice video showing how nicely their audio conferencing platform integrates with IBM Sametime.
Arkadin's Hybrid audio brings Sametime voice and PSTN telephony into an integrated experience right from Sametime Connect and Sametime Meetings. If you're coming to IBM Connect 2014 next week make sure to stop by the Arkadin booth at the exhibit hall to take a peek.
We have just posted an update to the Tech Note that outlines Sametime support for Citrix.
I know many of you have asked us to support more features on Citrix. We have a technical approach to resolving the outstanding technical issues that prevent us from providing full support and we are working on establishing a timeline for availability.
We're making progress in the meantime and this update is particularly significant. First, we now support Citrix XenApp 6.5. Secondly, we have documented a series of workarounds that help improve the Sametime experience on Citrix XenApp including screen sharing through the Sametime Web Meetings Client and screen capture on the Sametime Web Chat Client.
Today is the last official day of the IBM Sametime 9 Beta Program. A few minutes ago the program community in Greenhouse reverted to "Restricted". Now it's only visible to the 519 community members and we are no longer accepting applications for membership.
Today IBM Sametime 9 is running in pilot mode in Greenhouse. The current build is pretty close to the GA candidate. Audio and video are enabled and so are Broadcast Communities and Persistent Chat Rooms. Meetings with audio and video support are also enabled.
The plan is to enable all features, stabilize and harden the pilot environment and then move it to production. Right now only beta testers have access to it and we expect to make it available to the greater Greenhouse population soon.
I want to thank our beta testers, especially our on-premises beta testers for their participation and their feedback. We've learned a lot from this experience and we'll make sure to use this newly acquired knowledge to do it better next time.
I also want to thank those folks who sent out late applications for membership. Unfortunately we won't be able to process them as the program is now closed. But despair not, my friends, for Sametime 9 will be available to all Greenhouse members soon. Just keep an eye on this space for the latest news.
I'm sure most of you are familiar with TED Talks. Those of you who are not, you should. TED Talks are among the most interesting and thought-provoking lectures I've ever had the pleasure to attend. They bring some of the most innovative minds to present new ideas to audiences all over the world.
Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg is Chief of Surgery at the Cambridge Health Alliance at the Harvard Medical School Teaching Hospital. He was, until recently, president of SAGES (Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons) and a pioneer in the field of minimally invasive surgery.
Today, Dr. Schwaitzberg spends most of his time teaching surgeons the art of laparoscopic surgery and he recently did a TED Talk on the subject.
Teaching surgeons all over the world presents two problems: distance and language.
Dr. Schwaitzberg has solved the first problem using video conferencing. He can save money on travel, he can scale to doing several sessions a day from the comfort of his desk, and he doesn't have to waste time going through airport security, flying, picking up luggage, etc.
The second problem is a little more difficult to address. Whether he goes to a foreign country or does a lecture via video conferencing he still needs to deal with the fact many of his students don't speak English.
This is where Sametime Meetings comes into play. Dr. Schwaitzberg is working with the IBM Research's Human Ability and Accessibility Center and with a few IBM business partners including Polycom in building a universal translator based on IBM Sametime Meetings. Dr. Schwaitzberg shows a prototype in his talk and the demo is pretty cool. You can get to Dr. Schwaitzberg's talk here. Check it out.
Following on my December 6 posting on IBM Sametime Meetings for Android, now it's time to let you all know we have posted a major update to our meetings client for iOS.
This is Release 2 for IBM Sametime Meetings for iOS. It replaces our old Meetings Viewer for iOS and, just like all our mobile clients, it requires a full-fledged Sametime infrastructure in the back end. Today that means IBM Sametime v8.5.2 IFR 1. If you don't have it, you can always connect to Greenhouse and, with this release, to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.
For details on all the cool features included in this release please visit the Apple App Store (here).
This week IBM Sametime achieved a major milestone. As you probably know, many companies around the world are still debating whether to embrace iOS as a supported platform for enterprise-grade mobility.
Like all responsible companies, IBM has also been evaluating its response to the overwhelming acceptance iOS has gained among enterprise users. The IBM CIO Office has followed a carefully orchestrated process to determine whether--and how--to embrace iOS. As part of that effort, the IBM CIO Office has been sponsoring a pilot deployment of IBM Sametime Mobile for iOS that enables access to our internal server from iPhone and iPad devices.
This week the CIO Office decided to "graduate" the pilot and enable access to all IBMers. This is a major endorsement for IBM Sametime Mobile for iOS and we couldn't be happier. This puts all our mobile clients: Android, BlackBerry, and iOS, in production-grade status on the IBM IT infrastructure.
As you can imagine--and probably already know--the IBM CIO Office manages one of the most complex IT infrastructures in the world; one that serves over 300,000 users and hundreds of sites around the world. I guess if the IBM CIO Office thinks Sametime Mobile for iOS is good enough for their infrastructure it should be good enough for most.
On November 22 we released IBM Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1. IFR means "Interim Feature Release" and as part of our very first IFR release (hence "IFR 1") we're bringing to market a rich set of features that complement and augment the themes we set out to deliver on with Sametime 8.5.2 back in May.
The most anticipated of those features is our new IBM Sametime Mobile client for iOS. It is a native client for both iPhone and iPad devices and it's available for download from Apple's App Store. Here's a few screenshots showing what the Sametime contact list, a person's business card and an SUT call look like on an iPhone:
Here's what a chat session looks like on an iPad:
And this is what an SUT call looks like on an iPad:
8.5.2 IFR 1 runs on top of Sametime 8.5.2. It won't run on top of 8.5.1
or 8.0.2 or 7.5.1 or anything besides 8.5.2.
In addition to the new
mobile client for iOS Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1 brings to the table other
capabilities that you've already seen described in previous blog
postings. This one, however, it is probably the one most people have
been waiting for and we're very proud to bring it to market. The reviews
have been very positive so far and we already have a large number of
customers testing it out.
If you want to play with it just go to the App Store, download the app and make it point to Greenhouse. Here's how:
Server: st85meetingsp.lotus.com Port: 9444 Secure Connection: On Connection Type: Direct Connection
Then just use your Greenhouse user ID and password and you'll be ready to go.
Whether an organization is starting a new Unified Communications (UC) project or they have already deployed some UC capability, a Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) based infrastructure can significantly drive down costs and provide greater flexibility for the future. This white paper, authored by IBM Research and GTS experts, examines the impact a SIP-based architecture can have on all aspects of the business - the infrastructure, applications and process layers of the organization. The paper explores the business and technical implications of this transformation from a services perspective and describes how a structured approach is necessary for organizations to extract the full value of the new SIP technology.
It's not over yet ! Jacques might be done touring Caleb around but there are more IBM Sametime 8.5.2 webcasts to come from the Get Social Roadshow and Lotus Greenhouse webcasts series of events!
