Join IBM and IBM Business Partner ShoreTel for an informative luncheon and seminar program on
how to drive business value, improve productivity and reduce costs with affordable
and reliable unified communications. Learn how small and midsized businesses can leverage the enterprise- class capabilities of unified
communications through the ShoreTel on IBM Foundations unified communications appliance. There will be three seminars throughout September, and you can attend by registering online here.
Come see what the 8.5.1 release looks like on the Mac 10.6, Linux, and other popular desktop and mobile device environments.
Discover how the new Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.1
release provides support for additional client platforms and simplifies
See how to reduce calling costs with softphone, call management, and aggregated presence awareness.
Get a peek at what a real consistent user communications
experience looks like with a demonstration of telephony presence,
incoming call management, click-to-call, click-to-conference, and
Learn how to activate telephony features via administrator policies
Our friends over at IDoNotes and Plantronics are sponsoring a webcast this week. Tomorrow (Wednesday August 25) at 10am Central US time, please join them for How to Get the Most from your Sametime Client (A User's Perspective). Marie Scott and Tom Duff, authors of a book on this very
topic from Packt Publishing, will show you how you
can effectively collaborate with your colleagues and teammates both in
your organization and outside your organization by using the features of
Sametime. It's practical, down-to-earth, and most of all, fun! Registration is free.
As if the greatly improved administrative experience, user experience and overall business value from IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 weren't enough (hey, I had a lot of coffee this morning), you might want to also know that IBM has announced that as of September 30, 2011 (over a year from now), IBM will no longer be providing support for Sametime 7 and Sametime 7.5. This should give you, our esteemed clients, plenty of time to upgrade. And remember, if you're on Software Maintenance (and most of you already are), there is no charge to upgrade*: begin planning your upgrade now by starting with Upgrade Central or Planning for migration from an earlier release in the Sametime Information Center.
(*terms and conditions apply, see Announcement Letter for details. I had to say that or IBM Legal would get mad at me).
It was a varied week in UC news. As mentioned earlier this week, Doug Carolus and our friends over at NoJitter posted an excellent feature article on Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony.
We encourage you to read the post in detail, and I'm sure they would
like to hear what you have to say (registration required for comments).
Recently in Australia, Alistair Rennie participated in a live panel and webcast discussing the future of email. ZDNet published a recap (along with a second post of photos) of the panel highlighting Alistair's remarks positioning IBM as a thought leader in integrating analytics and social capabilities into collaboration. This is important from a Unified Communications standpoint because the increasing importance of measuring business value of all enterprise investments extends to UC: adoption rates, actual ROI on the investments made, and identifying usage patterns that open up new opportunities for integrations and use cases.
And finally, Processor Magazine published an article on steps enterprises should take when evaluating unified communications and collaboration solutions, including VoIP and UC systems. In a sidebar to the main article, John Del Pizzo provides specific recommendations for enterprises evaluating UC solutions:
IBM’s Del Pizzo stresses that enterprises should keep in mind their end goal when analyzing their VoIP and/or UC needs...“It’s important for enterprises to first have a strong understanding of where their UC/VoIP challenges lie,” says John Del Pizzo, program director for IBM’s Unified Communication & Collaboration Software group. “From speaking with customers, these are commonly identified as slow business processes and response times; expensive travel; and complex, disparate technology platforms.”
A shout out to Doug Carolus and our friends over at NoJitter, who put together an excellent Feature article on IBM Lotus Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony. Please do take the time to walk through this detailed review, and let them know what you think (and us, too!)
This week's IBM UC News roundup includes several articles on the heel of the CIO.com interview with Alistair Rennie we posted about earlier in the week. Reinforcing that story, FierceVoIP and Rethink Wireless published articles on IBM's unified collaborations strategy and offerings for the mobile market. Mobility is still very hot, with 4.1B mobile phone users worldwide (a 60% penetration) and an increasing percentage (although still small) of those are smart phones on higher-speed networks (ITU report from 2009). The effect of this shift to mobility on the way we work is already being felt.
