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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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...
I've discovered that keeping our Business Partner features to just Tuesdays wan't enough. So instead, we'll feature our Business Partners more throughout our weekly editorial calendar.
Today's IBM Business Partner Feature is about Lionbridge. On Wednesday, they announced the GeoFluent IM for IBM Sametime solution. This solution will help IBM Sametime clients collaborate more effectively with non-English speaking colleagues, partners and customers:
“Today's dynamic workforce is increasingly globally dispersed, multigenerational and multicultural,” said Caleb Barlow, Director, Unified Communications and Collaboration, IBM. “As globally dispersed organizations move towards becoming social businesses, the challenge of resolving real-time barriers of language translation is critical. Today’s always available, socially-connected organizations need to communicate seamlessly with networks of partners, clients and suppliers, regardless of location, time-zone or language.”
We encourage you to join Lionbridge and IBM for a webinar on August 23rd to learn more about increasing social communications across borders with multilingual unified communications. Please register for the webinar here.
As a native English and French speaker, I have to say this is pretty cool. I've seen the real-time translations in action, and it makes cross-language real-time communication SO much easier. It won't replace professional translators for all use cases, but for the majority of day-to-day real-time translation work, it's a great solution to look into.
I had originally installed it on my HTC Incredible 2 from an email I got from our development team. I went to the Market and launched a search for "IBM Sametime". It came up as expected. The Market app recognized that Sametime was already installed on my phone and asked whether I wanted to upgrade. I said yes, it downloaded the updated app, installed it and picked up my settings flawlessly. I launched it and it worked. The way it is supposed to b e. Pretty nice and painless. I like it.
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.
I am happy to announce to my Sametime friends and family the IBM Connections Suite v1.0! Today we announced an important bundle that brings together what your organization needs to optimize on the latest evolution in communication. Social Communication.
Today's world necessitates a social business. Social Communications makes it happen. Social Communications is not only the unification of social software and unified communications and collaboration but together creates a powerful new form of communication greater than the sum of its parts. It moves us beyond simple presence - beyond finding an expert and leveraging their static published content - shifting the focus to both relevance and real time engagement. Thus, it goes beyond an expertise search, beyond just reaching someone because they are available. For example, not only can you see what someone knows but also easily see validation by others - usage of their files by others (number of downloads, comments), how many people follow them, and what comments and questions have been left on their profile.
The IBM Connections Suite combines IBM Sametime Advanced, IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client, and IBM Connections with Community Custom Libraries powered by IBM FileNet, to provide exceptional value in built-for-business integrated social software complete with robust document management yielding a real-time social communications platform. With this bundle see a users static content, collaborate asynchronously or engage real-time with the relevant expert with text, voice or video.
Wouldn't this be a cool broadcast announcement to send to my IBM Sametime Blog Community? And that community is also the same community in IBM Connections' Communities where we work on activities together, have a forum, and share files? Just a simple example.
Check out these demo's in Luis Benitez's blog : http://www.lbenitez.com/2012/05/announcing-ibm-connections-suite-sweet.html
Read more in our official announcement here : http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_ca/7/897/ENUS212-087/index.html&lang=en&request_locale=en
Extractions from the Announcement letter :
IBM Connections capabilities:
Home page - Use the home page to see a snapshot of updates collected from across your subscriptions, notifications, and network of colleagues.
Communities - In Communities, members can participate in community-specific activities and forums, and can share blogs, bookmarks, feeds, and files.
Community document libraries - Configure IBM FileNet libraries to display, access, and manage content from within a Connections Community. Document libraries support document check-in and check-out, versioning, access control, and prompting for required metadata.
Profiles - Permits you to search for people across your organization using tags to identify expertise, current projects, and responsibilities.
Activities - Provides capabilities for gathering and sharing project documents, and working with colleagues to complete tasks.
Files - Provides a repository in which you can upload files and share them with others.
Wikis - Permits individuals, groups, and communities to capture, share, and co-author information.
Forums - Allows individuals to share ideas with, and benefit from, the expertise of others.
Blogs - Provides the ability to create online journals that you can use to deliver timely information to others. You can use a blog to present your ideas and get feedback from others or learn from the expertise of others who blog.
Bookmarks - Helps you save, share, and discover bookmarks through this social bookmarking service.
IBM Lotus Quickr Connectors
Author, share, collaborate, and manage Connections community document library content in FileNet using desktop applications such as Microsoft™ Windows™ Explorer, Microsoft Office 2003 to 2010, Microsoft Outlook, IBM Lotus Notes®, IBM Sametime, and IBM Lotus Symphony™.
