#ucoms #socbiz This week, several IT industry blogs reported on the increased focus around unified communications as organizations embrace social computing in the workplace. In the first, IT Business Edge discusses in "Social Networking and Unified Communications: Catalysts for Change", the impact of unified communications on social business and cloud computing:
What Barlow is driving at is that it won’t be too long before all of these technologies combine to fundamentally change the way we all work.
The barriers to enterprise social software adoption are far more cultural than technical. Internal social networking tools make for great demos, but unified communications (UC) pros often struggle to define what problem enterprise social software is trying to solve.
#ucoms #socbiz Before announcing back at Lotusphere 2011 a new compliance solution for IBM Connections, Actiance had been an active IBM Sametime business partner for some time, specifically with their Actiance Vantage for Sametime solution. The addition of IBM Connections to the Actiance Vantage family continues to generate news, with The VAR Guy publishing an August 9 story on Actiance's plans to build a U.S. channel for its compliance software: "The VAR Guy: Social Media Compliance Vendor Builds U.S. Channel".
The collaboration between Actiance and IBM, including integration with Sametime and Connections, is highlighted:
Actiance also partners with IBM, a long-time ally. The companies have been working together in conjunction with IBM’s Sametime unified communications software. More recently, IBM announced plans to offer Actiance’s technology with IBM Connections, a social software product targeting businesses. The resulting product, Vantage for IBM Connections, will let customers archive social media content.
Blair Pleasant over at UC Strategies recently blogged about a Focus.com IBM and Polycom webcast on video communications in the enterprise. My personal experience has been similar to hers, specifically video collaboration can be both a positive reinforcement AND negative reinforcement of good collaboration behavior and outcomes. On the negative reinforcement side:
One of the strongest arguments in favor of video calls is that
participants are less likely to multitask and do other things while on
the call. If someone is looking right at you, you're probably not going
to be checking your email, playing Angry Birds, or eating your lunch.
And on the positive reinforcement side:
Communication is enhanced. Using video lets you see if someone is
confused, bored, or angry, so you can modify your message and
presentation. Interactions are more personal, which helps to enhance the
quality of relationships between the participants.
Negative reinforcement isn't a bad thing - social mores are just as often about "don't do so-and-so...it's bad manners" as they are about "do so-and-so, it's good manners". Video collaboration is no exception. Personally, I've experienced both the positive and negative reinforcement of good behavior both in work meetings from video meetings. At work we've been (of course!) using video inside a Sametime 8.5.2 meeting for regular weekly meetings, and our team's focus has increased significantly in those meetings. And I've also experienced it outside of work. My personal mobile device is an iPhone 4 and lately I've been using FaceTime to communicate with my spouse, who's recently been in New York while I've been back home in San Diego. The interactions we've had via video on mobile has been leaps and bounds more satisfying than a pure voice call, making the 3000 miles seem a lot less distant.
That personal experience is enlightening. It reminds me that even in business situations, we're still HUMAN. We still want -- need -- visual communication to establish trust and maintain deeper relationships (note that I'm omitting an important conversation on the special challenges faced by the vision-impaired). If Trust is the new currency, then video collaboration will surely be an increasingly important tool in the enterprise.
Please join IBM and IBM Business Partner Polycom Tuesday June 21, 10am Pacific, for a free live webcast (registration required), "Becoming a Social Business with Unified Communication". In
this webinar, UCStrategies experts will
discuss how Unified Communications with visual collaboration help
medium-sized companies (100 - 1000 employees) achieve "Location
Liberation" and more effectively communicate both internally and
Today we released Sametime 8.5.2 to market via electronic GA, about 10 days earlier than we originally indicated in our announcement a few weeks ago. The decision to post early was driven by the early completion of our last round of tests as well as a strong demand from our clients for the code. Details on the system requirements can be found here.
I want to congratulate our Development and Test teams on Sametime 8.5.2. We're confident this latest release will be well-received and we definitely look forward to your feedback (whether here or through the Sametime Forum on IBM developerWorks).
Sametime, since the 7.5 days, has allowed users to access its basic presence and chat features from a variety of mobile devices. It allows us mobile people to not only reach others in an effective manner (it seems I am constantly getting off a plane and seeing who is available to me right now to deal with whatever issues are top of mind). But it also gives others more accurate information about when and how I can be reached... making presence a universal dial-tone, rather than one that is accurate only when I am at my desktop.