May 24th, 2011 (Tuesday) : It's Video-riffic, Sametime 8.5.2; Register for free here , brought to you by LotusUserGroup.org
Come join me to hear more about our amazing new capabilities in IBM Sametime 8.5.2, including new native and third-party audio and video in browser-based online meetings, Standard-based Network Address Translation (NAT) support and Firewall traversal for Audio & Video, a new Bandwidth Manager to protect the network by managing all of this audio and video usage, support for dual Telephone Conferencing Service Provider Interface (TCSPI) adapters, new mobile options, and a new telephony licensing option to connected to audio and video endpoints. Join this webcast to learn more about our exciting new capabilities that will strengthen your leadership position in the market and enable a nimble, engaged, and transparent Social Business.
May 26th (Thursday) : Sametime Mobile Strategy and Solutions; Join here brought to you by Lotus Greenhouse Series Join Robert Ingram, Mobile Strategy Product Manager, where you will learn more about Sametime Mobile 8.5.2 offerings and strategy. This popular topic will be discussed on May 26, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST.
May 31, 2011 (Next Tuesday): IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony: Today and Tomorrow ; Register for free here, brought to you by LotusUserGroup.org While you are registering for "It's Video-riffic" be sure to register at the very same time (no pun intended) for IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony: Today and Tomorrow where David Marshak, UC2 Senior Strategist, and Tracee Wolf, UC2 Product Designer, provide more in depth coverage of Sametime Unified Telephony and our new licensing option SUT Lite Client. This exciting and highly requested discussion topic will take place on May 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM EST.
See you there!
Recap of this past Wednesday in case you missed it, be sure to catch the replays :
Replay of the main Social Launch event w/ Alistair, Jeff, and Caleb is available on ibm.com/social Replay of Caleb's webcast, Honing Your Social Antenna: Improve Effectiveness and Reduce Costs by Becoming a More Social Business is available on TheBrainYard (http://tinyurl.com/65c)
Replay of Lisa's podcast, What’s New in Sametime 8.5.2 on May 18th! hosted by idoNotes with Chris Miller of Connectria, Gabriella Davis of the Turtle Partnership, Carl Tyler of Epilio, David Marshak of IBM, and Lisa Harris of IBM, will be available on IdoNotes http://idonot.es/NewST852 Replay of Jeff Schick's with Plantronics at their BIG Launch replay is available at Plantronics.com/launch
If you are working with colleagues, partners, or customers, (or all of the above) who speak another language, I suspect you could have benefited from a tool that provides real-time translation of your chat conversations. This is obvious if you are a non-English speaker (trust me..) and either wanted to speed up the IM conversation (typing in a foreign language does take much more time) or wanted to improve the quality and depth of the conversation... (one liners take you so far). Even if you are a native English speaker, this can be helpful at times, to make sure that there is no ambiguity in the collaboration. Yes, you can use free Web-based translation tools but this is not very practical (ongoing copy/paste, multiple windows, etc.), generates a lower quality translation (especially for business and industry content), and puts confidential content into someone else's Web site.
So wait no further... On May 18th (so many things happening on that day !) LionBridge will launch GeoFluent Instant Messaging for Sametime, a SaaS-based solution for real-time translation of chats. You type, they translate, and the chat participants see the results, real-time. This service is based on IBM technology (Watson Research Labs) with years of research going into it.
And if you don't interact today with individuals from another culture and language, you soon will... So you should still listen to this podcast, and get ready.
Every so often I am asked why I blog about changes in the Sametime Product Management team. I think it's important that our customers and partners know who we are and how to connect with us. IBM is a big organization and finding the right people isn't always as straightforward as it could be. So, with that, let me introduce you to some new folks and outline new roles for a few of the old hands.
Julie Reed takes over as Product Manager for
Sametime Unified Telephony and all voice and video in
Sametime Standard / Advanced. Julie joins us from the IBM Mid Market organization where she ran the Smart Business offering team. Previously, she spent six years as Director of Development for Genesys Conferencing and held leadership positions in the development organizations of Nitix and Lotus Foundations. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at keegers.
Marc Pagnier is our new Offering Manager for Sametime Cloud Solutions. He'll be
responsible for accelerating Sametime's progression into the cloud -
LotusLive, IBM GTS and Partner-hosted private clouds, and service
providers. Marc also came to us from the Smart Business team where he drove appliance solutions around IBM Cognos and hybrid (on-premises / cloud) collaboration solutions. Before that, he had been a Senior Product Manager on the IBM Connections and Quickr teams. Marc's email is email@example.com and his Twitter ID is mpagnier.
Many of you already know Marlon Machado, a frequent blogger here over the last two years. In January, Marlon took over as Product Manager for the core Sametime portfolio - Entry Standard and Advanced. In addition to his PM role, he'll still have a hand in driving UC capabilities into other IBM offerings (Websphere BPM, Cognos, etc) and Smarter Planet solutions. His contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org and clevershutter on Twitter.
Lisa Harris joined us 7 months ago as the Sametime Offering Manager. She owns Sametime pricing, packaging, licensing and most of the "business end" of product management for the on-premises portfolio. A note to IBM sellers...if you think you could sell that much more Sametime if we only changed the [fill in the blank]... talk to Lisa. :-) Her email is email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter at ld_harris.
David Marshak, the former Product Manager for both Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony (ie: the guy who knows where all the bodies are really buried), is now our Senior Strategist. While the rest of us are focused on driving the next release, David will be mapping out where we need to be in 3-5 years and how to get there. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: davidmarshak.
You may have noticed that I left Rob Ingram off the roster. Rob has taken on a new challenge for IBM, driving mobile strategy for all of Lotus/ICS. Given the importance of mobility to unified communications, we still talk to him on a practically daily basis... so he's not far.
Please welcome Julie and Marc and don't hesitate to contact any of us.
#ls11 If things have been a little quiet on The SametimeBlog of late, chalk it up to all the preparations underway for what we hope will be the best Lotusphere ever. And part of that experience is Lotusphere Online, which has just gone live (link to the Lotusphere Blog for more details). Of course, we've included Sametime 8.5.1 as a key part of the online experience, so you'll be able to connect with colleagues via the web client, and (coming very soon) if your Sametime deployment supports multiple communities, we'll provide the instructions on how you can connect your Sametime Connect rich client to the Lotusphere Online Sametime community server.
***UPDATE 01/23: as you can see from our Comments, a video tutorial for LSOnline is now available on Planet Lotus (thanks, Chris).*****
And for those of you who aren't able to attend in person, you can participate virtually like never before. Sign up for and watch the IBM Lotusphere Social Media Aggregator. You'll be able to see Live Stream videos of key general sessions, read the online chatter from Twitter, blog posts, Flickr photos, videos posted to YouTube, and much more. And you can also join the discussion in the LinkedIn Group for Lotusphere.
And here on The SametimeBlog and our sister blog, The Collaboration Soapbox, will have ongoing tips and tricks on how to use the various social tools we'll have onsite. So join us, live and/or virtually, for what will be the most social Lotusphere yet.
