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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
developerWorks just published a white paper by Sneha Heda, Bhavuk Srivastava and Yue Lin titled Simplifying your IBM Sametime deployment using an efficient topology and automated scripts. The paper brings together three experienced Sametime developers who know a thing or two about Sametime deployment--including what not to do when doing so.
Our development team has been working very hard in automating installation tasks to minimize the pain of installing IBM Sametime. I know ... I know ... it's no picnic but, then again, Sametime ain't no toy, so ... Anyway, this white paper takes you over everything you need to know to deploy Sametime servers on Linux using the new script-based deployment tool we've been working on over the past few months. The tool allows you to sketch out more than one deployment strategy (we call them "models") and it helps you pick the most cost-effective one. This is all based on best practices and well-known deployment scenarios. The article includes sample deployment models for Sametime Advanced, Meetings, etc. so you can get started.
If you're in the business of deploying Sametime make sure to take a read. I think you're going to like it. You can find the paper here.
We've always said we play well with others. We play especially well with our friends at Polycom. Here's what that looks like:
SES, a global satellite operator based in Luxemburg, has just deployed a large enterprise video infrastructure (56 video conferencing rooms across 22 global locations) powered by IBM Sametime and Polycom RealPresence. The solution leverages Polycom HDX room systems (including HDX 8000) and IBM Sametime to help over 1,300 employees from 22 locations work together and collaborate in a social environment.
The solution solves one of the problems we've set out to solve from the very beginning: help businesses minimize travel expenses. At SES, the savings so far amount to approximately 60% of what the cost would have otherwise been.
Another interesting thing here is the sheer size of the deployment (I'll say it again): 56 video conferencing rooms across 22 locations around the globe serving over 1,300 employees. Keep this in mind: this is not a chat infrastructure. This is an enterprise audio and video infrastructure. We definitely play well together, don't we?
You can find out more about this story 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).
IBM Sametime 8.5+ Meetings users, have you posted a discussion comment in a meeting and flagged it as a question or an action item? Have you seen other participants add stars to their comments? Take a moment to answer this very short survey about how you use content flags in the Discussion area of a meeting room.
Folks, in case you were not aware or in case you've forgotten, I'd like to remind you that Greenhouse now features IBM Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1. You can download the client from Greenhouse. It comes fully configured and all you need to do is provide your Greenhouse user ID and password.
It is available for Windows and Mac OS. Like I said, it comes pre-configured to connect to sametime.lotus.com for presence and instant messaging and to st85meetings.lotus.com for meetings. Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) is enabled but you need to request SUT access. The same goes for audio and video. Accounts provisioned for audio and video get NAT traversal support.
The client also features the Sametime Advanced plug-ins and, again, it comes pre-configured to connect to the Advanced server running in Greenhouse. It also features integration with Microsoft Office, SharePoint, and Outlook if you have those applications installed on your desktop.
I encourage you to join the IBM Sametime Video, Mobility and Telephony Community in Greenhouse. You can find more information about the work we're doing to bring the latest Sametime features to your fingertips without you having to do anything besides downloading the client. Check it out. It's all here.
I'm happy to report that the IBM Sametime Meetings app for Android is available for download at the Google Play Store. This is a full-fledged meetings client that includes support for IBM SmartCloud for Social Business which, by the way, is now powered by IBM Sametime too.
- Favorite Meeting Rooms view- Creation of meeting reports
- Lecture-style meetings
- Waiting room
- Join by SmartCloud room ID
- View scheduled meetings from your calendar
As with all Sametime Mobile apps, it works with IBM Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1. If you don't have it installed you can connect to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business or to IBM Greenhouse--it actually comes with predefined connectivity to both environments; all you need to do is provide your user ID and password.
Make sure to download it. Play with it and give us a rating (5 stars are very welcome) on the Play Store.
Today we posted an important update to our Sametime Mobile for Android app on the Google Play Store (here).
