It has been just over a month since we released Sametime 9, and we thought it would be good to reflect on what is resonating the best with our customers. For this post, I will focus on the new user experience, and provide a few teasers of what Sametime has to offer...
First, I have to say that our IBM Design team went to great lengths to provide a simplified user experience that takes advantage of the latest design innovations in the mobile space. This resulted in a modern interface that is also very consistent across the rich clients, the browser and the mobile applications. This is valuable considering that not many people are tied to a single device nowadays.
Beyond the overall new look and feel, a visual enhancement that may catch your eye is how your personal information is now being displayed succinctly at the top of the contact list.
This is an implicit reminder of how you look like to others, so you can keep this information more closely up to date. And allow your colleagues to more effectively communicate (or not) with you . It is also nice not to get more friendly reminders that your status still stays that you are "at lunch" when starting a presentation to your board... No more excuse, no menus to navigate, just type over the status or change your location...
Your communication apps. are now accessible - with one click - from the left navigator pane of your contact list.
So you can quickly switch to your meetings, or other built-in social capabilities. And it is not just for Sametime capabilities: partner (ex: voice mail) or custom business applications can easily be added to the navigator, thanks to the extensibility that is characteristic of the Sametime eclipse platform. And you can even rearrange the layout through drag and drop. The added bonus: there is more real estate for your content in the left pane...
Instant messaging is also a more powerful experience with context sensitive actions surfaced so I can quickly start group chats, meetings, instant desktop shares, screen captures, and more ... with just one click.
And if someone has an urgent message to me, alerts with the number of notifications (in red) will remind me of this communication.
There is so much control in meetings...
Change your presence, record the meeting, change permissions, create and view reports, .... It's hard to believe that so much is also available from the browser. It's about control and convenience.
Another nice touch in a meeting is the ability to use thumbnails to skip slides in a presentation (or pages in a document) beyond what is being shared.
So you can quickly jump to the right content, and not waste time.
Undoubtedly, the Sametime 9 interface is a radical change and has been getting rave reviews. But what will matter the most are all these little changes (and more) that make the difference in the day-to-day usage of your communication tools. Enjoy...
I'm happy to announce that the new IBM Sametime Widgets for IBM Connections are available for download from the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog in Greenhouse. As you know this is a new way for us to distribute new capabilities and we're very excited about these particular offerings.
As promised, we're delivering three widgets: Video Chat, Chat Rooms and Meeting Rooms. These widgets are designed to work in the context of Connections Communities. They bring Sametime audio and video, persistent chat rooms and meeting rooms to community members right from the IBM Connections user interface.
This is one more step on our quest to offer close integration with IBM Connections. As you all know we started with Sametime Meetings integration with Connections Files on IBM SmartCloud and on mobile clients. We also provide integration with Connections Profiles on Sametime mobile clients. Well, this is yet another milestone in our roadmap. There's more to come in the future.
In the meantime, check the widgets out, let us know what you think and don't hesitate to ping us if you run into any issues with them. The nice thing about distributing through the Solutions Catalog is that we can update them as often as needed.
#ucoms As you are hopefully aware, we made many enhancements in Sametime 8.5.2 that help you collaborate more effectively and easily with colleagues outside your firewall. Sametime 8.5.2 browser-based meetings with audio
and video can help you build deeper relationships with customers and business partners, eliminate
expensive monthly fees from hosted meeting services, and reduce the need for audio conferencing, voicemail, and even travel. If those weren't reason enough to buy now, here's one more.
For a limited time, the commercial IBM Passport Advantage® Relationship
Suggested Volume Prices (RSVP) and Passport Advantage Express® Suggested Retail Price (SRP) for
selected eligible new IBM Sametime Standard
for Extranet Processor Value Unit and Sametime Advanced Extranet Processor Value
Unit products have been reduced by 75%. This means it's now more cost-effective than ever to experience rich online collaboration with customers, partners, vendors and more.
Orders must be received by IBM on or after August 2, 2011 but no later than December 31, 2011. This discount is available worldwide except in Japan.
***UPDATED 2011-08-12*** For a list of eligible products, and additional details, restrictions, applicability, and all the standard legal boilerplate fine-print, please refer to the specific links provided below:
On behalf of the entire Sametime team, I am pleased to announce that Sametime 8.5 will be available for download on December 22nd. Happy Holidays!
IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5
represents the next generation of unified communications and collaboration
software. As you can see, we've packed in quite a bit into this release:
A new online meeting experience that is integrated into the IBM Lotus Sametime Connect
client. Join a meeting with a single click. Easily invite others by dragging
their names from the contact list. Accept meeting invitations with a single
click. Upload meeting materials via simple drag and drop.
New zero-download, browser-based chat and meeting clients that extend
the desktop experience to wherever the user is working.
A new standards-based audio and video infrastructure that enables more seamless interoperability
with third party audio and video conferencing systems.
New audio and video codecs that provide higher quality native voice and
video services for a more compelling collaborative experience out-of-the-box.
New Web 2.0 APIs that let developers embed Sametime capabilities into Web sites
and applications so users switch context less.
A new, browser-based Apple iPhone chat client, support for the Blackberry
Storm, and an improved mobile client for Microsoft® Windows® Mobile devices.
New social views that make it easier to find the people you collaborate
with the most.
Deeper integration with Microsoft and Lotus products
A new System Console that centralizes infrastructure configuration, deployment,
management, and policy management for all Sametime services.
We'll be exploring all of these capabilities in the new year... but Sametime 8.5 is really about simplicity. Simplicity promotes adoption and adoption creates return on investment. Ask yourself these questions: How often do you loose the first ten minutes of a meeting providing instructions on how to log into the web conference? Have you invested in video conferencing systems that sit unused because no one knows they're there or how to use them? Do you want to deliver unified communications services into the applications your employees already use? Do you have a mix of communication and collaboration systems that are difficult to use, isolated and underutilized? If so, Sametime 8.5's unified user experience and open integration can help make UC simple for users, leverage those existing investments and drive real business value.
