The Sametime Blog
Marlon Machado 100000PEST email@example.com Tags:  sametime macintosh mac-os plantronics 3,400 Visits
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.
I'm happy to report that our good partners at Polycom have just released their new RealPresence Media Utility for IBM Sametime.
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.
Marlon Machado 100000PEST firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  connections connections-suite sametime-advanced sut-lite 3,415 Visits
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 220.127.116.11. 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:
Check it out.
FYI, people... we just posted an update to the IBM Sametime Configuration Validator tool on the IBM Sametime Wiki. The current release is 18.104.22.16820831 an it includes the following changes:
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.
Marlon Machado 100000PEST email@example.com Tags:  sametime-meetings sametime-sdk 2,605 Visits
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 22.214.171.124 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.
Marlon Machado 100000PEST firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  tech-preview meetings sametime statisctics 4,465 Visits
We're proud to announce availability of the new IBM Sametime Meetings Statistics Utility.
The IBM Sametime Meetings Statistics Utility is a server-side enterprise application that is installed on an IBM Sametime Meetings Server. The application samples values for total rooms, active rooms, unused rooms, active users, library count, and library size once a minute and stores the values in a new database table. The application also provides the ability to generate HTML reports based on these values grouped by various time periods (hour, day, month, year).
This is a technology preview for IBM Sametime Meetings version 8.5.2 IFR 1. It is available for download free of charge at IBM developerWorks (here).
I was in Dallas last Thursday attending the All-Hazards 2012 Summit with our friends from UnifiedEdge and I was told that they were getting ready to put out a press release with our colleagues from the Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities team. We were so busy that I forgot to ask what the press release was all about. Well, it just came out today and it's pretty exciting.
The City of Davao in the Philippines will "... scale-up its existing Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) by integrating city operations into a single system ..." That system is IOC along with IBM Sametime and UnifiedEdge RadioConnect and other key technologies.
This is pretty cool. The PSSCC will provide first responders and city personnel with state-of-the-art situational awareness: GIS, GPS, real-time video feeds, presence and live communication channels (phones, radios, IM, video, etc.) powered by IBM Sametime and UnifiedEdge RadioConnect.
Congratulations to the IOC team and to our partners at UnifiedEdge. This is an exciting project. Davao is the second largest city in the Philippines behind Metro Manila. According to the 2012 census it has a population of over 1.5 million people and it's the 87th fastest-growing city in the world according to the City Mayors Foundation.
You can find the full press release here to learn more.
The Sametime User Experience team is conducting an online survey on Sametime Mobile regarding "Top Tasks for Chat". If you're a Sametime Mobile user we'd love to hear your opinion on what features and usage patterns are important to you when using Sametime Mobile.
Completing the survey takes just a few minutes and your input will be invaluable to us--especially as we continue structuring the plan for our next release. So,if you have a few minutes to spare, please take a look at the survey and let us know what you think. You can find it here: https://www-950.ibm.com/survey/oid/wsb.dll/s/ag470
Marlon Machado 100000PEST email@example.com Tags:  sametime sametime-installation sametime-configuration 4,009 Visits
I'm happy to let you guys know we have published a new tool designed to help expedite deployment of Sametime server components. The tool is called IBM Sametime Configuration Validator. It's an Eclipse-based tool that our support team developed initially for internal use and now, after some scrubbing and polishing, we're making it available to customers and business partners. Thanks to Jeff Miller and the rest of the team for such a good job.
IBM Sametime Configuration Validator does something very simple yet very useful. It harvests the entire configuration of a Sametime environment and validates the settings against a standard validation profile based on best practices and known settings. What it does is totally deterministic, i.e., total grunt work, and very powerful because now you don't have to do it manually.
The tool generates reports that tell you how the configuration stands against the standard profile and points out potential problems you may encounter. The report doesn't necessarily tell you that there's something wrong with your configuration. But, based on what's known to work, it'll tell you whether something may potentially go awry. That way you can nip any bad mojo in the bud and go back to relaxing.
The IBM Sametime Configuration Validator is available for download from the Sametime Wiki. You can find it here.
Lisa D Harris 0600018H1K LHARRIS2@US.IBM.COM Tags:  ucoms connections social bundle ucc sametime 6,967 Visits
It is here! Your social business blueprint!
