addition to meeting with customers and business partners, Lotusphere
is also a great opportunity to meet with IT analysts, reporters and
bloggers, share with them what we're up to, and get their feedback,
since they have such a strong pulse on the marketplace. Our Analyst
Relations lead, Public Relations lead, along with our Unified
Communications leadership team met, with several analysts and
reporters throughout the week.
wanted to summarize some of the feedback we received, mainly to show
IBM's continued commitment to the Unified Communications and
real-time collaboration market.
up is a video interview with Zeus Kerravala from Yankee Group. He particularly liked
the themes of multi-modal UC and cost effectiveness that were in the
broader themes covered in Bruce Morse's Unified Communications
Keynote Monday afternoon. Zeus is also a regular contributor to the nojitter.com blog.
think the most interesting new stuff right now revolves around the
Meetings [function in Sametime 8.5]. And I think that what we saw
especially how fast and easy it was."
Riggs from Current Analysis blogged extensively
about his thoughts from Lotusphere 2010 on nojitter.com. Money
Sametime client can of course provide the same click-to-call and
other telephony features. And with the release of SameTime Unified
Telephony last year, IBM can now deliver a soft phone that combines
instant messaging presence, telephony presence, and the ability to
initiate and receive calls in a multivendor PBX environment. So while
IBM has stayed out of the PBX business, it is quite capable of
delivering a UC-enriched soft phone that works with a variety of
IBM is demonstrating is that no matter where an organisation is
starting from, it can move the communication and collaboration
platform forward to wherever the organisation feels it needs to go:
in-house, hybrid or pure-play cloud.
Osterman from Osterman Research was at Lotusphere as well, also
producing a lengthy blog entry.
is making major strides toward moving its offerings into the cloud.
IBM is also focusing heavily on mobility, demonstrating a number of
interesting mobility-based features and functions for Notes, Sametime
and other platforms.
let us not forget the mainstream media. Sametime's press activities
at Lotusphere did generate articles in key technology and telephony
trade magazines including: NetworkWorld, Computerworld, ChannelWeb,
eWEEK, IDG, VON, V3 and TMCNet.
Hot of the presses, some good news for those looking to use Domino 8.5.1 and Sametime 8.5 community server or 'classic' meetings server. IBM will now provide technical support to customers using this configuration. Here is the official technote with the official support statement.
We plan to continue testing Domino 8.5.1 configuration for inclusion in a maintenance release of Sametime 8.5, currently targeted for release in 1H 2010.
IBM announced our annual Lotus Award Winners for 2010, as blogged about in the Collaborate for Success Blog. Our Business Partners were a bright spot for us in 2009, and we look forward to even more success in 2010. A sampling of the Sametime business partners who won or were nominated include:
Best Unified Communications and Collaboration Solution Award WINNER: Instant Technologies (United States)
Finalist: RADVISION, Inc. (United States)
Finalist: KMSLAB Co. Ltd (Korea)
IBM Lotus Breakout Technology Award Finalist: Alcatel-Lucent (France)
IBM Lotus Marketing Award Finalist: Epilio (United States)
Distinguished Achievement Award Americas:
Finalist: Meridian IT (United States)
If I forgot a few winners or finalists, please let me know so I can post an errata. Congrats to our winners and finalists!
Each year Lotus gives out many awards for best partner, best solution, etc, etc. My personal contribution to award season is the annual Best in Lotusphere Chotski Award. For those of you not familiar with the term, chotski's are the freebie's given out by exhibitors on the show floor. Last year, Premiere Global Services (PGi) won with nerf-like dart guns (great fun with the kids) and chocolate bars. (This year PGi rolled out Sametime 8.5 + their audio conferencing as a managed service... but no great chotski's.)
This year there were two runners up, Polycom and Permessa. On the floor, Polycom was showing their telepresence, voice and video conferencing solutions for Sametime 8.5. Permessa featured their email and instant messaging management and compliance tools (which won the Lotus Award for Best Tool or Utility). Interestingly, both gave away fantastic pens. (Yes, pens.) Permessa went the traditional, but high-end, route with a very substantial silver and black number. This thing is solid. Polycom took a more modern approach with a smooth writing ballpoint with a built-in yellow highlighter.
But this year's winner was clearly Extracomm. Granted, it might have been because I got to them late on the last day... but they were handing out USB Sametime phones, 3D optical mice, iphone cases and golf shirts. Among other offerings, Extracomm produces ExtraTxt and ExtraFax. These let Sametime users send faxes or SMS messages from their Connect client. Check them out.