For years, Lotus Notes has included a basic version of Sametime. It provides simple presence and text chat within the Notes / Domino environment. For online meetings, voice, video, file transfers, screen captures, mobile clients, browser clients, the gateway for public IM federation, etc, etc, etc, users needed a license to Sametime Standard or Advanced. Yet, for some reason, we never had an easy upgrade path in place. Now, we do.
Buried in the Sametime 8.5 Announcement Letter are these new part numbers:
Lotus Sametime Standard Extension from Sametime Limited Entitlement (D0CCALL) (D0CC9LL)
Lotus Sametime Advanced Extension from Sametime Limited Entitlement (D0CCBLL)
They let Notes users 'extend' their Notes licenses with Sametime Standard or Advanced capabilities at a discounted price. While the part numbers are in the Sametime 8.5 Announcement, they
can be used for Sametime Standard 8.0.x or Advanced 8.0.x as well. (Just to be clear, these are just for Notes users and you can only extend the number of Notes licenses you have on active maintenance. For users without Notes, you need a regular Standard or Advanced license.)
But, there you go Notes customers, upgrade to Sametime Standard or Advanced today!
* December 16, 2009 update: Corrected Standard Extension part number.
We have great news for you today. Over the week-end, we enhanced IBM SmartCloud for Social Business with a brand new capability: audio-video calling.
First, let’s start with a quick reminder on what you were able to experience in the IBM cloud over the past few month. SmartCloud users have been able to chat with other users, transfer files between each other, and – my personal favorite – they can dynamically select and share a portion of their desktop. So, if I want to quickly show you any part of my desktop, I can do it in one click. And I could perform all of these actions just using a browser or a mobile device.
With this latest update, we are now adding one-to-one audio-video calling to instant messaging. How this works is very simple. Let’s imagine that you and I are starting a chat (of course, with a very polite “hi…”). You will now see two new buttons in your chat window: one to start an audio-video call, and one to start an audio-only call. After you click on the video button, I can accept the request, and both of us can see each other in a quality video call.
And if you - or I - would like to skip the camera – trust me there are many times when I am not ready for it – then we can just talk to each other. From computer to computer. Simple. For that, we both just need a browser.
The mobile client (iOS or Android) will soon be available in your favorite app. store. We will let you know in this blog when it is available for download.
So is this a big deal ?
Oh... Yes… We believe that the use of video is critical to collaboration and social. There are many situations where a quick talk, or engaging in a video conversation, is much more efficient that a text-based chat. Every time you need to show something real (as opposed to virtual…), a whiteboard, a paper-based drawing, or a piece of high-tech equipment, a video is worth a thousand words (and even less when you have to type all these words on your tiny phone).
And there are so many other ways to leverage quality video when you need to better communicate with someone else: for an interview, or for a 1-1 meeting with your new boss... Seeing someone is key to establishing trust, or not…
So, if you want to get a first-hand experience at this new video experience, here is a video interview that was recently recorded.
There is one more SmartCloud enhancement that I will cover in my next blog. For now, go ahead and jump on the cloud to try this new browser-based video experience.
On behalf of the entire IBM Unified Communication & Collaboration organization, I am pleased to introduce IBM Sametime 8.5.2 (Standard, Advanced and SUT). This is an absolutely jam packed release that continues to deliver against our "UC2" vision. More importantly, this release helps position Sametime as a critical part of your Social Business Platform... making it possible to find, reach and collaborate with your colleagues, customers and partners when and how it is most beneficial.
Here's an overview of whats new in this release:
New in Audio / Video (av):
Native and third-party audio and video in browser-based online meetings. Sametime 8.5 made it easy to access meetings through the Connect client or through a browser. Now we've added audio video to the browser experience. You can leverage our own native capabilities (up to 20 people with switched video) or use third party audio, video conferencing and telepresence systems for more robust capabilities. Either way, all it takes is a a small browser plug-in (2 mb).
Standard-based Network Address Translation (NAT) support and Firewall traversal for Audio & Video. This bit of infrastructure makes it easy to use av with customers, partners and anyone outside of your network.
Bandwidth management tools to protect the network by managing audio and video usage. Protect your mission critical applications by controlling how much bandwidth is allocated to av overall, how much is allocated to different classes of users and locations and politely prevent av sessions from connecting if there is inadequate bandwidth.
Support for dual Telephone Conferencing Service Provider Interface (TCSPI) adapters. This enables simultaneous integration with multiple audio and video conferencing systems and gives users the choice of which makes the most sense for them.
New in Mobility:
A new Sametime client for Google Android devices Text to speech reads you incoming messages, embed images in Sametime chats, update your location through the phone's GPS and initiate SUT calls.
A new Sametime Meeting client for Research In Motion (RIM) Blackberry devices
New in Telephony:
SUT Lite Client License An easy way to get started down the UC path, this new license turns your Sametime Connect client into a simple softphone. It requires minimal configuration (a SIP trunk from the Sametime Media Manager) to make or receive voice or video calls.
Intelligent number recognizers within the chat window. Sametime will now recognize phone numbers sent to you via instant message and let you click on them to dial.
Active speaker notification in ad-hoc conference calls
SUT Dialer on Google Android devices Change your preferred SUT device and initiate SUT calls while mobile. Call recipients will see your unified number and other Sametime users will see when you are on the phone.
New in Sametime Advanced
An infrastructure refresh that improves both scalability and deployability. Sametime Advanced helps you interact with communities of users (for example, your IBM Connections Communities) in real time. A great way to tap into experts you don't personally know right when you need them.
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.
Thanks for all the positive feedback on the Sametime 8.5 Meetings demo! It seems I've tapped some latent demand. Yes, we will be making these available on IBM.com as soon we clear the posting requirements. In the meantime, IBM'ers can download them from our internal Connections site (see my Files area). When the rest of them are done, we'll bundle them up and post a collection publicly.
