IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 is here! Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 extends the capabilities of Sametime 8.5 to additional desktop operating systems and mobile device operating systems, providing comprehensive support for all of the most popular desktop and mobile device operating systems. Following are the Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 additions:
- Apple Macintosh 10.6
- Linux (SLED , RHED, and Ubuntu)
- Blackberry 5.0 devices
- Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 devices
Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 also provides server support for the most recent release of Lotus Domino (8.5.1), with plans to provide support for the next version shortly after it is released. In addition, Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 support for Linux on IBM System z will be available approximately 60 days after electronic availability on the other platforms. You can read the complete announcement letter here.
In addition to the release of Sametime 8.5.1, we're also announcing the general availability of Sametime Unified Telephony. First made available in June 2009, IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.1 provides a unified user experience through a single Sametime Connect client, including managing telephone calls, routing calls to various devices, setting call handling rules, and telephony presence. With Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.1, you can activate these capabilities without a separate download, making it easier to deploy and use. You can read the complete announcement letter here.
And Gabriella Davis over at Turtle Partnership Blog
already has a post about the announcements. Thanks, Gabriella, and good luck with your IamLUG
Just a quick reminder to our Sametime audience. As we blogged about a month ago, our friends over at Wainhouse Research are still soliciting responses to their 2010 Unified Communications and Collaboration End User Survey
. Your responses will help develop a clearer understanding of the unified communications marketplace. This
survey should take 5 - 8 minutes to complete! And as an added bonus for your time, Wainhouse will select ten
respondents to win a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate. Hurry: the survey closes July 30!
I've been working with a lot of people from Denmark lately and I must say it's been quite a rewarding experience. I don't know whether it has to do with the fact that Denmark is one of the happiest places on Earth (it was number one last year
) and that state of mind gets to you when you talk to Danish people over Sametime Unified Telephony (it only happens over SUT and TCSPI adapters, by the way) or because we're lucky enough to be working with great business partners hailing from the land of Mr. Andersen
. Convergens A/S
is one of those partners. I've been working with them in building a reference for Collaboration Agenda to highlight their CitizenCasePortal, an integrated solution for municipal case workers that features Sametime, WebSphere Portal, Domino and Notes.
Convergens built the solution for a municipality in Denmark to help case workers improve accuracy and delivery of the various services the municipality offers its citizens.
The main selling point of the solution is to, first, present a unified picture of a citizen's case history along with access to the case workers that participated in building that history and, secondly, to give ready access to those case workers in real time.
The solution pattern proves, once again, that communication is only useful in-context. This is a line-of-business application used by task workers that has improved case processing time in about 90% when compared to the time it took a case worker to gather all the information and build case histories from scratch--every time.
The solution has been in production for about two months now and it's already proving to be one of the smartest decisions the customer has ever made, according to their CIO. I could not agree more.
About a week ago I wrote a post on this blog
in which I asked our readers two questions:
- What's your take on the direction we're setting for the Sametime platform vis-à-vis CEBP?
- Do you see things such as CEBP and Cloud being delivered exclusively through the Web browser?
I asked that any responses to these two questions be posted in the form of comments on the corresponding post. So far, I see 58 people have seen the post but no comments have been recorded.
If you have an opinion but would rather not comment on this blog please feel free to send me email. My email address is my first-name initial (m) followed by my last name (machado)--no space in between--at "us" dot "ibm" dot "com".
I'm really interested in your opinion and any feedback on the subject will be greatly appreciated.
As I mentioned in a previous post
, we've been working with AwesomeBobcatVideos
to include Unified Communications videos in her ongoing series of short videos that cover Enterprise
Collaboration as well as other topics.
The third video that I worked with her on as part of this series was just recently posted. Here I talk briefly about why Business Partners are so important to the IBM strategy for unified communications and collaboration. Take a look at the video on YouTube here
Today instead of giving you something to make you smile (or just roll your eyes) I would like to, instead, ask you, dear readers, a couple of questions.
I'm interested in your opinion because, first of all, I'm very curious about the make-up of the readership of this blog and I hope your feedback will give me a better idea of who actually reads this stuff. Secondly, because I think these are fair questions to ask.
The only thing I can promise you to do with your feedback is to internalize it and use it to enrich the awareness I rely on to nurture my decision making. If you feel so inclined as to indulging me with your feedback please feel free to comment on this post.
The first question I'd like to ask is: What's your take on the direction we're setting for the Sametime platform vis-a-vis CEBP?