Sametime 8.5.2 extends native presence/chat to new platforms...specifically the great variety of Android devices that are sweeping the marketplace and filling our pockets and briefcases. And you Apple fan boys and girls (I am now officially one, having gotten my first Mac and iPhone within the last month) will see enhanced capabilities on iOS in the near future...watch this space!
But Sametime 8.5.2 goes beyond adding Android and paving the way for iOS devices. It is the beginning of a whole new approach to our increasingly mobile world. For example, we mobile folks can not only do IM functions, but Sametime meetings can now be attended from the mobile devices -- first from Blackberry, with Android and iOS to follow (you just have to experience a Sametime Web Conference on an iPad!)...watch this space!
With Sametime 8.5.2 we even have SUT on mobile devices. Previously, your mobile phone could certainly be a preferred device, with calls being routed to it by Sametime-contextual rules (geographic location, availability, etc.). And you could move calls to you mobile phone (and back again) from any other device. And you could even click-to-call someone and have your mobile phone be the one you use to talk and listen. However, you could not initiate an SUT call from the mobile phone (this was possible only from the Sametime desktop client). With the Sametime 8.5.2 native Android client, SUT users can initiate a call to any Sametime contact, Android contact, or phone number. This call is actually handled by SUT, ringing back the caller on the mobile phone and then completing the call to the other party. The advantages are: The caller shows as "on the phone" to other Sametime users The incoming caller ID shown is the caller's SUT unified number (not the mobile carrier number) Enterprise dial plans can be used for least-cost routing and roaming/toll charge avoidance
Of course, if you are interested in SUT calling capabilities on iOS...watch this space!
Finally, there are a couple of features of the Sametime 8.5.2 native mobile client that are particularly significant. These include using the phone's GPS for (optionally) showing location, converting incoming text chats to speech (e.g., when you are driving), and taking a picture with the mobile phone and including it in the chat you have with another Sametime user. This last capability, while not earth-shattering in itself, may be the most significant one we have ever delivered in Sametime mobile. That is because historically our mobile apps tried to emulate what you do on the desktop...taking into account mobile form factor and connectivity. The add photo to chat feature is the first one that rather than taking a desktop collaboration feature and adding it to mobile, takes a mobile feature and uses it for collaboration. This indeed is the hallmark of the new era of mobile UCC.
Wainhouse Research invites all end users to take the 2011 Unified Communications end user survey. They use this data to help vendors and service providers bring the communications and collaboration products and services you want and need. Help yourself and the entire industry by taking a few minutes complete this survey.
There's a nice quid pro quo as well: end users who complete the survey will be emailed an invitation to download highlights of the survey results. And in addition to the satisfaction of contributing your perspectives, they are offering TEN $50 amazon.com gift certificates to be awarded separately in a random drawing to those completing this questionnaire.
The survey includes a few quick demographics questions and then asks a series of short questions about your organization's thinking with respect to deploying unified communications. Completing the survey should take between 5 - 8 minutes. You can complete the survey online here.
12pm ET: I then have to whisk him (and Jeff Schick, who's speaking at the Plantronics event) uptown to the new IBM Client Center at 590 Madison Avenue, where Caleb and Jeff will be speakers in an important IBM social business and unified communications announcement, "Engage your broader business network with IBM".
2pm ET: And if that wasn't enough, right after that Caleb will be recording a live webcast. Brought to you by InformationWeek, The BrainYard, and IBM, join us for a 60 minute webcast, "Honing Your Social Antenna: Improve Effectiveness and Reduce Costs by Becoming a More Social Business", Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at 2pm ET.
industries, the challenges for managers and leaders today are clear: how
can I employ social collaboration in a way that creates business value
and not chaos? How can my people make the right connections easily, so
they don't waste time and money looking for the person or insight they
need to do their jobs? How do I evolve my organization in a controlled
way, avoiding pitfalls and mistakes in today’s rapidly changing
landscape? Join Caleb for a
discussion on how savvy businesses are honing their social "antenna" in
order to better see, hear, and sense changing market conditions. Free registration is here.