Savings Bank, one of Finanz Informatik's many customers, just unveiled a brand new service they call Online Chat that allows customers to communicate with their financial advisors. The service is based on the IBM Sametime Web Chat client and it integrates with the bank's Interactive Service Platform developed by Finanz Informatik. This new service is yet another branch of the multi-channel customer service infrastructure Savings Bank has set up for its customers. It all runs out of the call center. It's easy to use, and it's already proving to be very effective. Take a look:
Don't worry if you don't speak German.
Congratulations to our friends at Finanz Informatik. This is a great implementation and a mighty fine example of what IBM Sametime can do. Congratulations also to Savings Bank. I'm sure their customers will be very pleased with the new service.
Over the past couple years in my role as Product Manager for Rich Media in Sametime , I’ve been excited about the great new video capabilities we were introducing in Sametime 9 and the business value the continuous presence experience could bring to our customers. However, I must confess that I was less than enthusiastic about using it myself. Certainly not the endorsement you would expect from the Product Manager – but hear me out.
Like many people, I don’t particularly like being on video. Maybe it’s due to feeling self-conscious or maybe it’s just a generational thing. Face it, I’m not only over the hill – but I’ve made a good start down the other side! However, sometimes in life you’ve got to do things you’re not comfortable doing – and as Product Manager for Rich Media, this was one of those times.
I started using our new video platform as soon as it was ready – okay, even before it was ready. In the beginning, the main purpose was testing. We would initiate a video call, wave at each other, ask the proverbial question “can you hear me?”, and hang up shortly thereafter. We were still falling back to telephone calls and dialing into an IBM conference bridge for most of our discussions.
As we got into the beta stage, within our Product Management team, we started using it more frequently for real conversations. The discussion might be as adhoc as “Are you seeing this behaviour in the Sametime 9 client?” – but instead of simply IM’ing or making a Sametime Unified Telephony call, we actually initiated an AV call. With the Sametime 9 Connect client, it’s a single click to escalate a group chat into a multi-way video call.
It wasn’t long before we were using Sametime 9 Meetings with AV for our regular team meetings. I would typically undock my video window to move it to my second monitor, allowing me to maximize the shared content pane on my laptop screen (perhaps another generational thing...). As a team that’s distributed across the US and Canada, we don’t “see” each other regularly. With video, the experience became more personal - we had a chance to see each other’s workspaces, we learned who talked with their hands, and we were able to quickly see when someone was in agreement or possibly confused. Most importantly, our interactions became more engaged.
Like many people in other organizations, IBMers are guilty of multi-tasking. When talking on the phone – or participating in an audio conference call – it’s common to try to respond to that urgent email or polish up that slide deck needed by the end of day. It takes resolve to ignore everything else – and truly focus on the current topic and conversation. I found continuous presence video can quickly have a big impact on reducing the multi-tasking and improving the focus in the discussion and result in more effective meetings. There are a couple reasons - first by seeing the speaker and other participants, one’s attention is drawn to the meeting and visual cues and body language become part of the communication. The other reason? Well when one is on video, one is less likely to multi-task as others on the call will detect the lack of attention. In some ways, video is an added dose of resolve!
John Del Pizzo and I started using Sametime 9 video for our weekly 1x1. The more we used video, the more natural it became – and the experience was much like we were sitting across the table from each other.
We even conducted our Sametime 9 Analyst Briefings on the Sametime 9 Beta platform in IBM Greenhouse using video. The new browser support allowed analysts to join from their Mac or Windows machines as guests. After installing the Sametime plug-in, the analysts were able to participate in the continuous video experience with John, Kramer, and me. With Sametime 9, Mac users can choose to use Apple Safari or Mozilla Firefox – and Windows users can choose between Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome. The new browser support combined with the new built-in extranet model also enables Sametime customers to include external participants in video meetings.
The new video capabilities in Sametime 9 are something you need to experience! I’ve provided personal examples of the value it can bring, but don’t take my word for it. A recent survey by Polycom and Wainhouse is worth reviewing (find it here: http://tinyurl.com/nfbceve). A couple key points to note from this survey. First, the biggest value most respondents attributed to video was the ability to improve productivity and to increase the impact of discussions. Second, the survey showed that those users that use video conferencing are likely to use it on a daily or weekly basis.
Clearly, my experience supports that second point. Once someone begins to use video, even a skeptical user like me, the value of the experience quickly overcomes the hesitation. Eventually, even I stopped glancing at the preview window – and put my focus on the other video participants – and the “real face to face communication”.
Let me share a few observations from my personal experience with Sametime 9 video in IBM.
Don’t underestimate the experience of interacting “face to face” with your globally distributed organization!
Initiating a Sametime AV call is easy and quick! You will not have time to swap that heavy metal t-shirt you’re wearing for that light blue button down shirt hanging in your closet, so think ahead.
You never know which executive or customer may be on the other end of that “video call” invitation you accept (… in your role as Product Manager for Rich Media)… dress appropriately.
If you are someone who likes to pace while you are on a call, you may want to invest in a wide angled camera for your laptop.
It’s amazing how many people wear baseball caps at their desks!
I will be following up in the next few weeks with some additional entries about the Rich Media capabilities in Sametime 9, so please check back. If you’re curious about what’s coming on our mobile platforms to support these new video capabilities – see Marc Pagnier’s post earlier this week which shared a video with some sneak previews – and stay tuned on this blog for more details coming soon!
Hopefully, you had the opportunity to attend yesterday's Social Business launch event. (If not, here's a link to the replay.) The theme was "Reinvent work with the right platform for social business" and I am hoping that you are now - even more - convinced of the value of the IBM social business portfolio. Sure, I would not have minded if the presentations had been sprinkled with a few more mentions of our products, e.g. "Sametime 9 is awesome" or "Sametime 9 is the most important Sametime release EVER" , etc. ... but as we heard yesterday, it's not about the technology, it is about how we use it to transform our business...