I am happy to announce to my Sametime friends and family the IBM Connections Suite v1.0! Today we announced an important bundle that brings together what your organization needs to optimize on the latest evolution in communication. Social Communication.
Today's world necessitates a social business. Social Communications makes it happen. Social Communications is not only the unification of social software and unified communications and collaboration but together creates a powerful new form of communication greater than the sum of its parts. It moves us beyond simple presence - beyond finding an expert and leveraging their static published content - shifting the focus to both relevance and real time engagement. Thus, it goes beyond an expertise search, beyond just reaching someone because they are available. For example, not only can you see what someone knows but also easily see validation by others - usage of their files by others (number of downloads, comments), how many people follow them, and what comments and questions have been left on their profile.
The IBM Connections Suite combines IBM Sametime Advanced, IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client, and IBM Connections with Community Custom Libraries powered by IBM FileNet, to provide exceptional value in built-for-business integrated social software complete with robust document management yielding a real-time social communications platform. With this bundle see a users static content, collaborate asynchronously or engage real-time with the relevant expert with text, voice or video.
Wouldn't this be a cool broadcast announcement to send to my IBM Sametime Blog Community? And that community is also the same community in IBM Connections' Communities where we work on activities together, have a forum, and share files? Just a simple example.
Check out these demo's in Luis Benitez's blog : http://www.lbenitez.com/2012/05/announcing-ibm-connections-suite-sweet.html
Read more in our official announcement here : http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_ca/7/897/ENUS212-087/index.html&lang=en&request_locale=en
Extractions from the Announcement letter :
IBM Connections capabilities:
IBM Lotus Quickr Connectors
IBM Sametime Advanced :
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client license enables the Sametime Connect rich client software to make and receive telephony and video calls when configured with a certified telephony or audio video environment.
In addition to the rich set of social collaboration capabilities independently offered by IBM Connections and IBM Sametime, IBM Connections Suite V1.0 allows you to take advantage of existing points of integration.
Here are a few examples of how these products can be used together:
From IBM Sametime
From within your IBM Connections environment
From a user's IBM Connections business card in the IBM Sametime rich client chat window
From within an IBM Connections community
Marlon Machado 100000PEST firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  collaborative-editing meetings whiteboarding integration sametime 3,441 Visits
Our friends from foresee GmbH have some really nice piece of integration between their interacTable and ScreenMate products and IBM Sametime meetings. This is a realy cool project that was demonstrated at CeBIT 2012 at the IBM booth.
The video below shows foresee's technology in action and how it can be shared via Sametime meetings. At 3:30 you can see a Sametime meeting room on the southeast quadrant of the screen. I know, it's kind of at the end but make sure to watch the entire video. It's really cool. Here it is:
Marlon Machado 100000PEST email@example.com Tags:  unifiededge reference sametime 2,420 Visits
Y'all (I have to use it here...) may be already familiar with the project our business partner UnifiedEdge has been working on at The City of Fort Worth, Texas. The project is all about outfitting the Joint Emergency Operations Center serving Fort Worth and surrounding Tarrant County with a social communications infrastructure to enable rapid responses to natural disasters and other emergency events in the area. The infrastructure includes IBM Sametime and UnifiedEdge RadioConnect for Sametime.
The story was released as a public reference yesterday. It's a great story that describes a powerful solution that addresses a complex problem in a very elegant way. The benefits are such that you only notice them when they're not there: the solution helps people make better, more informed, wiser decisions in situations when you have to think fast and respond quickly. Check it out if have time. It's an interesting read. You can find it here.
Marlon Machado 100000PEST firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  sametime ios meetings ipad mobile 4,149 Visits
We just released a new app: the IBM Sametime Meetings Viewer for iPad. It is available for download at the iTunes Store.
As with all Sametime mobile applications, this one requires a full-fledged Sametime infrastructure in the back end (we recommend moving up to 8.5.2 IFR 1). If you don't have that you can always point the app to Greenhouse.
Thanks to our partners at BelSoft AG for recording and publishing this video:
Those of you who saw it at Lotusphere 2012 have been waiting for it. Those of you who didn't will be as excited to know that the IBM Sametime Video Chat Widget for IBM Connections just came out today. It's a technology preview that provides an easy way to associate a Sametime audio/video session with an IBM Connections Community page.
The plug-in is available on developerWorks. You can find it here.