Congratulations to all our winners and good luck next year!
finally have a free moment to catch up on sharing our Sametime
experience here at Lotusphere 2010. But rather than a laundry list
of recaps, I wanted to talk about story telling.
One of the most
wonderful aspects of meetings like Lotusphere is serendipity. One
such seredipitous moment came this morning when I had the pleasure of
sitting next to Jean-Francois Chenier, of “The Man Who Should Have Used Lotus Connections” fame, on the bus from the Port Orleans
hotel to the Dolphin. His videos, and our wide-ranging conversation
about Japan and Calgary and snow, have inspired me to find ways to
tell better stories. And not just any stories.
In IBM we're
awfully good at telling the “how” stories – I would say 90% of
the content here at Lotusphere is training, education,
implementation, etc. The two excellent videos (and more to come)
that John Del Pizzo produced are great examples of that too. But
those of us who are close to a topic often struggle with the “why”.
I'm not just referring to the business value of our Lotus portfolio,
though that's clearly a big part of the “why”. It's also the
more personal stories that make a direct connections between these incredible
technologies and improving our lives.
subconscious level, those of us who use Sametime every day –
indeed, the younger generation that uses Skype and Yahoo! and Google
Talk -- instinctually know the incredible value it brings to our
lives – the visually rich, instant communication with friends and
colleagues all over the world, and the flexibility it provides for
our work and personal lives. But how do we put ourselves in the
shoes of someone not so close to it as we are? To communicate that “why”
to the vast mass of people who may not be aware of Sametime or discount out-of-hand the business value of real-time communications?
So that's the
challenge that I, as the worldwide market segment manager for
Sametime, set for myself this year: to learn from a master like
Jean-Francois, to reading wonderful books like “Back of the Napkin”, to tell the “why” of Sametime. The product team
worked extremely hard in 2009 to improve Sametime: Sametime Unified Telephony; and Sametime 8.5 are sea-change improvements in unified communications and real-time collaboration software. My job this
year – and the help I need from you as business partners and
evangelists in your enterprises – is to now shift into that
wonderful story-telling mode. To get our prospects' eyes wide with wonder at
the possibilities Sametime can open up in our work, and personal –
I would love to
hear YOUR stories. What are your experiences, good and bad? How do you wish you COULD use Sametime? Whether through comments here, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube, WHY do you use Sametime?
It's 12:26 AM EST in Orlando. Lotusphere is in full swing and I just came back to my room at the Dolphin hotel after attending the Australian Party--allegedly the hottest ticket in town during Lotusphere. I just said good night to my lovely wife and, instead of brushing my teeth and getting ready to go to bed, I'm here writing this post.
The reason I'm doing this is to clarify what Collaboration Agenda means for Sametime. I've been manning the Collaboration Agenda pedestal at the IBM booth and I'm getting lots of questions about what this actually means; questions from business partners, customers and even from IBM colleagues. So, here it goes.
Collaboration Agenda is a philosophy, a way of doing things, a metamethodology that brings together well-known best practices to help customers address pain points with solutions that will save them money and help them make money.
It all starts with industry priorities defined by industry leaders and visionaries. Each industry priority encompasses a series of well-defined pain points that are measurable and quantifiable. Then, based on that knowledge, we apply known best practices to address those pain points with solutions designed to minimize the impact inflicted by those pain points on the customer's business processes and to maximize efficiency and agility. In the case of business processes that benefit from reducing and/or eliminating human latency, such solutions will be based on unified communications and collaboration software.
Devising solutions using the Collaboration Agenda philosophy produces things such as RadioConnect for Sametime, a solution based on Sametime Standard and a soft radio plug-in developed by UnifiedEdge, an IBM Business Partner based out of Round Rock, Texas. RadioConnect was designed with a manic focus on solving a single problem: lack of interoperability among disparate radio infrastructures in emergency response and public safety scenarios and nothing else.
This is what Collaboration Agenda can help us achieve. RadioConnect may not be very sexy--it won't update your Tweeter status or your Facebook wall--but it will help first responders communicate with each other in an emergency situation, which can contribute to minimizing the loss of life and property.
If you happen to be at Lotusphere and would like to have a deeper discussion about this feel free to drop by the IBM booth. I'm going to be back at the Collaboration Agenda pedestal between 11:45 AM EST and 2:00 PM EST today.
For those readers who are traveling to Lotusphere 2010, feel free to join our first ever Tweetup! It's co-hosted by our own Bilal Jaffery and Luis Benitez, of the Lotus Social Software Community (of which I'm a member). Have a safe trip and bring some comfortable clothing - looks like the weather is finally turning back to normal down there.