My session at Lotusphere 2011, AD307 - Application Development with the IBM Lotus Sametime SDK: From Java to Web 2.0 will cover the various ways in which a developer can leverage the Sametime platform to build applications. The idea behind the session is to position the different programming models available within the Sametime SDK in the service of implementing applications for communication-enabled business processes.
The reason to do this is to convey the following message to the Sametime development community: if you want to make money selling applications based on the Sametime platform please focus on integrating Sametime features into line-of-business applications; think of building solutions that will help knowledge workers minimize human latency by enhancing collaboration and task workers eliminate human latency from the business processes they execute on every day. I know a Solitaire plug-in would be nice and cute but chances are no customer will want to buy it.
In order to illustrate this I will go over the integration we did with Ion Objects. I've known the folks at Ion for many years. We invited them to attend UC Summit 2010 back in April to introduce them to the world of unified communications. They understood UC is something they needed to embrace and they did so wholeheartedly. Since then, we've been working together to build one of the most innovative integration patterns I've ever seen.
Ion Objects bases its products in the Ion framework, a Web 2.0 application development runtime that uses the Web browser as its IDE. Developing on the Ion framework is as simple as dragging and dropping objects (Ion objects) on the Web browser. Well, the integration with Sametime is so cool that Sametime is now an Ion object that can be dropped into an Ion application and, when you run the application, the whole thing just works. The integration is based on the Sametime Proxy toolkit and it's designed to produce both, cloud-based, and on-premises applications.
That's all I'm going to say about this. If you want to see more--specifically an actual communication-enabled contracts management application Ion is selling to a high-profile customer in the media and entertainment industry, feel free to attend session AD307. Make sure to check the Lotusphere 2011 agenda for details regarding time and place. See you there.
"We are proud to recognize winning companies for the sixth annual
INTERNET TELEPHONY Excellence Awards. All the companies recognized have
created IP communications products that have proven to be exceptional
and in the end delivered winning solutions that benefited their
customer," stated TMC's CEO, Rich Tehrani.
The 2010 INTERNET TELEPHONY Excellent Award winners are published in the October 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine, www.itmag.com.
It's always an honor to be given these awards (and we've won many). But it's even more of an honor when you choose us as your UC vendor. For that we thank you even more.
With the social business launch and all, we've been pretty busy around here. So time to kick back at the end of a long couple of weeks with the latest installment of Friday Funnies. I saw this from a tweet stream, hope you like (from C-Section Comics).
On Wednesday, October 20, Brent Wolfe and Brian Aylward will host a Lotus Techtalk to give us an overview of Sametime's integration with Radvision and Premier Global (PGi).
Radvision's Itay Reiner, Director of Product Management and Stacey Helenbrook, Director - Partner Products at PGi will join Brent and Brian to take us through the work the two companies are doing to provide audio and video solutions for Sametime. T he presentation will include company overviews and product updates with details regarding general architectural and integration methods of these products. Brent and Brian will also provide insight into how these solutions can be leveraged to drive successful Lotus Sametime installations resulting in new license or upgrade revenue.
The Techtalk is open to business partners. If you care to join, please register for this event at the PartnerWorld Web site.
This week's IBM UC news roundup brings us three articles of interest. On September 16, Dave Michels at No Jitter published a blog post, "The Big Squeeze", about leaders in the enterprise Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) market positioning IBM as an enterprise-savvy player in the unified communications battleground. The article notes that IBM's Sametime Unified Telephony provides middleware built specifically to integrate with multiple vendors' legacy PBX's, which differs from Microsoft's one-vendor approach.
IBM [is one of the] enterprise-savvy major players that are throwing their weight into the unified communications battleground. ... It is positioning its Lotus and Sametime systems as critical components to UC (messaging, collaboration, and presence), and is integrating with ShoreTel, NEC, and Broadsoft for the telephony component of the all-in-one Foundations server for SMEs.
IBM business partner and reseller Outreach Telecom & Energy recently announced its sales support for IBM Lotus Foundations product suite. Phone Plug Mag published an article on the news and noted that Foundations can be purchased from Outreach as a standalone product or as a fully integrated IT and UC system (with ShoreTel for IBM Foundations).
And the big announcement last week was IBM Customer Experience Suite. In a great article in Fast Company, Jeff Schick, IBM Vice President for Social Software, describes the importance. This is not just about "Facebook"-style social interaction, by the way. As we posted earlier, IBM Lotus Sametime is part of the IBM Customer Experience because customers are more and more demanding real-time interactions with their brands, and with fellow shoppers.
IBM itself has been using Sametime and Connections (and their many precursors) within our enterprise for 15+ years. But as these technologies continue to transform work, we see humor such as this recent Dilbert cartoon (how's that for a segue into our Friday Funnies section?). Expect to see similar concerns from the Telephony side of the house as more enterprises open up their employees to more direct conversations with customers, whether via social or IM or video or voice or what-have-you. So it's just as important to include unified communications when setting new social media policies (hopefully NOT like our Pointy-Haired friend below):
IBM and IBM Business Partner Citent will be hosting 2 live seminars on Unified Communications and Sametime, Tuesday Oct 5 at the IBM San Jose offices (4400 North First Street, Room 1032 Garnet, San Jose CA 95134) and Wednesday Oct 6 at the IBM San Francisco offices (425 Market Street, room 20-240, San Francisco CA 94105). Both seminars will be from 10am to 1pm, and review the features and benefits of Lotus Sametime.
Qualified attendees will receive a half-day Advanced Collaboration Assesment by CITENT’s team of Collaboration Consultants. Please RSVP to Kennedy Cato at email@example.com or call (714) 436-6100, or visit www.citent.com for more information. If you're in the neighborhood, please RSVP and stop by!
This week has been all about UC product names. Should they be long? Should they be short? Do they mean anything to end users? Should UC products be named to appeal to IT, to end users, to CFOs, to grandmothers?
I think names matter and I think they should mean something to end users. UC is personal; it's what we use to interact with people we rarely get to see in person and it has become the preferred medium through which we stay in touch with other people. Given that no one is allowed to get on a plane anymore--not that many of us even want to--our textual, aural and visual impression of each other is what sustains our relationships with the people we work with every day and, for those who get to endure the road warrior lifestyle, it's the way we reaffirm our bonds with family and friends when we're away. So, names should matter because, increasingly, our UC interfaces are all we got to remind us that we're, after all, social animals.
That brings me to our name: Sametime.
I decided earlier this week to do quick analysis on our name and this is what I concluded:
It rolls off your tongue with ease in pretty much every language, not just in English.
It's a good-looking word. It has four consonants and four vowels. This makes it well balanced and easy to read equally in vowel-driven as well as consonant-driven languages. From a aesthetical standpoint, it's pretty harmonious with an "a" and an "e" flanking the length, an "e" at the center and an "i" safely tucked in next to the "t". It conveys a visual impression of a calm, relaxed, smiling entity, in my opinion.