My personal favorite from this event was a presentation by Lane Masterson from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, who provided a very compelling testimony about the usage of Sametime in his organization. Sametime has become "the primary method of informal communication". Weekly face-to-face meetings that used to be costly and irregularly attended are now becoming more collaborative and efficient, through the use of video conferencing. All of this while reducing travel costs and productivity losses. "Every desktop has become a virtual video-conferencing room". Impressive presentation altogether.
And if you have time, don't forget to check some great stats on their site (random fun fact: it is impressive that over 73% of Australian households have broadband access)
What we also saw yesterday are great demo snippets from Suzanne Livingston and Luis Benitez who provided a small window into what a perfect "day in the life" could be. That is for someone lucky enough to be using the IBM product portfolio, where one can seamlessly flow from social collaboration to ... social communications (with Sametime 9). After these teasers, John Del Pizzo followed up with a breakout session ("Drive business results with the new Sametime 9") on the modern state of communications (Simple, Smart, Social, Secure) and a deeper dive on the new capabilities of Sametime 9.
So what is new in Sametime 9 ?
1. A modern look-and-feel ... with a new interface that reflects the latest mobile design techniques, and an end-to-end user experience that optimizes the flow of how users communicate.
Does not it make sense to enjoy a great experience.... consistent across the devices that you use throughout the day ?
2. A best-of-breed HD audio-video experience with continuous presence for more engaging collaboration.
Don't you think that the breakout session from this morning with John's video was much more compelling than a set of narrated slides ?
3. A very simple all-inclusive offering structure with a built-in extranet model (see previous posts from William Kulju).
No other server, client or device access licenses, and no hidden pre-requisites for other client or server components. It is that simple.
4. And ... even tighter integration into the industry's leading enterprise social networking platform (IBM Connections).
And so much more ...
If you are dying to learn more about Sametime 9... don't worry... we are planning to dive more deeply into some key areas over the next few weeks in this blog. Just to whet your appetite, here are a few teasers. Julie Reed will provide more specifics on the video capabilities and start peeling back the onion (layers) to better understand video standards. Marlon Machado will provide more information on new product features that really matter. We will also shine the light on two critical areas ... mobile and social ... where we want to demonstrate our market leadership.
So come back.. often...
As we are getting hold of these video vignettes of today's event, we will share the links as comments to this blog post.
In case you missed the tweeting a few weeks ago, you should know that a new cloud offering for Unified Communications was launched by IBM (it's us) on April 16th. Under the name "IBM SmartCloud Unified Communications Dedicated", this offering delivers a complete communications suite from a private cloud. This solution is built on enterprise-grade software components, such as: feature rich telephony, instant messaging and presence from IBM Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony, unified messaging from IBM, video integration, and more... A wide variety of communication devices can be made available with softphones, deskphones, and of course, support for smartphones and tablets.
This offering is designed to facilitate the transition to cloud-based telephony, and provides support for flexible deployment models (IBM data centers, or managed on customer premises). This offering is the result of an extended partnership between IBM Collaboration Services (Sametime software) and IBM Global Technology Services (ex: networking and managed services), aimed at delivering a best-of-breed and complete UC solution.
For more information, here is the official IBM announcement (www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=897/ENUS613-002&infotype=AN&subtype=CA). You can expect more news around this new offering over the next few months.
If you have any questions, please reach out to me, or anyone in the Sametime product management team.
I'm about to embark on some design work regarding security models for online meetings. This is an especially fun and challenging design task, since we have many possible options, but presenting them in a straightforward, uncomplicated way to end users can be tricky.
I'd love to hear from some of you regarding which online security capabilities matter most to you, and why. Here are some capabilities that come to mind:
Meeting rooms that are hidden (i.e., people can't find them by searching, except by exact match)
Meeting room passwords, including rules around when they expire
Only authenticated users can join
Meeting participants can join only if the meeting room owner is in the room
Meeting room access control lists (you can only join if your name is in the list)
Locking a room (i.e., no one can enter the room once it is locked)
Which of these do you use? Which of these would you never use?
Hello Sametime Blog Community! My name is Lisa Harris. As of the 1st of this month, I am the Offering Manager for the core Sametime portfolio (Entry, Standard & Advanced). The rest of our team remains the same: SUT Offering Manager Kathleen Cooke, Product managers Rob Ingram and David Marshak, and Industry Solutions lead, Marlon Machado. John Del Pizzo, continues at the helm, as Director of the entire UCC portfolio and strategy.
I've been with IBM for eleven years, starting in our Services division. I spent the majority of my career holding multiple leadership roles in the HW business (PCs and xSeries) prior to moving to the SW division in 2007. My core role in our SW business was Pricing and Investment Specialist of our Lotus Social Software Business, Portal Solutions and Rational Enterprise and Modernization Tools.
I bring a very deep passion and fervor for Collaboration solutions, including a diversified background that touches on all the elements of a complete IBM solution.
It is with great excitement, passion and enthusiasm that I happily take over the reigns of Offering Manager and continue our Unified Communication & Collaboration vision with this great team.
While we strive to create a unified user experience for our Sametime users, on the back-end there are a lot of moving parts required to make a unified communications deployment running smoothly. To make it easier for Sametime administrators and developers to monitor what's going on and take pro-active steps to keep everything running at its best, Jim Dewan, a Lotus Services Fulfillment Specialist, developed a great free tool called Watchit (you can download the tool and a full article describing it from IBM developerWorks Lotus library here).
This article describes (and provides) a simple lightweight proactive
tool to assist administrators in better understanding the Lotus
Sametime user experience to reduce outages, respond to issues more
quickly, and improve the customer experience. In addition to monitoring
capabilities, this tool can assist in debug collection and take the
burden off users for problem recreates and data collection. By
combining network validation with Lotus Sametime IM, user awareness,
user login, and username look-up validation, never before has such a
complete picture of the user experience been available. By reducing outages, calls to the Help Desk, and anticipating problems, you can save money and improve user satisfaction with your Sametime deployments.