An update to our original post back on December 2: we are planning a wide range of activities at next week's Lotusphere 2010 for Sametime. Here's a handy-dandy 1-page JPG you can download and use to find us in the happy madness of it all.
I've been reading lots of literature about Communication-Enabled Business Processes, or CEBPs over the last few weeks. Most of it seems to revolve around the notion that CEBPs are nothing but voice-enabled business processes; that all you need to do to enable a business process with communications services is add voice to it. Other ideas around CEBPs call for taking the basic premise of eliminating human latency to the extreme and to actually measure how much a business process can be accelerated through communications enablement in actual minutes. I think both notions fail to present the full dimension of what CEBPs are and why we need them.
I agree that the main purpose of turning a regular business process into a CEBP is to deal with human latency. However, there are business processes in which human intervention is an intrinsic feature and, as a result, expected to be part of the process. I'm talking about processes where human decision-making must be rooted on reflection and careful evaluation of pros and cons, reflection that will invariable manifest itself as latency in the overall business process. I wouldn't mind, for instance, having my doctor taking enough time to evaluate the best treatment options for me or a fund manager taking time to go over a company's books and strategy before investing my money in it. What I would like is for both, my doctor and my broker, to be able to access all the contextual information they need to support the thought process and to have the tools to eliminate latency from their own decision-making process.
I think in these cases the goal behind communication-enabling business processes should be to prevent the process from slowing down as opposed to accelerating it just because faster is better. Doing this requires more than voice, chat and video. It requires a healthy combination of real-time and asynchronous communications and collaboration services to reduce not only human latency where needed but to enhance the context to support decision-making.
I think work styles have a lot to do with the perception that CEBPs are all about voice and reducing human latency. Traditional work styles tend to hover towards extremes: you're either sending email (the most asynchronous way of communication aside from snail mail and fax) or you get on the phone with that person if you can't walk into his or her office. And so, if these are your parameters, that's what you're going to try to optimize. When, on the other hand, you're used to live in a multimodal environment in which chat, voice, a blog post, an entry on a Wiki or a tweet can get you the information you need and when knowing the person who gave you the answer is just there without you having to talk directly to him or her, that's when you realize email and voice alone are way too extreme. Then you learn that just having access to the context in which that person operates can be enough.
Why am I talking about this? Well, this is how we define CEBPs in the Sametime world. We view Sametime as more than just real-time communications--hence the "UC²" thing. We do have the real-time communication capabilities that our competitors have and we also provide the asynchronous and context-based means to provide a better way to do CEBPs through Sametime Advanced and with the help of our sister products and I think we need to talk more about this. I know I should probably write this in a white paper at some point (and I will) but I thought it necessary to rant about it a bit here just to get it off my chest..
Just saw a very nice article from the folks over at ITJungle, reviewing the new Sametime 8.5. The hat trick:
Sametime developers will fly out of their seats when they learn about
the new support for representational state transfer, or REST-based Web
2.0 APIs. Put into standard English, the new REST-based API--in concert
with the new no-download browser-based client that's used throughout
version 8.5--will allows developers to use standard AJAX tools to embed
Sametime into Web applications and Web portals.
Today Gartner published their First Take on Sametime 8.5 and had some great things to say about our new capabilities. Unfortunately, we don't have the rights yet to publish the entire report here, check out gartner.com to purchase and read the details.
"In case you haven't noticed, IBM Lotus not only didn't go away, it's here with a vengeance. LotusLive.com claims 18 million users, the 8.5 release of Notes/Domino is a winner in storage savings, Lotus Connections beats other social software platforms on many dimensions, and Sametime's pushing the envelope on real-time collaboration at global scale."
Come join us, and our hosts, the LotusUserGroup.org, for a pre-Lotusphere 2010 live webcast reviewing Sametime 8.5's newest capabilities, and the real business value they provide. To learn more, visit the registration page is here. Registration is required, but membership to the LotusUserGroup is free!
If you've read the Sametime 8.5 Requirements, you may have noticed that Windows is the only platform listed under the Connect client. As much as it pains me to say this - especially as a long-time Mac user - we've had to hold the Mac & Linux clients. This is simply a point-in-time statement and we intend to release them both in 2010. In the meantime, if you need Mac support in order to deploy Sametime 8.5, please contact me. There is a beta (which I've been using for months) that we will make available in select situations. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the new zero-download browser client, demo'd here.
Now, to keep the lawyers AND the finance folks happy, I am required to add this disclaimer anytime I make statements about future releases:
"The information on the new product is intended to outline our general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information on the new product is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract. The information on the new product is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code or functionality. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion."