A feature story in Australia's ARNnet focuses on the opportunities and challenges presented to IT teams when mobilizing an organization's workforce. In the article, IBM's Michael Handes discussing the benefits of social software in identifying knowledge workers and the future convergence of unified communications and mobility.
IT Jungle continued the coverage on the new features of Lotus Sametime 8.5.1, including support for Linux desktops, mobile phones, Web browsers, Notes, Outlook and Windows.
The Really Big News of the Week, IBM's intent to acquire Unica, might not at first blush seem related to Unified Communications. But with the increased market need for creating exceptional customer experiences, whether on the web or in all channels, comes a need for enterprises to not only analyze the traffic on their websites more effectively, but turn that insight into more meaningful and longer-lasting customer experiences. That includes the ability to interact with company representatives beyond e-mail or picking up the phone: rich text chat, audio and/or video chat, click-to-call, etc. Customer service representatives and the Call Center are only the first line of contact; they can't possibly answer every question, and customers are more than ever demanding faster (and smarter) responses. So more and more enterprises are going to be under more and more pressure to allow (encourage?) more and more of their employees to connect with customers directly. Unified Communications integrated with web portals and e-commerce seems to me at least a natural extension of the power and promise of UC beyond "traditional" information worker collaboration.
I don't know about you, but I for one will be glad to be rid of the all-too-deeply-buried webform "fill this out and we'll get back in touch with you shortly".
For those of you who attended Lotusphere or DNUG, you may have attended the highly regarded session on Sametime 8.5 installation by Frank Altenburg and Volker Juergensen.
Now Frank has published the next generation online version for you to use. Its posted here for anyone to play. The slides are also posted to download. http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/stwiki.nsf/dx/Sametime_8.5.1-From_Zero_to_Hero-Next_Generation
Here is a summary of the session
Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 setup can be fast, smooth, and easy when you know
what you are doing. The new server architecture of Lotus Sametime 8.5.1
offers so many more options to deploy that it is not easy to know where
to start. In this presentation, the presenters wanted to prove that it is
possible to create a proof of concept setup very quickly, They install
all the new Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 components: Lotus Sametime System
Console, Community Server, Proxy Server, Meeting Server, Media Server,
and the new Lotus Sametime Connect client. At the end of the
presentation, you can experience how to maintain and administer the
whole environment from the new Lotus Sametime System Console.
We hope you can benefit from this free training tool.
As one of the SametimeBlog managers, I'm always looking for more conversation opportunities with you, our readers. So in addition to our Business Partner Tuesdays and Friday Funnies sections, today I'm introducing a new, hopefully weekly every Friday, the IBM UC News Roundup. We'll bring you a summary of IBM- and Unified Communications-related stories in the press and blogosphere, and add our own thoughts as well.
Hopefully you find this new section valuable. As always, we thank you for making us part of your regular reading, and looking forward to your comments, questions, and conversation.
Although not technically in the week of August 2, the big story, of course, is today's article in CIO.com, "IBM to Accelerate Mobile Unified Communications". IBM continues to see Unified Communications, and mobility, as very important components of the collaboration market, and it was nice for our General Manager, Alistair Rennie, and Rob Ingram, our senior offerings manager, to talk to CIO Magazine about these trends and where IBM plays. Don Van Doren, a principal with Unicomm Consulting, had some nice things to add to the article as well:
"Van Doren also ranks IBM as being far ahead in its social networking software for business with Lotus Connections tied into presence and with its capabilities for mining information within the corporate network to enhance finding the right people for specific tasks. "They've been working on this four or five years," he says. "Cisco is just starting to do it...[and] IBM is aligned to do well in battling its primary competitor, Microsoft, [says Don Van Doren]"
And Alistair also linked in the coming 4G deployments as well:
"Over time, as businesses deploy 4G handhelds, IBM will fully support mobile collaboration "on the mobile device of choice" and treat the collaboration features as services, not a stack of available features but an always-available set of tools, Rennie said."