It's structurally sound. Some people spell it "SameTime" with a capital "T" and it just looks weird.
It tells you it's all about communication; it's all concurrent, it's all happening simultaneously and it's all happening to us, at the same time, and it does so in a very human way.
It's a verb as well as a noun. And that's true not just at IBM. Neil Davies, Senior Messaging Specialist at Prudential UK once said that "...Sametime is now a verb at Prudential UK." Saying "Sametime me later..." rolls off your tongue with ease and it suggests multi-modality, concurrency, etc.. "Lync me later..." may sound too explicit in certain settings and it even may give people the wrong impression.
FYI folks. I'll be at IamLUG 2010 in Saint Louis tomorrow and Tuesday. Tomorrow at lunch I'm scheduled to do a presentation about the Sametime Proxy and the Sametime Proxy toolkit at 1:00 PM in Room D. Feel free to drop by if you're interested in the topic or just to say hello. I'll be at the conference until Tuesday afternoon.
About a week ago I wrote a post on this blog in which I asked our readers two questions:
What's your take on the direction we're setting for the Sametime platform vis-à-vis CEBP?
Do you see things such as CEBP and Cloud being delivered exclusively through the Web browser?
I asked that any responses to these two questions be posted in the form of comments on the corresponding post. So far, I see 58 people have seen the post but no comments have been recorded.
If you have an opinion but would rather not comment on this blog please feel free to send me email. My email address is my first-name initial (m) followed by my last name (machado)--no space in between--at "us" dot "ibm" dot "com".
I'm really interested in your opinion and any feedback on the subject will be greatly appreciated.
As I mentioned in a previous post, we've been working with AwesomeBobcatVideos to include Unified Communications videos in her ongoing series of short videos that cover Enterprise
Collaboration as well as other topics.
The third video that I worked with her on as part of this series was just recently posted. Here I talk briefly about why Business Partners are so important to the IBM strategy for unified communications and collaboration. Take a look at the video on YouTube here.
Yesterday, Apple introduced the new iPhone 4 and iOS 4 (the new name for the iPhoneOS). I'm an iPhone user (white 16GB 3G) and am really looking forward to the new enhancements. For a long time I've used Traveler for push email and calendar access and the Sametime iPhone browser client for chat services (part of Sametime 8.5). (And with iOS 4's new background services, my product managers are already tired of me asking for Sametime Unified Telephony on the device.)
Even so, I don't think I'll be upgrading. The reason.... I really want an iPad.
I can hear some of my favorite customers groaning from here. "An iPad??? It's just a big iPhone / iPod Touch!" Yes, it is. I actually think that's a bit of brilliant marketing on the part of Apple. What was an iPod? Your music in your pocket. How about the iPhone - before apps and the web? Your iPod and phone in one device. Each new Apple product is very simple and easy to understand (a big iPhone). That makes them easy to buy... which is a lesson many in the technology industry have yet to learn.
I won't get into the benefits of the larger screen for reading content
(like research reports over Sunday breakfast) or watching movies
(keeping the kids calm on the airplane)... other to say that it makes
participating in Sametime Online Meetings a breeze from anywhere (pictured on the left).
From a business person's perspective - especially one who travels -
the iPad is just about spot on. What are the things I'm likely to need
on the road? Email? Web? Minor edits / reworks to presentations?
Entertainment? Easy to carry? Long battery life? Location services?
Access to content on the road? All there. And let me stress that last
one. There is nothing like tapping iTunes over wi-fi in the airport for a
couple of movies to make the return trip across the country a
bit more bearable.
The iPad does still need a couple of things to be perfect. First, is multi-tasking. The larger screen size almost demands it and Apple says it will be available in the fall. The other is Symphony / Open Office editors and viewers. Without ODP support, my laptop is still required.
So I'm curious where the iPad & iPhone fit into your plans. Will you be getting a new iPhone? An iPad? And if anyone has a suggestion for ODP support, that would be great, too!
Just FYI. We are currently testing the beta release of Plantronics' plug-in for Sametime 8.5. The plug-in allows seamless integration of Sametime 8.5 and SUT with Plantronics' product line. If you happen to have a CS50 or CS60 USB, Voyager 510 USB, Voyage Pro UC, Blackwire 6xx or 4xx, DA45 USB, Calisto Pro, Savi Go or Savi Office device from Plantronics, you're going to like this when it comes out. Stay tuned.
Lotus Education has put together a new course on "Demystifying Sametime 8.5: Designing and Deploying a Sametime 8.5 Infrastructure". "This webinar brings together multiple Sametime experts, sharing their knowledge and best practices to help you design, deploy, install and administer a new or upgrade an existing Sametime 8.5 Infrastructure. Get a jumpstart on your Sametime 8.5 education today!"
Module 1 : Designing your Sametime 8.5 Infrastructure
Module 2: IBM Lotus Sametime System Console: The New Browser-based Dashboard for Managing Your Sametime Infrastructure
Module 3: Installation and Setup of IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5: From "Zero to Hero" in under 2 Hours
Module 4: Sametime System Console - Post Installation Tools demo
Internet Telephony has just awarded IBM a 2009 Product of the Year Award for IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony. "IBM has proven its commitment to quality and excellence while addressing real needs in the marketplace,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “We’re happy to recognize and honor IBM for their development of IP communications technology. We look forward to more innovative solutions from them in the future.” A complete list of Product of the Year winners is published in the February 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine (www.itmag.com). For more information about TMC, please visit TMCnet.com.
We're very proud of the 2009 launch of Sametime Unified Telephony. This also comes on the heels of IBM winning the 2009 TMC Unified Communications Excellence Award for our IBM Global Technology Services Converged Communications Services for Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony. The combination of our award-winning software, services, hardware and industry expertise uniquely positioned IBM in 2009 as a leader in unified communications, and we look forward to an even stronger 2010.
Hot of the presses, some good news for those looking to use Domino 8.5.1 and Sametime 8.5 community server or 'classic' meetings server. IBM will now provide technical support to customers using this configuration. Here is the official technote with the official support statement.
We plan to continue testing Domino 8.5.1 configuration for inclusion in a maintenance release of Sametime 8.5, currently targeted for release in 1H 2010.
For those readers who are traveling to Lotusphere 2010, feel free to join our first ever Tweetup! It's co-hosted by our own Bilal Jaffery and Luis Benitez, of the Lotus Social Software Community (of which I'm a member). Have a safe trip and bring some comfortable clothing - looks like the weather is finally turning back to normal down there.
Just saw a very nice article from the folks over at ITJungle, reviewing the new Sametime 8.5. The hat trick:
Sametime developers will fly out of their seats when they learn about
the new support for representational state transfer, or REST-based Web
2.0 APIs. Put into standard English, the new REST-based API--in concert
with the new no-download browser-based client that's used throughout
version 8.5--will allows developers to use standard AJAX tools to embed
Sametime into Web applications and Web portals.