Known problems are documented in the form of individual technotes in the Support knowledge base at http://www.ibm.com/software/lotus/support. As problems are discovered and resolved, the IBM Support team updates the knowledge base. By searching the knowledge base, you can quickly find work-arounds or solutions to problems.
Thanks for all the positive feedback on the Sametime 8.5 Meetings demo! It seems I've tapped some latent demand. Yes, we will be making these available on IBM.com as soon we clear the posting requirements. In the meantime, IBM'ers can download them from our internal Connections site (see my Files area). When the rest of them are done, we'll bundle them up and post a collection publicly.
I'm working on the slides for the session I'm going to present at Lotusphere 2010. The session title is JMP201 IBM Lotus Sametime for Web 2.0. The session is really about the Sametime platform and the Sametime SDK with an emphasis on the significance of the Sametime Proxy 8.5 Toolkit.
The more I learn about the Proxy and the Proxy Toolkit the more I like it. I honestly think it represents the easiest way to enable Web applications for unified communications services. It's amazing how easy to use the toolkit is. The footprint it imposes on a Web page is minimal and yet it's gentle enough to be fully customizable.
I like the fact that it has an encapsulation layer that makes it backward compatible with the STLinks and Sametime Connect Web toolkits. I also like the fact that, if it detects that the Sametime Connect Client is running on the same desktop as the Web page, all requests go to the Connect Client through the Connect Web toolkit, which broadens the integration picture from Web pages all the way to custom applications through the Sametime Helper toolkit. The possibilities are endless. I like that.
There are going to be several sessions about the Proxy 8.5 Toolkit at Lotusphere 2010. Make sure to check them out if you're interested in learning more. Check out John's December 2 posting for more details.
For years, Lotus Notes has included a basic version of Sametime. It provides simple presence and text chat within the Notes / Domino environment. For online meetings, voice, video, file transfers, screen captures, mobile clients, browser clients, the gateway for public IM federation, etc, etc, etc, users needed a license to Sametime Standard or Advanced. Yet, for some reason, we never had an easy upgrade path in place. Now, we do.
Buried in the Sametime 8.5 Announcement Letter are these new part numbers:
Lotus Sametime Standard Extension from Sametime Limited Entitlement (D0CCALL) (D0CC9LL)
Lotus Sametime Advanced Extension from Sametime Limited Entitlement (D0CCBLL)
They let Notes users 'extend' their Notes licenses with Sametime Standard or Advanced capabilities at a discounted price. While the part numbers are in the Sametime 8.5 Announcement, they
can be used for Sametime Standard 8.0.x or Advanced 8.0.x as well. (Just to be clear, these are just for Notes users and you can only extend the number of Notes licenses you have on active maintenance. For users without Notes, you need a regular Standard or Advanced license.)
But, there you go Notes customers, upgrade to Sametime Standard or Advanced today!
* December 16, 2009 update: Corrected Standard Extension part number.
On behalf of the entire Sametime team, I am pleased to announce that Sametime 8.5 will be available for download on December 22nd. Happy Holidays!
IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5
represents the next generation of unified communications and collaboration
software. As you can see, we've packed in quite a bit into this release:
A new online meeting experience that is integrated into the IBM Lotus Sametime Connect
client. Join a meeting with a single click. Easily invite others by dragging
their names from the contact list. Accept meeting invitations with a single
click. Upload meeting materials via simple drag and drop.
New zero-download, browser-based chat and meeting clients that extend
the desktop experience to wherever the user is working.
A new standards-based audio and video infrastructure that enables more seamless interoperability
with third party audio and video conferencing systems.
New audio and video codecs that provide higher quality native voice and
video services for a more compelling collaborative experience out-of-the-box.
New Web 2.0 APIs that let developers embed Sametime capabilities into Web sites
and applications so users switch context less.
A new, browser-based Apple iPhone chat client, support for the Blackberry
Storm, and an improved mobile client for Microsoft® Windows® Mobile devices.
New social views that make it easier to find the people you collaborate
with the most.
Deeper integration with Microsoft and Lotus products
A new System Console that centralizes infrastructure configuration, deployment,
management, and policy management for all Sametime services.
We'll be exploring all of these capabilities in the new year... but Sametime 8.5 is really about simplicity. Simplicity promotes adoption and adoption creates return on investment. Ask yourself these questions: How often do you loose the first ten minutes of a meeting providing instructions on how to log into the web conference? Have you invested in video conferencing systems that sit unused because no one knows they're there or how to use them? Do you want to deliver unified communications services into the applications your employees already use? Do you have a mix of communication and collaboration systems that are difficult to use, isolated and underutilized? If so, Sametime 8.5's unified user experience and open integration can help make UC simple for users, leverage those existing investments and drive real business value.