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 188.8.131.52. 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 184.108.40.20620831 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.
Today we posted a major update to the IBM Sametime Meetings Remote Client SDK to developerWorks. This update is so significant that we're now moving this technology preview from Alpha to Beta 1 state. This new code drop includes over 30 fixes, changes and additions. All samples were reworked to be more consistent and we also added 3 new samples for you to play with. To those of you using the SDK today I'd like to encourage you to download this new version and to let us know how it goes. You can get it here.
Today we posted an update to IBM Sametime for iOS on the App Store. This version 220.127.116.11 and includes important improvements to chat history, settings, performance and session management. Now you can share your location if you're on iOS 5 and up, optimization for the new iPad's Retina Display and miscellaneous fixes. Make sure to get it.
We want to welcome Huawei to our ecosystem of validated partners for SUT Lite. Telepresence Options reports on the recent completion of the Huawei videoconferencing system validation for SUT Lite (here).
We're very proud to see our partner ecosystem growing steadily and having Huawei join us is going to be a major boon for our customers. SUT Lite interoperability with Huawei videoconferencing will give users the benefits of high-quality audio and video and continuous presence as well as the extensibility to the desktop and the soft end points provided by Sametime. This is, indeed, very good news.
Our Product Quality team is conducting a survey of all IBM Collaboration Solutions products, including Sametime, to determine where we stand when it comes to quality. The purpose of this survey is to gather feedback from customers and business partners on what areas of our product portfolio we should improve.
Id like to ask you all to please fill out the survey and to tell us as much as you can about Sametime deployability, enablement, reliability, performance, maintenance, ease of upgrade, serviceability, integration, and ease of use. If you also use any other of our sister products please take some time and tell us about them too.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to do this. I know filling out forms is not fun. I know I hate it when I get an email asking me to fill out a survey but, in this case, I can get away with it because I'm not spamming your inbox (ha!). But, to give you an incentive, please post a comment on this blog when you fill out the survey and I'll buy you a beer if you happen to be Lotusphere 2013, how's that?
The survey is available on Greenhouse. You can get started with it by clicking here.