I'm working on the slides for the session I'm going to present at Lotusphere 2010. The session title is JMP201 IBM Lotus Sametime for Web 2.0. The session is really about the Sametime platform and the Sametime SDK with an emphasis on the significance of the Sametime Proxy 8.5 Toolkit.
The more I learn about the Proxy and the Proxy Toolkit the more I like it. I honestly think it represents the easiest way to enable Web applications for unified communications services. It's amazing how easy to use the toolkit is. The footprint it imposes on a Web page is minimal and yet it's gentle enough to be fully customizable.
I like the fact that it has an encapsulation layer that makes it backward compatible with the STLinks and Sametime Connect Web toolkits. I also like the fact that, if it detects that the Sametime Connect Client is running on the same desktop as the Web page, all requests go to the Connect Client through the Connect Web toolkit, which broadens the integration picture from Web pages all the way to custom applications through the Sametime Helper toolkit. The possibilities are endless. I like that.
There are going to be several sessions about the Proxy 8.5 Toolkit at Lotusphere 2010. Make sure to check them out if you're interested in learning more. Check out John's December 2 posting for more details.
I almost forgot to report on my panel at VoiceCon but better late than never.
So, the two positions were more or less as follows:
Voxeo's environment allows you to create voice applications really quickly using scripting languages. The application mashes up data from one or more sources and it presents a voice interface to the user. Dan York showed a telephone-call interface for an application that gives you the weather for a given ZIP code and nothing else.
The Sametime platform provides a general-purpose environment that acts as the context for whatever data and voice you may want to mash up at a given time. I showed the Sametime Meetings client and Sametime Unified Telephony working in tandem to build an ad-hoc aggregation of data and voice from various sources. We provide APIs for you to extend the general-purpose environment to fit your needs. You may even include one of Voxeo's applications in it if you want to.
The reaction to the two approaches was positive. There was one person, however, who said to me he didn't "see it" as clearly as he did when Dan built the weather application on the fly. I explained the difference and even Dan agreed that the Sametime approach to building voice mashups is based on providing context first and that functionality is implemented as attributes while the Voxeo approach is based on building functionality first while leaving the context to the user.
There were analysts in the audience and, strangely, they left as soon as we were both done with our presentations. I found it strange that they didn't stay for the questions-and-answers bit of the session. Overall it was a good session, good interaction and a good audience. I would do it again any time.
Just got back from a hectic few days connecting with customers and partners, press and analysts in the Unified Communications market. Bruce Morse, IBM VP of Unified Communications and collaboration software delivered a keynote address. The IBM showfloor booth was very busy. We showcased Sametime 8.5 and Sametime Unified Telephony as well as the other Lotus collaborative products. A big hit at this show was the long line for the IBM candy store looking for a 'Sweet Tweet'. Here are few pictures from the show.
If you've been having difficulty connecting to Google with the Sametime Gateway, please see this notice from IBM Support. Apparently, Google changed something in their underlying infrastructure and that broke the handshake sequence. A fix is available for Sametime Gateway 8.0.2 and the fix for 8.0.1 is being tested. You can learn more here.
You may or may not remember that we sent out a notification back in April about changes in the way IBM Sametime interoperates with AOL's AIM public IM service. Those changes are effective on January 1, 2015, and I think it's important to remind everyone that this is coming and to go over the changes so you all know what to expect.
AOL is taking over the onboarding and provisioning process to set up interoperability with AIM. This means you will need to sign a commercial agreement with AOL to maintain your connectivity beyond December 31, 2014. We recommend that you contact AOL immediately to start the process. They have set up a Web site for that purpose:
If your users need to communicate with AIM users after December 31, 2014, you need to register your Sametime domain with AOL. You don't have to do anything to your Sametime deployment (this change does not impact the Sametime Gateway in any way) but you need to go through the process with AOL so they can enable their infrastructure to interoperate with your Sametime environment.
You also need to be aware that there is a license fee for maintaining direct federation with AOL. After you send a provisioning request through their website AOL will send you a quote for the service.
AOL needs to complete all on boarding requests by the end of the year. They will start deprovisioning on January 5, 2015 for those companies that do not reach out to them before December 31, 2014.
I'm happy to announce that we got over the issues that prevented IBM Sametime mobile chat and meetings from running on iOS 8. Our development team worked really hard to address the problem and now we're ready to run on iOS 8. A big thanks to them. To all of you, thanks for your patience and understanding.
As you know Apple is just about to release iOS 8, the latest and perhaps most revolutionary incarnation of iOS. For us this is an exciting event and one for which we're preparing as diligently as we can.
As soon as iOS 8 was made available to the developer community we sat down to test our Sametime Mobile Chat and Meetings apps on it. Unfortunately--but not entirely surprisingly--we found that some things don't work quite as they should on iOS 8. As soon as we realized that we got all hands on deck to fix the problems we found. We're still working on it and it is for this reason that we're asking you to not upgrade to iOS 8 when it comes out this week if you want to use Sametime Mobile Chat and Sametime Mobile Meetings on your iPhone or iPad.
I know; it sucks but the truth is the current versions of Sametime Mobile Chat and Sametime Mobile Meetings won't behave as expected on iOS 8. We've published an official Tech Note documenting this issue. Like I said we've got all hands on deck working on fixing the problems we found and we'll keep you all posted as soon as it is safe to upgrade.
Please accept our apologies for this little mishap.
Many of you are reporting issues when trying to join audio and video conferences from the Sametime Web Meetings client using Google Chrome. We just published a Tech Note with details on how to get around these issues. You can find it here.
Help us collect feedback on Sametime 9! The IBM User Experience team wants to know which tasks in Sametime 9 are most important to you and how easy they are to do. Your input is very important to us and will be used to influence future user experience work. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes, but will be very helpful in improving future products.
As you probably know by now IBM's commitment to the Linux platform is broad and deep. That includes, of course, IBM Sametime. We're steadily expanding and refining our support for Linux starting with our server components and we have a plan to bring all the goodies we shipped with Sametime 9 to the Linux desktop. It's a journey and it's been very satisfying so far.
Our development team has been documenting their experiences with Linux and they're ready to share it with all of you. If you're a Sametime administrator living in the Windows world and are interested in learning how Sametime works on Linux you should join us in April 9 for our next Open Mic Webcast. As in all our Open Mic sessions you'll hear from our developers and then you'll have a chance to ask questions and share your own experiences with them and your peers.
You can find out more about this event here. Don't miss it. It's going to be interesting.
As some of you may already know, today was my last day as the Program Director for Sametime Product Management. On Monday, I start the next chapter in my IBM career - as the Program Director for IT Solutions for Rational. There, I'll oversee strategy and Industry Solutions for a billion dollar portfolio. I'm looking forward to learning about a new space and leveraging my previous experience in industry solutions. (They tell me I'll be dreaming about DevOps in my sleep.)