Marlon Machado 100000PEST email@example.com Tags:  analysts info-tech-research-group uc 3,060 Visits
Info-Tech Research Group just published its UC Vendor Landscape report, which ranks UC vendors and UC products based on various criteria. Their rankings go from Emerging Player to Market Pillar to Innovator to Champion. That's where we are:
We're sharing the honor with Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft and Siemens. Congratulations to them. Congratulations are in order as well to our partners Interactive Intelligence and ShoreTel for making the Innovator quadrant.
So, without further ado, we'll sing our song now:
Marlon Machado 100000PEST firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  unifiededge sametime social-communications social-business polycom 3,321 Visits
Here's a couple of videos showcasing what IBM's software for social business can do.
First, here's Sandy Carter doing an overview of a few interesting case studies in government as part of the Social Business Coffee Break series:
Sandy talks about the Joint Emergency Operations Center serving the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Texas, which is outfitted with IBM Sametime and UnifiedEdge's RadioConnect for Sametime to integrate real-time communications from over 40 agencies from the US Federal Government, the State of Texas and the local agencies from Tarrant County and the City of Fort Worth itself. This is one of the coolest projects we've ever been involved in and one that has brought a lot of attention to Sametime deployments in first-responder scenarios thanks to our partners from UnifiedEdge.
The second video showcases the awesome integration IBM's social business software, including Sametime, has with Polycom's REALPRESENCE platform. This is a very nice video that shows how it's done when it comes to integrating a real general-purpose platform like Sametime with Polycom's state-of-the-art technology.
It also shows how Sametime and Connections complement each other. You find the people you need using Connections and you reach out them using Sametime. I like to call this paradigm "Enable+Connect" as in enabling with Connections and connecting with Sametime:
Thank you Sandy, UnifiedEdge and Polycom. We couldn't have done it without you.
Marlon Machado 100000PEST email@example.com Tags:  lotuslive android social-communications social-business smartcloud tablet ls12 3,919 Visits
I think I've said many times here that we envision the next generation of Sametime to be heavily influenced by the tablet usability paradigm. We are spending lots of time studying what people do with tablets today, how the usability pattern will evolve in the near future and what new capabilities software programs will have to include in order to accommodate the transition from mouse-and-click to finger-and-gesture as the main interaction vehicle with the glass.
As part of that research I've gone tablet myself. I got me a very nice 10-inch tablet running Android 3.2 and I've been working on figuring out how it fits into my daily work routine. The first thing I did was install Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1, Lotus Traveler and the Lotus Symphony Reader. I haven't installed Connections yet but I will soon.
So far, I have to say I am equipped to go on a business trip without my laptop. The tablet gives me pretty much what I need with the exception of authoring documents and presentations. Authoring content is still easier to do, for now, on a laptop running a legacy operating system. Applications such as Symphony and MS Office are definitely designed for the mouse-and-click paradigm and it's very hard to use them when all you have is your finger.
I think this is a point-in-time issue that will get resolved soon. I know Apple already has an office suite called iWorks that allows you to create content, including presentations, on your iPad. I know there are at least two other office suites for iOS that have good potential. For Android there's QuickOffice Pro and OfficeSuite Professional, both of which allow you to create and edit MS Office documents. I haven't found a product that handles ODF, though.
I'm not stressing about not finding an office suite that I can run locally on my tablet, though. Storage is limited on a tablet and I wouldn't want to crowd it with lots of files that I may only need sporadically. I like the fact that the tablet forces me to narrow my context and helps me focus on what I need to work on. Instead of carrying my 500-GB hard drive with me (I thought about that), I can focus on just taking what I need--as opposed to my entire digital life--with me. I can upload just the files I need (and nothing else) onto the tablet's SD card (I got a 16-GB Class 10 card) and go.
There are a few "mainstay" files I always need ("What's New in IBM Sametime", "The IBM Sametime and SUT Roadmap", etc.). These are files that I'm updating constantly and it wouldn't make sense to have outdated copies on my tablet's SD card. The solution lies in the IBM SmartCloud for Social Business (LotusLive) Connector for Lotus Symphony. Whenever I update one of those files, I upload the new version to my file repository. That way, if all I'm carrying with me is my tablet, I can just log into my IBM SmartCloud for Social Business account and get what I need.