If you recall, our take on CEBP basically says that CEBP is about collaboration facilitated and empowered by unified communications. Moreover, we're saying that, to be effective, CEBP must be intimately linked to business process management (BPM). We call the whole thing BPM + UC² = CEBP and the BPM world looks at it as "Social BPM" (see this post
for more on the philosophical underpinnings of this rationale).
My second question is: Do you see things such as CEBP and Cloud being delivered exclusively through the Web browser?
The reason I'm asking is because we're seeing the Web browser as the easiest way to implement many of the CEBP scenarios we're working on. We're working with the WebSphere Portal team in building templates for industry use cases in banking
, retail and insurance and a few work streams we're pursuing with the IBM BPM team and a few select business partners are also centered around Web browser interfaces. I'm also noticing the emergence of an unwritten assumption that everything coming from the Cloud must be delivered through the Web browser.
I don't think this should be the case because not all applications are suited for the browser--especially in situations involving task workers. I happen to believe the idea of heterogeneous mashups--the kinds of applications you build using Lotus Expeditor
and, by extension, the Sametime Connect client--is also a viable proposition for both, CEBP and Cloud alongside the Web browser particularly for task workers.
I'm looking forward to hearing your opinion about these two issues.
Have a good weekend, everyone.
Today my friend Art Rosenberg wrote an interesting post titled "Short Messaging Service (SMS) winning the mobility battle?" on the UC Strategies blog
that, when you see the numbers, really puts things in perspective when it comes to considering the effectiveness of SMS as a communication tool. As it usually happens, the success of SMS stems from its simplicity: it's low-bandwidth, it doesn't require specialized equipment and it just works. Because of its simplicity, SMS can be used as a communication channel but also as an interface to applications in CEBP scenarios. To me, this is where its true potential resides.
In case you didn't know, there's a way to interact with mobile phones via SMS from Sametime. Our friends at Red Oxygen
, a company based in Austin, Texas, have developed the functionality that allows a Sametime user to send and receive SMS from a mobile phone into Sametime and vice versa. Red Oxygen provides the functionality as a cloud service and, to a Sametime user, it looks as if he or she were chatting with another Sametime user when, in reality, he or she would be chatting with a bot that does the brokering between the Sametime community server and the mobile phone. This is what it looks like:
Pretty cool, huh? Never mind the Flintstones.
In case you ever wondered what our APIs look like, here's one:
Happy Fourth of July, folks.
UC² is about more than voice; more than UC. It's far more valuable than adding voice to everything and it's far more profound than debating whether to phase out their PBXs. It's more than selling people phones and telephony hardware and it's certainly more than selling them Windows licenses. Our competitors offer UC. We offer UC². There, I said it.
Having that out of the way, let me tell you why I'm starting this post with a rant.
I just came across a nice example of what I've been saying since I got here:
InformationWeek has just published an article about SPACE (Smart Place to Accelerate Community of Excellence) at Berlitz International. SPACE is a solution based on Sametime, Lotus Connections, WebSphere Portal Server and Tivoli Identity Manager that Berlitz is deploying to serve over 10,000 employees across 550 language centers in 70 countries. The solution is being used to communicate, to collaborate, to find expertise, to capture and share knowledge; all that.
I know it sounds like copy-and-paste from our marketing material but it's actually true. This is our message to the world.
If you're interested in reading the article you can find it here
It is with mixed emotions that I'm announcing that today is Bruce Morse's last day with IBM. After 32 years, he's decided that it's time to pursue other challenges and adventures in life. Most of you know that Bruce has led our Unified Communications & Collaboration segment for the past 4 years. But in his 3 decades with IBM he also
- helped manage IBM's
S/390 and AS/400 businesses through a number of challenging industry
transitions in technology, computing styles and business models
- was responsible for building strategic
alliances as part of IBM's business development initiatives
- built the Software Group mergers and acquisition team and played a prominent role
in the acquisitions of Lotus, Tivoli, and eight other software
- played a leading role in the
launch and development of the WebSphere Portal business
- was a major driver in a number of our software start-up businesses,
Computing and Software Group Industry Solutions
- participated in some really bad skits on the Lotusphere stage. Holy cow they were bad...
The entire UC2 team wishes him all the best and his leadership will be missed.
As for Sametime, the rest of the team remains intact and our focus unchanged. I had hoped to be able to announce Bruce's successor at the same time as his retirement, but that is still in the works. I'll let you know as soon as I am able.