There were two stories we followed this past week. Following a blog post from Gartner’s Craig Roth on Project Northstar, IT Business Edge blogger Loraine Lawson has chosen to continue the discussion, focusing on Project Northstar as IBM’s “Grand Theory.” Overall, Lawson is supportive of the technology, particularly it's promise to integrate unified communications and other collaborative tools and capabilities. We, of course, whole-heartedly agree:
And this one is particularly nice, because it promises to integrate across unified communications, social software, mobile technology and rich media, Roth writes. IBM includes an even more exciting integration story among its five key NorthStar principles…”
UCStrategies published a podcast with IBM's Caleb Barlow discussing IBM Lotus Foundations and its integration with ShoreTel. A key element of providing unified communications to Small and Medium Business (SMB) is a focus on lower up-front investments in both capital and IT resources. The needs of SMBs might be similar to larger enterprises, but the resources are usually more constrained. The IBM Foundation for Smart Business program and products are exactly about that, and UC is definitely part of the mix:
...The Foundations appliance out of the box: it’s a file server, print server, web server, mail server, anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall, VPN, you get the idea... ...As IBM, we want to maintain an open relationship with all of our partners. ShoreTel is the first to have a solution available, but we have publicly announced that we’re also working on similar capabilities with Mitel, NEC, and BroadSoft...
We have just released the latest Lotus Sametime Advanced client plug ins that work with the Smatime 8.5.1 client. This works with the Sametime Advanced 8.0.1 server including latest hotfixes (note there is no new Sametime Advanced 8.5.1 server release). Detailed info is available in this technote
Notabale additions are Mac and Linux desktop clients, Windows 7 client support, support for Notes and Domino 8.5.1 and 8.5.2 (when it is delivered) and a plan to add support for zLinux servers for IM and Meetings features within approx 60 days. We have also updated the mobile clients to support Blackberry 5.0 OS and Windows mobile 6.5.
This week's Business Partner Tuesday is a day late, but if you saw our earlier post today, you'de know why :-)
Would you like to connect instantly with other members of the Lotus Community? Perhaps your favorite blogger? A presenter you saw at Lotusphere? A Lotus Business Partner? Or even an IBMer? Well the people running BleedYellow.com are helping make this a reality. Here's an easy how-to guide to set yourself up. I've already done it, so you can now connect with me via Sametime (say hi!).
BleedYellow is a public Lotus Connections site, run by IBM Business Partner Lotus911 (now GROUP). So the first thing you need to do, is go there and register. (the Register link is at the bottom left corner, as shown below):
Once you have an ID and PW on BleedYellow, you next go into your Lotus Sametime client, and add an additional community, allowing you to connect to both your company's Sametime server to chat with your coworkers, and the BleedYellow Sametime server to chat with people from all over the world (but you already knew that Sametime client can connect to multiple communities, didn't you...)
In Sametime: - Choose File - Manage Server Communities from the top menu. - Click Add New Server Community - On the Log In Tab, add the username that you registered at BleedYellow.com, and your password. * Note: Some people have told me that they use the email address they registered on BleedYellow with, not their username.
On the Server tab, enter im.bleedyellow.com as the Host Server, and 1533 as the Server community port.
Then click OK at the bottom. Now the last thing you have to do is add a group so you can see the people to chat with. Click on the New icon, and choose New Group:
Select Search for a public group (1), select the bleedyellow community (2), search for the group yellowbleeders, select it (4), and click OK.
We are pleased to announce (ok... re-announce) the availability of
Sametime Standard 8.5.1 and Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5. We
appreciate everyone's patience while we resolved a late breaking issue
in the release process. You should be able to download the new software
from Passport Advantage and PartnerWorld today, August 4th.
FYI folks. I'll be at IamLUG 2010 in Saint Louis tomorrow and Tuesday. Tomorrow at lunch I'm scheduled to do a presentation about the Sametime Proxy and the Sametime Proxy toolkit at 1:00 PM in Room D. Feel free to drop by if you're interested in the topic or just to say hello. I'll be at the conference until Tuesday afternoon.