This new client is designed for both, phones, and tablets. It has an updated user interface, improvements to chat history management, and better management of multiple communities.
Chris Reckling has posted some nice screenshots on his blog (here). Check it out and, if you have an Android device, feel free to upgrade to this new release and let us know what you think--as long as it can be expressed as a five-star rating on the Play Store (wink, wink...)
Our good friends at Plantronics announced this week the latest release of their Spokes software family of products. Spokes provides the foundation that makes Plantronics headsets operate as seamless extensions of UC clients such as IBM Sametime Connect.
Plantronics uses Spokes as the basis for the Plantronics Plug-in for IBM Sametime, which enables integration of a large chunk of the product family with Sametime Connect. When you have the plug-in installed, you can initiate and pick up calls, put them on hold, mute, unmute and end both, Sametime Voice Chat sessions and Sametime Unified Telephony calls directly from the headset. If the device you're using happens to be a Calisto speaker phone, you can also dial directly from the device if you're calling phone number from your SUT unified number.
The Plantronics Plug-in for IBM Sametime on Windows has been around for a while. I personally use it every day because it makes my Savi W730 and my Voyager Pro UC V2 work they way they're supposed to with my Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1 environment on Windows 7. Well, this week's announcement brings lots of good news for Sametime users because, after an intensive Beta program with a bunch of folks inside IBM, the plug-in is now available for Mac OS X as well.
Congratulations to the Plantronics team and, as always, thanks for their continued support for the Sametime platform.
You can find out more about all the cool features available with Spokes and the Plantronics Plug-in for IBM Sametime here.
According to the offering data sheet, it "...provides push-button workflows for users to upload recorded multi-party Sametime sessions—voice and content—into Polycom RealPresence Media Manager. This solution offers automation and ease of use for your end-users and content managers for meta-data entry, bulk content upload, and content approval workflows."
Now you can record and publish multi-point Sametime Video Chat sessions and meetings straight to the Polycom RealPresence Media Manager. You can also capture and publish user-generated content (say a presentation running on a Sametime meeting room enabled for audio and video), and you can also upload other media straight from the desktop into the RealPresence Media Manager.
This offering makes video an even more valuable tool for improving productivity. Now publishing a demo, a training session, or any other piece of content that may be best delivered in video format is as easy as storing a slide deck on a file repository. The difference is that videos tend to be less boring than slide decks and, therefore, more effective.
Thanks to Polycom for bringing this to market. We're very pleased to be associated with such a fine company and we're looking forward to working with them even more closely in the future.
As you may remember we released IBM Connections Suite earlier this
year. The IBM Connections Suite includes Connections (of course),
Sametime Advanced and Sametime Unified Telephony Lite V8.5.2 IFR 1,
FileNet Content Manager and Quickr connectors. When it was originally
released, IBM Connections Suite came with Connections 18.104.22.168. Now that
Connections 4.0 is available, the Suite has been updated with the
latest-and-greatest release of IBM Connections.
IBM Connections Suite leverages, among other things,
integration between Connections Communities and Sametime Advanced
Broadcast Communities, which allows you to reach out to all members of a
community in real time. It also features the new Sametime Video Chat
Widget for Connections, which allows you to launch multi-party video sessions within a Connections Community. It's pretty cool.
You can learn more about IBM Connections Suite here:
FYI, people... we just posted an update to the IBM Sametime Configuration Validator tool on the IBM Sametime Wiki. The current release is 22.214.171.12420831 an it includes the following changes:
Report View & Reporting Listing provide better handling of generated reports
Improved Add Server Wizard for adding servers
Expanded Configuration Validation Report to include Sametime Environment Summary
Interim Fix (iFix) validation for WebSphere servers
Improved existing validation routines
Added instructions to guide on installing Business Intelligence,
Reporting and Charting - BIRT Framework (BIRT) 3.7.x separately.
This version will update any previous versions you may have installed. If you've never installed Configuration Validator before this release will give you the latest-and-greatest functionality available today. You can get it 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.