Since the article was first published, we've made some new additions to it, the result of stress tests with some of our own clients' major deployments. Additional improvements include:
LDAP monitoring plug-in: test bind and search requests to back-end LDAP servers to ensure connectivity and performance thresholds are met
Heartbeat plug-in: contact Watchit instance to ensure it is running
Exclude hosts to be network alerted on, or add maintance windows: it's important to exclude network validation of ports or hosts when those servers are down for maintenance
e-mail alerting: in addition to IM alerting, you can also set up e-mail alerts for off-hour notifications or paging
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).
Speaking of business partners, FaceTime has built a very nice solution that adds considerable value to Sametime deployments in various industry scenarios with high security and regulatory compliance requirements.
FaceTime for Sametime augments Sametime deployments with hardened compliance for regulatory and e-Discovery. It provides tamper-proof logging, it provides a framework for defining ethical boundaries, it allows exporting Sametime file transfers to IBM Enterprise Content Manager and it adds an e-Discovery user interface to facilitate searching and reviewing.
When it comes to security, the solution adds protection against viruses and worms for instant messaging sessions. When it comes to data loss prevention, it scans file transfers over IM sessions and it allows filtering file transfers by keywords and regular expressions.
Regarding management, the solution allows controlling availability of features (IM, VoIP, video) on a per-user basis and it provides a rich reporting framework that allows retrieving conversations as they occurred.
In short, wherever there's a need for IM archiving and compliance, security and data loss prevention on IM sessions, enforcing compliance, ethical boundaries and communication policies, I think FaceTime for Sametime is a a good way to go.
I got a piece of good news a few minutes ago. The WebSphere Portal team recently released a software asset called the IBM Retail Banking Template for WebSphere Portal. This is a generic retail banking application (a template) that integrates Sametime 8.5 through the Sametime Proxy toolkit. This is what it looks like:
When you click on the advisor's name a Sametime Web Client chat session starts so you can chat away for as long as you want. Pretty cool.
You can learn more about the template here. You can see it in action here.
In February, we let you know that our long-time leader, Akiba Saeedi, had moved on to new challenges in IBM (A Changing of the Guard). Today, I'd like to share a couple of additional organizational changes with you
First, I took over as head of the Sametime Product Management team in March. I have been extremely lucky to be a part of this team for the past two years and will do my best to clear the way for the real brains in the organization... our product managers Rob Ingram and David Marshak, SUT Offering Manager, Kathleen Cooke and our Industry Solutions/Collaboration Agenda lead, Marlon Machado.
Second, I'm very excited to announce that Jelan Heidelberg will take over for me next week as the Offering Manager for the core Sametime portfolio (Entry, Standard & Advanced.) You may know Jelan as the Offering Manager for Quickr, a role she's held for the last four years. Jelan really knows how to make the IBM machine move and I'm counting on her experience to help us accelerate the transformation that began with Sametime 7.5 and the Unified Communication & Collaboration vision.
Finally, we also have an important addition to our WW Sales Leadership. Rick Schonbrun, a long-time communications industry veteran, joined us in March. Rick was most recently President & CEO of Telovations, a managed services provider "offering outsourced communications services and applications delivered through a hosted SaaS model". He's also had senior sales and marketing roles with Sonexis, Expanets and 3COM. We're happy to have his expertise to guide us as the collaboration and communication markets continue to merge.
addition to meeting with customers and business partners, Lotusphere
is also a great opportunity to meet with IT analysts, reporters and
bloggers, share with them what we're up to, and get their feedback,
since they have such a strong pulse on the marketplace. Our Analyst
Relations lead, Public Relations lead, along with our Unified
Communications leadership team met, with several analysts and
reporters throughout the week.
wanted to summarize some of the feedback we received, mainly to show
IBM's continued commitment to the Unified Communications and
real-time collaboration market.
up is a video interview with Zeus Kerravala from Yankee Group. He particularly liked
the themes of multi-modal UC and cost effectiveness that were in the
broader themes covered in Bruce Morse's Unified Communications
Keynote Monday afternoon. Zeus is also a regular contributor to the nojitter.com blog.
think the most interesting new stuff right now revolves around the
Meetings [function in Sametime 8.5]. And I think that what we saw
especially how fast and easy it was."
Riggs from Current Analysis blogged extensively
about his thoughts from Lotusphere 2010 on nojitter.com. Money
Sametime client can of course provide the same click-to-call and
other telephony features. And with the release of SameTime Unified
Telephony last year, IBM can now deliver a soft phone that combines
instant messaging presence, telephony presence, and the ability to
initiate and receive calls in a multivendor PBX environment. So while
IBM has stayed out of the PBX business, it is quite capable of
delivering a UC-enriched soft phone that works with a variety of
IBM is demonstrating is that no matter where an organisation is
starting from, it can move the communication and collaboration
platform forward to wherever the organisation feels it needs to go:
in-house, hybrid or pure-play cloud.
Osterman from Osterman Research was at Lotusphere as well, also
producing a lengthy blog entry.
is making major strides toward moving its offerings into the cloud.
IBM is also focusing heavily on mobility, demonstrating a number of
interesting mobility-based features and functions for Notes, Sametime
and other platforms.
let us not forget the mainstream media. Sametime's press activities
at Lotusphere did generate articles in key technology and telephony
trade magazines including: NetworkWorld, Computerworld, ChannelWeb,
eWEEK, IDG, VON, V3 and TMCNet.
If you've read the Sametime 8.5 Requirements, you may have noticed that Windows is the only platform listed under the Connect client. As much as it pains me to say this - especially as a long-time Mac user - we've had to hold the Mac & Linux clients. This is simply a point-in-time statement and we intend to release them both in 2010. In the meantime, if you need Mac support in order to deploy Sametime 8.5, please contact me. There is a beta (which I've been using for months) that we will make available in select situations. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the new zero-download browser client, demo'd here.
