We've always said we play well with others. We play especially well with our friends at Polycom. Here's what that looks like:
SES, a global satellite operator based in Luxemburg, has just deployed a large enterprise video infrastructure (56 video conferencing rooms across 22 global locations) powered by IBM Sametime and Polycom RealPresence. The solution leverages Polycom HDX room systems (including HDX 8000) and IBM Sametime to help over 1,300 employees from 22 locations work together and collaborate in a social environment.
The solution solves one of the problems we've set out to solve from the very beginning: help businesses minimize travel expenses. At SES, the savings so far amount to approximately 60% of what the cost would have otherwise been.
Another interesting thing here is the sheer size of the deployment (I'll say it again): 56 video conferencing rooms across 22 locations around the globe serving over 1,300 employees. Keep this in mind: this is not a chat infrastructure. This is an enterprise audio and video infrastructure. We definitely play well together, don't we?
You can find out more about this story here. Check it out.
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.
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.
Although it's after Labor Day here in North America, technically it's still summer until the 22nd this year. So join IBM, Polycom and Meridian IT to close out the summer with our "Get Social" Summer event at the Polycom Executive Briefing Center in Chicago.
Hear from industry leaders on socially-enabled businesses and the impact on the enterprise. Learn how IBM and Polycom are driving innovation for collaboration and helping enterprises become more responsive to their customers, partners and employees. Meridian IT will also be
presenting how value added services can be meaningfully deployed to help enterprises benefit from the changing business landscape. Click here to register
Here's a draft agenda (subject to change):
11:00am - 12:00pm: Registration and Lunch1
2:00pm - 2:00pm: Welcome, Overview of the Polycom and IBM Alliance, "Unified Communications, Socially Enabled Business and Changing Business Paradigms", review of Polycom and IBM Unified Communications Solutions
2:00pm - 2:30pm: Coffee Break
2:30pm - 3:15pm: Demo of Polycom Video Integration for IBM Social Business Applications
3:15pm - 4:00pm: The Value of Working with Meridian IT: "Creating a Socially Enabled Enterprise, Considerations and Implications"
4:00pm - 4:15pm: Closing Remarks, raffle for tickets to a special sporting event
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
At TeamPolycom 2011 last week, it was announced that IBM had won the Polycom Open Collaboration Network Partner of the year - North America - award! This is in recognition of our work as one of their key business partners, and of course of the great work our business development and product development teams have done. This is great recognition that IBM Sametime can be a first class participant in meetings using a Polycom MCU or a Polycom end point. The award comes with a nice trophy that we've taken a picture of, above. You can read more about the awards on Polycom's website here.
Two IBM business partners I wanted to highlight on this week's Business Partner Tuesdays post.
In the first, Bob Preston over at DiscussUC had an excellent post about Innovation - the Heart of the Matter in Unified Communications. In it, he discusses some of his thoughts coming out of a CIO virtual event hosted by Polycom. John Del Pizzo, our Program Director for Unified Communications Software, was one of attendees joining 60 CIOs from around the globe. Bob's key finding:
...my top take-away from today's event is that innovation is at the heart of the matter. Corporate leaders are beginning to radically rethink how to guide their companies into a new era of economic growth to maximize performance and stay ahead of the competition. Forward leaning executives with the passion to lead have a new opportunity to kick-start patterns of innovation within their organization to stimulate organizational transformation. Tapping the energy, enthusiasm, and power of human interaction to enable a culture of innovation is now THE business imperative for ALL organizations.
This very closely matches IBM's own findings in the 2010 CEO Study, where we found that CEOs of leading organizations are slowly but surely re-orienting their organizations towards growth, and that innovation driven by collaboration and closer customer relationships is core to many of their transformation efforts. As Bob quotes John from the event:
“Collaboration is what we do on daily basis, it’s just what we do, and it needs to be seamless," commented John Del Pizzo of IBM. "Integrating desktop and mobile devices, UC enabled collaboration becomes ubiquitous and will drive transformative and innovative work flow environments.”
Secondly, my fellow blogger Marlon Machado has just published a joint whitepaper with Brad Herrington, Product Marketing Manager at Interactive Intelligence, Building Customer Centricity through Expertise-Based Interactions (free registration required). This paper discusses the emergence of customer centricity, driven by growing customer sophistication and empowerment across geographies and market segments. It also discusses the need for large and small businesses to embrace customer centricity and to take steps to internalize it as the driving force behind business processes and policies. Not surprisingly, it ties into the same innovation and customer-centric themes talked about at the CIO virtual event.
Its big day for Sametime partner news. Polycom has announced the availability of the integration of their video conferencing solutions and Sametime UC product. The integrated offering allows users to use their Sametime 8.5.1 desktop video clients to join Polycom video conferences along with other room system and telepresence users.
"Unified communications and collaboration is about making it easy for
people to find, connect and collaborate with others," said Joseph
Burton, chief strategy and technology officer, Polycom. "Polycom's
integration with the IBM UC2 environment puts our powerful, productivity
enhancing video collaboration tools just one-click away within the
Lotus applications that millions of people use every day. This extends
the value of customers' UC investments and drives greater ROI."