The world is noticing that communication alone is not as useful as when it's done in the service of collaboration towards achieving a common goal--if only talk show hosts would get a grip on that one... but I digress. The point is that communication as an enabler to collaboration actually make sense and people are starting to notice. The steady penetration of social software into business processes proves my point.
I mentioned before we're working with the IBM BPM team in devising integration scenarios for BPM and UC² around a theme known as "Social BPM". We're making good progress along several work streams and we're all very excited about the strength of this story.
Today, an article on Internet Telephony titled Businesses Are Sweet on Social Networking
talks about specific case studies where customers are deploying social software to enrich collaboration and bridge gaps caused geography and other barriers. The author has nice things to say about our very own Connections software:
"...one customer is Rheinmetall AG, a German defense and automotive manufacturer. They have deployed Lotus Connections and embedded it into their internal SAP portal to improve productivity across teams, time zones, borders and corporate divisions. They can tap the expertise of their entire organization from the context of their ERP system.”
Another IBM customer is the Practicing Law Institute, which deployed IBM social software last year to support its extranet site for 100,000 lawyers. “The social capabilities allow PLI to not only deliver continuing education to the legal industry more effectively, it also helps strengthen PLI’s relationships with those customers so they visit more frequently,” says Lamb.
When organizations embed the knowledge of employee or customer communities into those applications, adds Lamb, they accelerate adoption, and they can optimize that particular business process. This results in faster time to market, shorter sales cycles, improved customer satisfaction, lower call center volume and other potential benefits, he says.
Sametime and Connections are first cousins who are growing up together. Sametime is about ten years older than Connections and, as a good older cousin, it has embraced its younger cousin. Sametime features integration with Connections both ways, on the Sametime Connect client, and on the Connections user interface as well.
You can get to a person's activities, blogs, communities, etc. on Connections straight from a chat window on the Sametime Connect client:
Additionally, you can see a person's Sametime presence and availability status directly from the Connections user interface:
In a nutshell, we got this one down. Now we're working on taking it to the next level where social software and unified communications along with BPM software will truly make CEBP happen.
Many of you may have seen IBM Foundations Reach demo'd at VoiceCon (Enterprise Connect) earlier this year. Foundations Reach is an appliance that puts
- Core IT functions - email, calendars, productivity tools, network security, remote access, file and print sharing, backup and disaster recovery
- AND real time collaborative tools - secured instant messaging, VoIP and video chat capabilities (ie: Sametime)
- On a single package priced with the small business budget in mind.
Now Shortel's IP telephony, audio conferencing, mobility, voicemail and
unified messaging work with Foundations Reach... and it's winning awards.
Mark Arman, vice president of business development, ShoreTel "This Unified Communications TMC Labs Innovation Award reflects the commitment the ShoreTel team has made to deliver a brilliantly simple UC solution for SMBs that helps eliminate complexity and offers the lowest total cost of ownership in the industry. ShoreTel for IBM Foundations is designed to transform every organization in which it is deployed, with unprecedented ease of use, reliability and features -- all backed with ShoreTel's commitment to world-class customer satisfaction. We're proud that TMC has recognized this industry-first achievement."
Buck Baker, president, ScanSource Communications "We are delighted that
ShoreTel for IBM Foundations has been recognized by TMCnet for its
innovation and market leadership. We're already seeing an enormous
interest for this product among small and midsize businesses eager to
take advantage of powerful and reliable unified communications features
without the cost and complexity of a traditional approach. With many
resellers already offering this out-of-the box solution, and many more
in the process of signing up, SMBs around the world can now simplify and
modernize their business communications on a reliable platform built
Caleb Barlow, director, Lotus Foundations, IBM "With this recognition and award, it's clear that ShoreTel for IBM Foundations is the perfect choice for businesses who are looking for a 'UCC-in-a-box' solution that is effortless on all levels -- painless to deploy, simple to manage and easy to maintain. The first communications technology that turns a PBX into an appliance, ShoreTel for IBM Foundations takes simple, yet innovative technology to a whole new level."
You care read more here
IBM was among the select companies that independent research firm, Forrester Research, Inc., invited to participate in its June 2010 Forrester Wave™ report,The Forrester Wave™: Web Conferencing, Q2 2010. In their evaluation, IBM Sametime was cited as a leader. "Sametime got a big face-lift with the 8.5 release in 2009. This product includes instant messaging, presence, videoconferencing, and persistent meeting rooms, so it’s easy to incorporate Web meetings into other modes of communication" Check out the full report on Forrester.com.