Now, to keep the lawyers AND the finance folks happy, I am required to add this disclaimer anytime I make statements about future releases:
"The information on the new product is intended to outline our general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information on the new product is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract. The information on the new product is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code or functionality. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion."
Following on my December 6 posting on IBM Sametime Meetings for Android, now it's time to let you all know we have posted a major update to our meetings client for iOS.
This is Release 2 for IBM Sametime Meetings for iOS. It replaces our old Meetings Viewer for iOS and, just like all our mobile clients, it requires a full-fledged Sametime infrastructure in the back end. Today that means IBM Sametime v8.5.2 IFR 1. If you don't have it, you can always connect to Greenhouse and, with this release, to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business.
For details on all the cool features included in this release please visit the Apple App Store (here).
Every so often I am asked why I blog about changes in the Sametime Product Management team. I think it's important that our customers and partners know who we are and how to connect with us. IBM is a big organization and finding the right people isn't always as straightforward as it could be. So, with that, let me introduce you to some new folks and outline new roles for a few of the old hands.
Julie Reed takes over as Product Manager for
Sametime Unified Telephony and all voice and video in
Sametime Standard / Advanced. Julie joins us from the IBM Mid Market organization where she ran the Smart Business offering team. Previously, she spent six years as Director of Development for Genesys Conferencing and held leadership positions in the development organizations of Nitix and Lotus Foundations. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at keegers.
Marc Pagnier is our new Offering Manager for Sametime Cloud Solutions. He'll be
responsible for accelerating Sametime's progression into the cloud -
LotusLive, IBM GTS and Partner-hosted private clouds, and service
providers. Marc also came to us from the Smart Business team where he drove appliance solutions around IBM Cognos and hybrid (on-premises / cloud) collaboration solutions. Before that, he had been a Senior Product Manager on the IBM Connections and Quickr teams. Marc's email is email@example.com and his Twitter ID is mpagnier.
Many of you already know Marlon Machado, a frequent blogger here over the last two years. In January, Marlon took over as Product Manager for the core Sametime portfolio - Entry Standard and Advanced. In addition to his PM role, he'll still have a hand in driving UC capabilities into other IBM offerings (Websphere BPM, Cognos, etc) and Smarter Planet solutions. His contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org and clevershutter on Twitter.
Lisa Harris joined us 7 months ago as the Sametime Offering Manager. She owns Sametime pricing, packaging, licensing and most of the "business end" of product management for the on-premises portfolio. A note to IBM sellers...if you think you could sell that much more Sametime if we only changed the [fill in the blank]... talk to Lisa. :-) Her email is email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter at ld_harris.
David Marshak, the former Product Manager for both Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony (ie: the guy who knows where all the bodies are really buried), is now our Senior Strategist. While the rest of us are focused on driving the next release, David will be mapping out where we need to be in 3-5 years and how to get there. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: davidmarshak.
You may have noticed that I left Rob Ingram off the roster. Rob has taken on a new challenge for IBM, driving mobile strategy for all of Lotus/ICS. Given the importance of mobility to unified communications, we still talk to him on a practically daily basis... so he's not far.
Please welcome Julie and Marc and don't hesitate to contact any of us.
This week has been all about UC product names. Should they be long? Should they be short? Do they mean anything to end users? Should UC products be named to appeal to IT, to end users, to CFOs, to grandmothers?
I think names matter and I think they should mean something to end users. UC is personal; it's what we use to interact with people we rarely get to see in person and it has become the preferred medium through which we stay in touch with other people. Given that no one is allowed to get on a plane anymore--not that many of us even want to--our textual, aural and visual impression of each other is what sustains our relationships with the people we work with every day and, for those who get to endure the road warrior lifestyle, it's the way we reaffirm our bonds with family and friends when we're away. So, names should matter because, increasingly, our UC interfaces are all we got to remind us that we're, after all, social animals.
That brings me to our name: Sametime.
I decided earlier this week to do quick analysis on our name and this is what I concluded:
It rolls off your tongue with ease in pretty much every language, not just in English.
It's a good-looking word. It has four consonants and four vowels. This makes it well balanced and easy to read equally in vowel-driven as well as consonant-driven languages. From a aesthetical standpoint, it's pretty harmonious with an "a" and an "e" flanking the length, an "e" at the center and an "i" safely tucked in next to the "t". It conveys a visual impression of a calm, relaxed, smiling entity, in my opinion.
It's structurally sound. Some people spell it "SameTime" with a capital "T" and it just looks weird.
It tells you it's all about communication; it's all concurrent, it's all happening simultaneously and it's all happening to us, at the same time, and it does so in a very human way.
It's a verb as well as a noun. And that's true not just at IBM. Neil Davies, Senior Messaging Specialist at Prudential UK once said that "...Sametime is now a verb at Prudential UK." Saying "Sametime me later..." rolls off your tongue with ease and it suggests multi-modality, concurrency, etc.. "Lync me later..." may sound too explicit in certain settings and it even may give people the wrong impression.
Yesterday, Apple introduced the new iPhone 4 and iOS 4 (the new name for the iPhoneOS). I'm an iPhone user (white 16GB 3G) and am really looking forward to the new enhancements. For a long time I've used Traveler for push email and calendar access and the Sametime iPhone browser client for chat services (part of Sametime 8.5). (And with iOS 4's new background services, my product managers are already tired of me asking for Sametime Unified Telephony on the device.)
Even so, I don't think I'll be upgrading. The reason.... I really want an iPad.
I can hear some of my favorite customers groaning from here. "An iPad??? It's just a big iPhone / iPod Touch!" Yes, it is. I actually think that's a bit of brilliant marketing on the part of Apple. What was an iPod? Your music in your pocket. How about the iPhone - before apps and the web? Your iPod and phone in one device. Each new Apple product is very simple and easy to understand (a big iPhone). That makes them easy to buy... which is a lesson many in the technology industry have yet to learn.