I've been a part of this business for a long time and am happy to leave it in very capable hands. Kramer Reeves, the Director of Product Management for Messaging and Collaboration, will take on management responsibilities until he names my replacement (soon from what I hear). The rest of my team will handle the day-to-day activities, with Kramer's support:
Julie Reed - Product Manager for Audio, Video and Telephony
Marlon Machado - Product Manager for Chat, Presence, Meetings, Mobile, APIs and other core services
Marc Pagnier - Product Manager for Cloud
William Kulju - Offerings Manager overseeing licensing, pricing, packaging and other business issues.
While I'm proud of all of our accomplishments, Sametime 9 has to be the crowning achievement of my tenure. With its new, streamlined (dare I say, sexy?) user experience, the cutting edge continuous presence video, deep integrations with Connections and incredible mobile clients... I'd put Sametime up against any communications software on the market today. It's been an incredible amount of fun watching customers and partners get so excited over this release. More importantly, the team is building on Sametime 9 and has great things in store for the future. I look forward to watching the Connect 2015 live stream - as a user - to see all the innovations on the way.
Lastly, I want to thank the entire extended Sametime team for their ceaseless dedication and hard work. And to the members of my direct team - both past (Lisa, David, Rob, Kathleen, Akiba, Bruce) and present (Julie, Marlon, Marc & William) - thanks for being great colleagues and incredible friends. I probably would have moved on long ago if it wasn't for how much fun I had with all of these great individuals.
And with that, I'll leave you to have a fantastic weekend.
The IBM Serviceability Tool for Sametime is definitely getting better with age. The team has been busy refining it and giving it more muscle to make Sametime 9 deployments easier, faster and predictable. This week we're adding some cool new features I'm sure you all are going to like. Here's the list:
Diagnostic analysis and viewing with custom filtering,
New features on the Configuration Validation module:
LDAP server integration, which allows direct validation with the LDAP server if available,
A Policy Summary view coming directly from the Systems Console and the Meetings Server if available.
A new Configuration Compare view that allows you to see two different server configurations side by side so you can spot the differences,
Two new features on the Network Mapping and Monitoring module:
The ability to trace-route your workspace network via a graphical map showing the servers added to the network and the addressable nodes in between relative to the tool,
The ability to monitor server status via ping if the servers are available.
Built-in help (I know… we needed this one).
Here's a few screenshots for your viewing pleasure.
This is the new Configuration Compare view:
This is what the new Diagnostic Viewer looks like:
I mentioned the diagnostic analysis view includes custom filters. Here's what that looks like:
And, finally, here's the new network scan feature:
As always, remember the IBM Serviceability Tool for Sametime is available for download from the Solutions Catalog in Greenhouse. You can get it here.
We're pleased to announce two new technical certifications for IBM Sametime 9: IBM Certified Associate - Sametime 9.0 and IBM Certified System Administrator - Sametime 9.0. See here for more information on prerequisites, certification paths, competencies and everything you need to know to prepare.
Thanks to our friends from SocialBiz User Group for posting this information on their Clippings blog.
Don't miss this new and exciting Webinar on December 12. John Del Pizzo and Any Sanyal will talk about Sametime 9 and how it can help your organization make better decisions, get more done with less, move faster and, ultimately, save money.
Join us on December 12th at 11:00 am EST to see how your organization can take advantage of the next-generation capabilities in Sametime v9.
So, now that I’ve admitted to becoming a video convert - my team seems to think I’m ready to become a regular blogger…… Next thing you know, they’ll be expecting me to be tweeting hourly! We’ll see – maybe a video blog entry is the next logical step. No time like the present to jump on the social bandwagon!
Last week, I shared some of my personal experiences and the value I realized from using Sametime 9 video. I thought this week, I would take a few minutes to pop the hood and give you a look at the engine.
The awesome video experience you’ve heard so much about is due to the addition of two new server components and the introduction of a new media framework in our clients. Sametime 9 AV is based on the H.264 SVC technology.
SVC stands for Scalable Video Coding, which enables efficient encoding of video that can be realized at different resolutions, frame rates and quality. Each video image is organized into layers – and a client can request one or more. When bandwidth is scarce, the client can request fewer layers. The SVC client also has the ability to request video from multiple participants and then build the continuous presence view locally. Within Sametime Conferencing and Sametime Complete, individual Sametime users have the ability to choose the layout they would like to see.
The Sametime Video MCU (VMCU) is a software based MCU (Multipoint Control Unit) – commonly referred to as a “video bridge”. The VMCU does not do any transcoding of video which makes it highly scalable. With Sametime’s authorized user licensing model – and Sametime 9’s inclusion of external participants – Sametime customer are also able to deploy as many VMCU’s in as many locations as they choose to best suit their needs.
Sametime’s implementation of SVC supports multiple resolutions and temporal layers. Sametime clients choose the resolutions and bit rates they want. The base layer is H.264 AVC.
In a multipoint Sametime 9 video call, each client transmits a video stream consisting of multiple resolutions and temporal layers.Each client then decides which streams they want, and how to display them. They may request a number of media streams based on the client's capabilities.
In the example to the right, user 1 has chosen to view user 3 in an Active Speaker Wide format – while user 2 & 3 have chosen grid format seeing both other participants uniformly. In this example user 3 may be bandwidth constrained and has only requested the base layer.
Because the base layer is H.264 AVC, Sametime 9 is also compatible with AVC endpoints – which means it’s backward compatible with Sametime 8.5.2 clients and interoperable with H.264 AVC video endpoints.
The example to the left, shows an AVC endpoint participating in a Sametime 9 video call. The video transmitted by the AVC client will be sent to any SVC client that requests it and those users will be able to see user 2 in their continuous presence view. Since the Sametime MCU does not do any transcoding of the video, it will send only a single “base layer to the AVC client. As a result, user 2 will always see the active speaker.
This would allow you to deploy your Sametime 9 video – and still support those users who may not yet have the new client. However, once they find out what they are missing – believe me, they will want the Sametime 9 client!
Now that you’ve got an idea of how the new Sametime SVC based clients work with the VMCU – let’s me tell you a bit about the two server components and how they can be deployed.
In addition to the Sametime VMCU, we also introduced the Sametime Video Manager (VMGR) in Sametime 9. The VMGR is part of the Sametime Media Manager install package.
Unlike Sametime 8.5.2, the video infrastructure in Sametime 9 can be globally distributed. The VMGR can be deployed in a cluster for scalability and reliability. VMCUs can be deployed in pools. The VMU pools can span geographies. A pool of VMCUs is managed by a single VMGR or a cluster. The VMGR will assign conferences to a particular VMCU based on load and policy.