This brings me to what may turn out to be the utilization paradigm that will make tablets stick: cloud.I have to confess that before getting this tablet I hadn't found a mission-critical reason to make daily use of my IBM SmartCloud for Social Business account (I didn't even remember my password!). Now I don't think I can rely on my tablet without it. The most interesting thing is that I don't need a VPN client to have access to it. In the future, once IBM Docs supports Android, having an office suite will be a non-issue.
At this point the experience has been positive. I can do most of my work from my tablet and I could take measures to minimize the impact of the things I cannot do. I could, for instance, upload the 12-or-so GB worth of files sitting in my hard drive's My Documents library to my tablet's SD card if I have to. I could install a VPN client on my tablet and get to all the internal sites I don't have access to just yet, or I could get me one of those RDP apps that would allow me to access my laptop from my tablet over the Internet--as long as IBM IT is OK with me doing that.
This experience is also giving me valuable insight into how Sametime will fit into this equation. The dynamics of "current context", i.e., what's in the foreground, will change and, with it, how we experience situational awareness. We'll have to rethink what the idea of "presence" means, what kind of information becomes pertinent at a given time and whether it merits to be shown, and how we enable real-time communication among users and devices. It's challenging and interesting.
The most important point of all this is that, for the first time, there's a lightweight computing platform with enough potential to replace traditional PCs. Based on what I saw there were more tablets than laptops at Lotusphere this year. That's very encouraging.
This doesn't mean I no longer have a need for a PC; at least not yet. The one thing I still need my laptop for is to play Battlefield 2142 Northern Strike when I travel. I just don't do Angry Birds. I can't; I won't!
Now that Lotusphere 2012 is history it's time to take a look at what people are saying about it. Before most of us had even made it home from Orlando, the analyst community was already gearing up to comment on what they heard at Lotusphere. So far, the comments have been positive and encouraging. Here's a few that I found interesting:
Let's start with Frost and Sullivan. Rob Arnold's piece has an attention-grabbing title: Is IBM Backing Away from UC? The answer, of course, is no, and Rob gets to that conclusion very quickly when he states that
Leveraging a greater breadth and depth of its strengths, IBM is now placing the bulk of its emphasis on social business. For IBM, UC has become a component or a subset of capabilities within social business environments. Sametime’s IM and presence applications are powering rich communications, mobile and real-time capabilities within IBM’s flagship next-gen collaboration platform, Connections.
This is an important acknowledgement. We've been saying for a long time that social interaction patterns provide the natural context for people-to-people interactions; that we've been using them ever since humans learned to communicate verbally and that it's only natural that we should leverage their effectiveness in the enterprise. Integrating real-time communication channels (UC) into our social software is the way to do it.
Art Rosenberg writes in the UC Strategies Blog about the meaning of "Social Business" in What's in a Name? "UC", "Lync" and now "Social Business". The piece emphasizes the UC-enabled nature of our Social Business offerings as a leap forward in the evolution of UC.
Art actually makes that point one more time in a comment on Marty Parker's piece on the UC Strategies Blog: IBM Lotusphere 2012 - Socializing 'Social Business'. Marty provides a thorough report of the conference and highlights the main takeaways of our Social Business message: Reach, Engage, Discover, Act.
All three pieces hit the mark on identifying and highlighting the message we wanted to convey at Lotusphere 2012. I would, however, emphasize that the Reach, Engage, Discover, Act mantra works precisely because UC is an integral part of it. I would argue that, when put in this particular context, the term UC actually falls short and it may be time to come up with some other term that reflects the new normal more appropriately. We're already working on it.
Wow -- what a great Lotusphere! Thanks to all the customers and business partners who stopped by the user experience lab to offer feedback on Sametime.
Keep the comments coming!
If you're at Lotusphere, come find me in the UX lab (Asia 4) to vote on your most-wished-for enhancements for Sametime. Or if you're not at Lotusphere, post your ideas here:
Vote on the ideas you like the most, or enter your own!
Marlon Machado 100000PEST firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  sametime-8.5.2 security white-paper 3,031 Visits
IBM developerWorks has just published a brand new white paper titled "IBM Sametime 8.5.2 Security Features." The paper was written by Smriti Talwar, our security architect, with Anna Guri from our development team and Jonathan Crissey from our support team. Here's a summary:
Check it out. It's a good read. You can find it here.