I won't get into the benefits of the larger screen for reading content
(like research reports over Sunday breakfast) or watching movies
(keeping the kids calm on the airplane)... other to say that it makes
participating in Sametime Online Meetings a breeze from anywhere (pictured on the left).
From a business person's perspective - especially one who travels -
the iPad is just about spot on. What are the things I'm likely to need
on the road? Email? Web? Minor edits / reworks to presentations?
Entertainment? Easy to carry? Long battery life? Location services?
Access to content on the road? All there. And let me stress that last
one. There is nothing like tapping iTunes over wi-fi in the airport for a
couple of movies to make the return trip across the country a
bit more bearable.
The iPad does still need a couple of things to be perfect. First, is multi-tasking. The larger screen size almost demands it and Apple says it will be available in the fall. The other is Symphony / Open Office editors and viewers. Without ODP support, my laptop is still required.
So I'm curious where the iPad & iPhone fit into your plans. Will you be getting a new iPhone? An iPad? And if anyone has a suggestion for ODP support, that would be great, too!
Internet Telephony has just awarded IBM a 2009 Product of the Year Award for IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony. "IBM has proven its commitment to quality and excellence while addressing real needs in the marketplace,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “We’re happy to recognize and honor IBM for their development of IP communications technology. We look forward to more innovative solutions from them in the future.” A complete list of Product of the Year winners is published in the February 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine (www.itmag.com). For more information about TMC, please visit TMCnet.com.
We're very proud of the 2009 launch of Sametime Unified Telephony. This also comes on the heels of IBM winning the 2009 TMC Unified Communications Excellence Award for our IBM Global Technology Services Converged Communications Services for Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony. The combination of our award-winning software, services, hardware and industry expertise uniquely positioned IBM in 2009 as a leader in unified communications, and we look forward to an even stronger 2010.
I'm working on the slides for the session I'm going to present at Lotusphere 2010. The session title is JMP201 IBM Lotus Sametime for Web 2.0. The session is really about the Sametime platform and the Sametime SDK with an emphasis on the significance of the Sametime Proxy 8.5 Toolkit.
The more I learn about the Proxy and the Proxy Toolkit the more I like it. I honestly think it represents the easiest way to enable Web applications for unified communications services. It's amazing how easy to use the toolkit is. The footprint it imposes on a Web page is minimal and yet it's gentle enough to be fully customizable.
I like the fact that it has an encapsulation layer that makes it backward compatible with the STLinks and Sametime Connect Web toolkits. I also like the fact that, if it detects that the Sametime Connect Client is running on the same desktop as the Web page, all requests go to the Connect Client through the Connect Web toolkit, which broadens the integration picture from Web pages all the way to custom applications through the Sametime Helper toolkit. The possibilities are endless. I like that.
There are going to be several sessions about the Proxy 8.5 Toolkit at Lotusphere 2010. Make sure to check them out if you're interested in learning more. Check out John's December 2 posting for more details.
You may or may not remember that we sent out a notification back in April about changes in the way IBM Sametime interoperates with AOL's AIM public IM service. Those changes are effective on January 1, 2015, and I think it's important to remind everyone that this is coming and to go over the changes so you all know what to expect.
AOL is taking over the onboarding and provisioning process to set up interoperability with AIM. This means you will need to sign a commercial agreement with AOL to maintain your connectivity beyond December 31, 2014. We recommend that you contact AOL immediately to start the process. They have set up a Web site for that purpose:
If your users need to communicate with AIM users after December 31, 2014, you need to register your Sametime domain with AOL. You don't have to do anything to your Sametime deployment (this change does not impact the Sametime Gateway in any way) but you need to go through the process with AOL so they can enable their infrastructure to interoperate with your Sametime environment.
You also need to be aware that there is a license fee for maintaining direct federation with AOL. After you send a provisioning request through their website AOL will send you a quote for the service.
AOL needs to complete all on boarding requests by the end of the year. They will start deprovisioning on January 5, 2015 for those companies that do not reach out to them before December 31, 2014.
As you probably know by now IBM's commitment to the Linux platform is broad and deep. That includes, of course, IBM Sametime. We're steadily expanding and refining our support for Linux starting with our server components and we have a plan to bring all the goodies we shipped with Sametime 9 to the Linux desktop. It's a journey and it's been very satisfying so far.
Our development team has been documenting their experiences with Linux and they're ready to share it with all of you. If you're a Sametime administrator living in the Windows world and are interested in learning how Sametime works on Linux you should join us in April 9 for our next Open Mic Webcast. As in all our Open Mic sessions you'll hear from our developers and then you'll have a chance to ask questions and share your own experiences with them and your peers.
You can find out more about this event here. Don't miss it. It's going to be interesting.
The IBM Serviceability Tool for Sametime is definitely getting better with age. The team has been busy refining it and giving it more muscle to make Sametime 9 deployments easier, faster and predictable. This week we're adding some cool new features I'm sure you all are going to like. Here's the list:
Diagnostic analysis and viewing with custom filtering,
New features on the Configuration Validation module:
LDAP server integration, which allows direct validation with the LDAP server if available,
A Policy Summary view coming directly from the Systems Console and the Meetings Server if available.
A new Configuration Compare view that allows you to see two different server configurations side by side so you can spot the differences,
Two new features on the Network Mapping and Monitoring module:
The ability to trace-route your workspace network via a graphical map showing the servers added to the network and the addressable nodes in between relative to the tool,
The ability to monitor server status via ping if the servers are available.
Built-in help (I know… we needed this one).
Here's a few screenshots for your viewing pleasure.