As I noted last week, Sametime 9 video on the surface is all about rich engagement via a high quality continuous presence video experience which can boost the effectiveness of your workforce. Today, I wanted to give you a glimpse that behind that pretty face – Sametime 9 video also brings critical new features behind the scenes such as efficient use of bandwidth, compatibility with AVC clients, global distribution, and scalability and reliability.
If you are dying of excitement to see what the new release of Sametime is all about, wait no further. We posted a video vignette on youtube that takes you through some of the new capabilities of Sametime 9. You can now visualize the new user experience through the rich client and the browser (we are keeping the mobile experience for the next video).
This video is about 8 minutes long, so get a cup of your favorite beverage, sit down and enjoy. You will be able to discover what's new in the world of instant messaging, instant share, and meetings. And you can also experience the new power of video conferencing throughout.
As we are moving into the fourth quarter of the year, we will have more news to share on Sametime 9... Today, I am sharing a teaser of some of the mobile capabilities that will soon allow you to take advantage of the new Sametime 9 infrastructure that we shipped on September 20th. Come back soon to this site to find out exactly when this will be available in your favorite app. store.
Here is Luis Benitez's recording that he posted on youtube today, and specifically the sequence that starts at 02:44.
We've tried to make it as easy as possible for existing Sametime customers to start adopting the new Sametime 9 packaging and licensing options. Where possible, we've given customers usage rights and functionality in their new Sametime 9 editions that is equal to or greater than what they had before. We've also automated the process of migrating entitlements from the Sametime 8.5 packaging model to the Sametime 9.0 model so that most customers don't even need to think about it. Unfortunately none of that may be obvious from the cryptic Sametime 8.0 and 8.5 End of Market announcement that we use to trigger the entitlement migrations on the IBM Passport Advantage system. As a result, the purpose of this post is to provide existing Sametime customers with a Q&A that explains - in plain English - how they will be moved to the Sametime 9 packaging model.
What happens if I have Sametime Standard, Sametime Standard Extension, Sametime Advanced, or Sametime Advanced Extension entitlements?
Customers with Sametime Standard, Sametime Standard Extension, Sametime Advanced, and Sametime Advanced Extension entitlements in good standing will have those entitlements automatically migrated to full use Sametime Complete entitlements, one-for-one, effective September 20, 2013. In addition, any prepaid maintenance will be automatically brought forward to the new entitlement. For example, a customer with 500 Sametime Standard AU entitlements with 6 months of prepaid maintenance will, as of September 20, 2013, have 500 Sametime Complete AU entitlements with 6 months of prepaid maintenance.
Customers who have had their entitlements automatically migrated to Sametime Complete entitlements will not only have access to the Sametime Complete 9.0 code on Passport Advantage, but also all the Sametime 8.5 code that they had access to prior to the entitlement migration. For example, a customer who had Sametime Advanced entitlements will be able to download and use both the Sametime Advanced 8.5 and Sametime Complete 9.0 code. This example underscores an important point: The entitlement migration has ZERO impact on the code customers must run and customers are free to move to Sametime 9.0 code at their own pace - even if that means staying on Sametime 8.5 code until it goes End of Support. Furthermore, existing customers running Sametime 8.5 code that require additional entitlements can do so simply by purchasing the corresponding number of Sametime Complete entitlements.
What happens if I have Sametime Unified Telephony entitlements?
Customers who have Sametime Unified Telephony entitlements will continue to retain those entitlements in Sametime 9. Customers with those entitlements in good standing will be able to access both the 8.5 and 9.0 versions of that code on Passport Advantage after September 20, 2013.
What happens if I have Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client entitlements?
The Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client functionality is now included in Sametime Communicate 9.0 and Sametime Complete 9.0 at no additional charge. As a result, the Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client part numbers will be withdrawn. Customers with these entitlements in good standing will still be able to access the Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client 8.5 enablement script on Passport Advantage after September 20, 2013.
What happens if I have Sametime Standard Extranet or Sametime Advanced Extranet entitlements?
The internal-to-external collaboration functionality that came with Sametime Standard Extranet and Sametime Advanced Extranet is now included in Sametime Communicate 9.0, Sametime Conference 9.0, and Sametime Complete 9.0 at no additional charge. As a result, the Sametime Standard Extranet and Sametime Advanced Extranet new license and reinstatement part numbers will be withdrawn. The maintenance part numbers will be maintained however for customers that are taking advantage of external-to-external collaboration. Customers with these entitlements in good standing will still be able to access the Sametime Standard Extranet 8.5 and/or Sametime Advanced Extranet 8.5 code on Passport Advantage after September 20, 2013.
What happens if I have Sametime Entry entitlements?
We believe customers with Sametime Entry will find Sametime Communicate 9.0 or Sametime Complete 9.0 to be more desirable alternatives. We'd ask these customers to contact their IBM representative to discuss these alternatives. The Sametime Entry part numbers will be withdrawn. Customers in good standing will continue to have access to the Sametime Entry 8.5 code on Passport Advantage after September 20, 2013.
What happens if I have Lotus Web Conferencing entitlements?
We believe many Lotus Web Conferencing customers will find their use cases, including internal-to-external collaboration, are now satisfied by Sametime Conference 9.0 and Sametime Complete 9.0. As a result, the Lotus Web Conferencing new license and reinstatement part numbers will be withdrawn. The maintenance part number will be maintained however for customers that continue to require this software. We'd ask these customers to contact their IBM representative to discuss alternatives. Customers with these entitlements in good standing will continue to have access to the Lotus Web Conferencing 8.5 code on Passport Advantage after September 20, 2013.
What happens if I have entitlements to IBM Collaborations Solutions software that bundles Sametime?
Customers with entitlements to IBM Collaborations Solutions software that bundles Sametime (e.g. IBM Notes) will not be impacted by the announce of Sametime 9 or the End of Market of the Sametime 8.5 editions. These customers can continue to use the Sametime 8.5 software included with their IBM Collaborations Solutions bundle until that bundle goes End of Support. We are also working with IBM Collaborations Solutions software development teams on plans to get limited use Sametime 9.0 software included in upcoming versions of their bundles. Customers will be able to start using the Sametime 9.0 software when they deploy those bundles.
Hopefully this post has helped existing Sametime customers understand how they will be transitioned to the new Sametime 9 packaging model. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me directly or post your question to the comments section below.
Set an alarm on your calendar for September 18, 2013. At 10:00 AM US EDT IBM will host Reinvent the Way Work Works with the Leading Social Platform. This is a very important virtual event for IBM's Social Business initiative and for the IBM Sametime product team.
Speakers include Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business; Alistair Rennie, General Manager, Social Business at IBM; Jeff Schick, Vice President, Social Business at IBM and Katrina Troughton, Vice President, ICS at IBM. The event also includes three breakout sessions I'm sure you will be very interested in attending.