I think after this week, I'm going to give Caleb a break from any new speaking engagements, at least for a few days.
***Update*** 11 AM ET: In between the big launch announcements, you might want to catch the pre-game show. Lisa Harris, Sametime Offering Manager, will be the guest on the idoNotes Podcast. Join live at: http://tinyurl.com/4yd3lxs.
Before you listen in to IBM's social business announcement later at noon, listen in as IBM joins Plantronics earlier that morning, live at the New York Stock Exchange for a global webcast. Plantronics will be announcing the latest wave of groundbreaking audio solutions and our specially designed Enterprise Call control software plug in v2.0 for Sametime that further enhances IBM’s Social Business agenda .
Social Business has to be engaging. It is about connecting people in a way that is meaningful for all. Join Plantronics CEO Ken Kannappan -- supported by our very own Jeff Schick, Vice President of Social Software -- as they share insights into how businesses everywhere from anywhere can just simply communicate.
On May 18, Plantronics also celebrates 50 years of innovation (happy birthday!). Tune into Smarter Communications - Wednesday May 18, 10am EDT. Visit www.plantronics.com/launch to sign up for a reminder Webcast Event email.
And Plantronics has also introduced a Sounds for Sametime Plantronics Voice Pilot, new call control software, and has the latest UC headset for free – designed especially for Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony. As my friend's aunt used to say: "Such a deal!".
On May 18th,
IBM will lay out the next set of considerations for clients on the
journey to become a Social Business. Please join us for a live broadcast from the new IBM Client Center in New York City.
You're invited to participate via LiveStream at ibm.com/social. And if you can't make it live, don't worry! It will be available for on demand replay right after the event, again from ibm.com/social.
Organizations that successfully transform into a Social Business can reap exceptional benefits to:
deepen customer relationships
drive operational effectiveness
optimize the workforce.
activating networks of people within and beyond your 'company'
boundaries, Social Businesses gain insight from customers, partners, and
employees to anticipate and capture opportunities, creating business
value. Isn't it time you considered how to ENGAGE YOUR BROADER BUSINESS
Join us as we announce new
voice and video collaboration capabilities,new
listening and monitoring tools, and new cloud collaboration enhancements, all designed to help organizations cost effectively
hone their social 'antenna' and quickly respond to market demands. Our
announcement event begins at 12:00 noon eastern and lasts for one hour. Speakers include (subject to change):
Alistair Rennie, General Manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions,
Caleb Barlow, Director, Unified Communications and Collaboration
a live demonstration by Ted Stanton, IBM Collaboration Expert
Steve White, CEO, UnifiedEdge, an IBM Business Partner
a world of incremental improvements designed to wring the last drops of
efficiency out of established business processes, becoming a Social
Business offers a rare opportunity to achieve step change improvements
that impact growth, efficiency, innovation and competitiveness.
Constellation Research recently published a report, "Best Practices: Demystifying The Cost Structure for UC Solutions", by Elizabeth Herrell. This report identifies how leading vendors price their UC solutions and
identifies what is included as core and optional for leading UC
vendors. It also includes some positive comments about the IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration solution and our pricing model. We encourage you to take a look (subscription required).
Following up to our earlier post from UC Summit 2011 linking to Caleb Barlow's podcast interview, the folks over at UC Strategies have now posted
IBM's Tuesday Keynote Session. Caleb talks about some of the key trends
that are impacting the Unified Communications marketplace, and how UC
enables you to become a more social business. Your feedback is always
Not only am I catching up from Enterprise Connect 2011, but also from another excellent Unified Communications industry event that IBM attended recently, the UC Summit 2011. Much like Enterprise Connect and Lotusphere, we remembered to bring our video cameras to record some video of IBM Business Partners, and industry pundits, on what they were up to at the Summit, and what was on their minds when it came to IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions and IBM Sametime. Here's a few videos for your viewing pleasure.
Cleaning up through some leftover actions from the excellent Enterprise Connect 2011 event a month ago, I found some videos taken by our irrepressibly upbeat Brent Wolfe, Worldwide Business Development Executive for Unified Communications. He had the wherewithal to bring his portable video camera and captured a few IBM Business Partners showcasing their technologies on the Expo Show Floor. I just posted them to YouTube and embedded them here, in no particular order.