IBM Sametime Advanced :
Unified communications and collaboration core capabilities:
Secure, enterprise instant messaging
Federation with Public Instant Messaging services
File and folder transfer options
Integrated Voice (VoIP) and desktop video
Mobile device support
Open APIs and an extensible client
Online meetings - Persistent meeting rooms with native and third-party audio and video from both the rich client and the browser-based desktop meeting experience.
Instant share - Share or remotely control a computer desktop with colleagues.
Persistent group chat rooms - Create, enter, read, and contribute to ongoing chats at any time from the rich client or a browser. Users can be alerted to new content, events, and people in the chat room.
Broadcast communities - Create and subscribe to real-time channels devoted to various topics. Channel subscribers receive real-time alerts, ask questions via Skill Tap, interact with experts, create and respond to real-time polls, and join online group conversation.
Organizational tree view - Leverage an organizational tree view of your contacts to see the reporting structure of your company based on the corporate directory.
Bandwidth management - Bandwidth limits can be set to constrain the overall amount of audio and video on the network consumed by Sametime. Administrators can set policies to control bandwidth based on classes of users and locations.
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client license enables the Sametime Connect rich client software to make and receive telephony and video calls when configured with a certified telephony or audio video environment.
addition to the rich set of social collaboration capabilities
independently offered by IBM Connections and IBM Sametime, IBM
Connections Suite V1.0 allows you to take advantage of existing points
Presence and awareness - Know if someone is available without leaving your IBM Connections environment.
collaboration - Leverage IBM Sametime broadcast channels to reach out
to IBM Connections Community members in real time with Instant Broadcast
Announcements, Broadcast Chats, and Polls.
card integration - Leverage business cards in IBM Connections and IBM
Sametime to see a person's availability and to access that person's
profile, blogs, wikis, communities, and more. Launch a chat session
directly from the business card by right-clicking on the person's name.
Here are a few examples of how these products can be used together:
From IBM Sametime
Reach out to the members of your IBM Connections community with instant broadcasts, polling, and announcements
Utilize a dedicated persistent chat room or meeting room with its own content library
Engage with compelling native and third-party audio and video in both the IBM Sametime rich client and browser-based online meetings
From within your IBM Connections environment
Determine if someone is available via presence awareness
Hover over an individual's name, and from the pop up business card, click to chat or start an instant meeting
With an additional click, move to a video or voice chat from the Sametime rich client chat window
From a user's IBM Connections business card in the IBM Sametime rich client chat window
Share or record your communication by adding your chat transcript to a relevant IBM Connections community forum or activity with a click of a button in the chat window
From the business card click to quickly see your chat partner's blogs, profiles, activities, bookmarks, communities, and more
From within an IBM Connections community
Access and use content libraries that leverage the capabilities of IBM FileNet Content Manager
Create, view, access, and manage corporate content and associated metadata stored in IBM FileNet Content Manager
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.
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.
Yesterday as part of the IBM Sametime 8.5.2 release, we introduced the IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client (aka "SUT Lite Client") This offering provides an exciting opportunity for customers to start down the UC path. This new communication option, lets users make and receive voice and video calls from their desktops using the Sametime Connect Client as a rich, standards-based audio/video softphone.
As a video endpoint, the SUT Lite client allows users to make and receive video calls with other video end-points, including conference rooms and telepresence systems, other software clients, desktop and deskside video hardware units, and video media control units (MCUs). Using video conferencing can reduce the need for face to face meetings, thus reducing the loss in productivity and costs of travel, and enabling more engaged interaction than a audio-only experience. As this is enabled from the Sametime Connect client, the users access this added functionality as part of the same familiar Sametime UC experience
Likewise, for voice calls, SUT Lite client acts as a softphone that can be used from virtually anywhere a user has internet connectivity. On the road, making calls directly from the computer can reduce costs by avoiding long distance charges, cellular costs, including roaming costs which can be quite high when traveling internationally.
Users have easy access to softphone controls including incoming call notification, click2call, dial, hang-up, volume control, and mute. As users need the features of a full SUT license (move calls from device to device, single-number reach based on location and context, visual conferencing, etc.), they can upgrade without major changes to the user experience.
The IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client is easy to deploy and does not require any additional hardware or software over Sametime Standard. It simply requires a SIP trunk to be configured between the Sametime Media Manager and a certified SIP environment.
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.
#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:
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!
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
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.