As many of our customers and partners know, Lisa Harris has been the Sametime Offering Manager for close to three years now. Starting tomorrow, she's taking on a new challenge - as the Worldwide Stream Sales Executive for Rational. If you don't speak IBM, this means that Lisa will be working with Rational customers to ensure they receive value from their software maintenance agreements. This is a fantastic career opportunity and we are all excited for her. I want to thank Lisa for her energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the Sametime business over the past three years. Good luck, Lisa!
Taking over for Lisa, please welcome William Kulju! A 13 year IBM veteran, William joins us from Information Management where he was a Product Manager for DB2. In that capacity, he oversaw the launch of DB2 9.7, owned the DB2 add-on portfolio and drove SQL and Sybase takeout initiatives. William also ran the DB2 Customer Advisory Council, supported sales on numerous high profile opportunities and was a regularly speaker at industry conferences. I'm looking forward to leveraging his experience and insight to help grow the Sametime business in 2013 and beyond.
Lastly, we owe a belated welcome to Kramer Reeves. Kramer replaced Ed Brill in April as the Director of Product Management for Messaging and Collaboration (overseeing Notes, Sametime and IBM Docs). He came to us from the WebSphere business (Application & Integration Management) where he was the Director of Marketing for Business Process and Decision Management Software.
I'm happy to announce that the IBM Sametime 9 Program is now open for registration.
For the first time in our history we're going to provide a cloud version of the Beta Program for participants interested in testing without having to install the server components. The cloud-based environment will run on the IBM Greenhouse infrastructure and it will be available in the next few weeks. Participants will only have to download and install the Sametime Connect client, point it to the server and play with it. No need to deal with large files, installation instructions and servers.
The program also features a closed on-premises component reserved for a small community of select customers and business partners. This is going to be a short program and we have to keep the on-premises feedback focused on specific areas of the product. For that reason we decided early in the process to engage a small band of trusted customers and business partners with deep expertise in deploying Sametime to help us test the new server components on-premises.
Joining the program is easy. All you need is a valid account on IBM Greenhouse. If you don't have one you can sign up here. Once you have confirmation that your account has been activated all you need to do is request to join the IBM Sametime 9 Beta Program Community.
You will receive a confirmation when your account is added to the community. Once that happens please take some time to familiarize yourself with the community.
First of all, keep in mind that the community is dynamic. We'll update the Wiki, the Forums, Bookmarks, Files, etc. continuously . Be sure to follow the community so you get notified when something gets updated.
Pay special attention to the Community Wiki. It contains important information about the program, the plan for code drops and what's expected of the participants. Please make sure to read the Rules of Engagement page. That's probably the most important page on the Community Wiki.
Also check out the Forums. This is where participants will have an opportunity to provide feedback. We've organized the forums based the objectives of each of the three Beta drops we're planning to deploy. Each Beta drop has a profile page on the Community Wiki that describes the focus areas and the kind of feedback we're expecting. Please provide as much feedback as you can. The more we learn from this experience the better the final product will be.
The community page includes links (Bookmarks) to the product documentation, to the current version of the Sametime Wiki and to this blog. Please take some time to go through the product documentation and let us know if you find any inaccuracies and whether we're missing anything.
The Beta Program is all about testing and reporting on the code drops. However, we're also providing an ideation blog for discussions related to enhancements and improvements.
Last but not least there's the community itself. Our designers, architects, developers, support engineers, sellers and product managers are all there and we're here to help.
The customers and business partners that are already in the community are pretty savvy and pretty smart. The same goes for those who will join (including yourself) in the next few weeks. Take advantage of the fact that you'll be sharing a space with all of us. Feel free to participate, to engage and to share. We're all there to collaborate with each other and to make this new release of IBM Sametime a success.
Great news! The new IBM® Serviceability Tool for Sametime® (version 8.5.2.x) is now available for download. V8.5.2.x is the first release of this tool and it will be enhanced by IBM Sametime Development with periodic updates. The IBM Serviceability Tool consists of the following four components.
Sametime Configuration Validator
The Sametime Configuration Validator is a plug-in designed to load the entire configuration information for your Sametime environment, and validate the configuration. It examines configuration settings to verify consistency, and then produces a Configuration Report.
Sametime Support Bot
The Sametime Support Bot plug-in provides a Sametime bot within a Sametime Community. Sametime users can contact the Sametime bot and receive automated responses that can be used for troubleshooting or for reporting a Sametime issue. Data is collected, and then administrators can generate a PDF report of the collected data to submit to IBM Support.
Sametime Community Monitoring
The Sametime Community Monitoring plug-in provides a view for monitoring the Sametime Community Statistics generated. Updates can be configured from 5 secs to 10 minutes. The administrator can monitor multiple Sametime Community Servers and see totals, such as current log-ins for example, across all servers and for individual servers. This component is for live monitoring only.
Sametime Deployment Planner
The Sametime Deployment Planner is a plug-in that helps to expose what the new 8.5.x product servers and features have to offer. Additionally, it reveals tips and tricks for successfully planning and deploying the environment.
Supported Sametime Versions
This tool is designed for use with all Sametime components versions 8.5 and later as well as Sametime Community 8.0, and later.
How to get it
Access the downloads from the IBM Serviceability Tool for Sametime Community on IBM Greenhouse:
Feedback such as information on problems, enhancement requests, and usability concerns can be posted to the IBM Serviceability Tool for Sametime community on IBM Greenhouse. IBM reviews all feedback but makes no commitments regarding changes to the product or its documentation.
Attention, Sametime Mobile Meetings users: we just posted an update to our mobile meetings apps for Android and iOS on their respective app stores.
These updated apps include a few bug fixes plus a couple of goodies you may find interesting.
First and foremost, we're enabling support for server-side recordings for SmartCloud meetings. In iOS you can start a recording by tapping on the Action button on the top-right corner of the screen. You'll see a menu item called "Record Meeting":
Tap on Record Meeting and you'll be able to provide a name for your recording and define the file format for it. The actual recording will be available on your Dashboard on SmartCloud.
Among other things we're also adding crash detection capabilities to the apps. When the app crashes for whatever reason it collects information related to the event. The next time you launch the app it will ask you whether you want to send us the logs from that event. If you say yes, it'll pass the log files to the Mail app and it will give you an opportunity to tell us what happened.
The newly updated apps are available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
I'm excited to let you know that today at Enterprise Connect, ShoreTel announced the general availability of ShoreTel Communicator for IBM Sametime!
ShoreTel Communicatorcombines the power of ShoreTel’s IP telephonyand unified messaging with the real-time capabilities of Sametime. It integrates into both IBM Sametime and Lotus Notes and providing many great features such as tightly integrated visual voice mail and remote call control with user's contacts and calendar. There's also an option to “camp on” when a colleague is on the phone or has an unavailable presence, letting the system notify you when the person becomes available.
Read more about it here in their press release as well as a great customer success story with FIDM:
I'm a writer on the Sametime Doc team. We're looking for feedback on topics that list common tasks and how to do them. Please check out an example and take a (very short!) survey to let us know if this type of topic is useful to you or not.