This is the new Configuration Compare view:
This is what the new Diagnostic Viewer looks like:
I mentioned the diagnostic analysis view includes custom filters. Here's what that looks like:
And, finally, here's the new network scan feature:
As always, remember the IBM Serviceability Tool for Sametime is available for download from the Solutions Catalog in Greenhouse. You can get it here.
As we are moving into the fourth quarter of the year, we will have more news to share on Sametime 9... Today, I am sharing a teaser of some of the mobile capabilities that will soon allow you to take advantage of the new Sametime 9 infrastructure that we shipped on September 20th. Come back soon to this site to find out exactly when this will be available in your favorite app. store.
Here is Luis Benitez's recording that he posted on youtube today, and specifically the sequence that starts at 02:44.
Great news! The new IBM® Serviceability Tool for Sametime® (version 8.5.2.x) is now available for download. V8.5.2.x is the first release of this tool and it will be enhanced by IBM Sametime Development with periodic updates. The IBM Serviceability Tool consists of the following four components.
Sametime Configuration Validator
The Sametime Configuration Validator is a plug-in designed to load the entire configuration information for your Sametime environment, and validate the configuration. It examines configuration settings to verify consistency, and then produces a Configuration Report.
Sametime Support Bot
The Sametime Support Bot plug-in provides a Sametime bot within a Sametime Community. Sametime users can contact the Sametime bot and receive automated responses that can be used for troubleshooting or for reporting a Sametime issue. Data is collected, and then administrators can generate a PDF report of the collected data to submit to IBM Support.
Sametime Community Monitoring
The Sametime Community Monitoring plug-in provides a view for monitoring the Sametime Community Statistics generated. Updates can be configured from 5 secs to 10 minutes. The administrator can monitor multiple Sametime Community Servers and see totals, such as current log-ins for example, across all servers and for individual servers. This component is for live monitoring only.
Sametime Deployment Planner
The Sametime Deployment Planner is a plug-in that helps to expose what the new 8.5.x product servers and features have to offer. Additionally, it reveals tips and tricks for successfully planning and deploying the environment.
Supported Sametime Versions
This tool is designed for use with all Sametime components versions 8.5 and later as well as Sametime Community 8.0, and later.
How to get it
Access the downloads from the IBM Serviceability Tool for Sametime Community on IBM Greenhouse:
Feedback such as information on problems, enhancement requests, and usability concerns can be posted to the IBM Serviceability Tool for Sametime community on IBM Greenhouse. IBM reviews all feedback but makes no commitments regarding changes to the product or its documentation.
I'm excited to let you know that today at Enterprise Connect, ShoreTel announced the general availability of ShoreTel Communicator for IBM Sametime!
ShoreTel Communicatorcombines the power of ShoreTel’s IP telephonyand unified messaging with the real-time capabilities of Sametime. It integrates into both IBM Sametime and Lotus Notes and providing many great features such as tightly integrated visual voice mail and remote call control with user's contacts and calendar. There's also an option to “camp on” when a colleague is on the phone or has an unavailable presence, letting the system notify you when the person becomes available.
Read more about it here in their press release as well as a great customer success story with FIDM:
developerWorks just published a white paper by Sneha Heda, Bhavuk Srivastava and Yue Lin titled Simplifying your IBM Sametime deployment using an efficient topology and automated scripts. The paper brings together three experienced Sametime developers who know a thing or two about Sametime deployment--including what not to do when doing so.
Our development team has been working very hard in automating installation tasks to minimize the pain of installing IBM Sametime. I know ... I know ... it's no picnic but, then again, Sametime ain't no toy, so ... Anyway, this white paper takes you over everything you need to know to deploy Sametime servers on Linux using the new script-based deployment tool we've been working on over the past few months. The tool allows you to sketch out more than one deployment strategy (we call them "models") and it helps you pick the most cost-effective one. This is all based on best practices and well-known deployment scenarios. The article includes sample deployment models for Sametime Advanced, Meetings, etc. so you can get started.
If you're in the business of deploying Sametime make sure to take a read. I think you're going to like it. You can find the paper here.
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.
I'm happy to report that the IBM Sametime Meetings app for Android is available for download at the Google Play Store. This is a full-fledged meetings client that includes support for IBM SmartCloud for Social Business which, by the way, is now powered by IBM Sametime too.
- Favorite Meeting Rooms view- Creation of meeting reports
- Lecture-style meetings
- Waiting room
- Join by SmartCloud room ID
- View scheduled meetings from your calendar
As with all Sametime Mobile apps, it works with IBM Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1. If you don't have it installed you can connect to IBM SmartCloud for Social Business or to IBM Greenhouse--it actually comes with predefined connectivity to both environments; all you need to do is provide your user ID and password.
Make sure to download it. Play with it and give us a rating (5 stars are very welcome) on the Play Store.
Today we posted an important update to our Sametime Mobile for Android app on the Google Play Store (here).
This new client is designed for both, phones, and tablets. It has an updated user interface, improvements to chat history management, and better management of multiple communities.
Chris Reckling has posted some nice screenshots on his blog (here). Check it out and, if you have an Android device, feel free to upgrade to this new release and let us know what you think--as long as it can be expressed as a five-star rating on the Play Store (wink, wink...)
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.
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.
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.
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:
Home page - Use the home page to see a snapshot of updates collected from across your subscriptions, notifications, and network of colleagues.
Communities - In Communities, members can participate in community-specific activities and forums, and can share blogs, bookmarks, feeds, and files.
Community document libraries - Configure IBM FileNet libraries to display, access, and manage content from within a Connections Community. Document libraries support document check-in and check-out, versioning, access control, and prompting for required metadata.
Profiles - Permits you to search for people across your organization using tags to identify expertise, current projects, and responsibilities.
Activities - Provides capabilities for gathering and sharing project documents, and working with colleagues to complete tasks.
Files - Provides a repository in which you can upload files and share them with others.
Wikis - Permits individuals, groups, and communities to capture, share, and co-author information.
Forums - Allows individuals to share ideas with, and benefit from, the expertise of others.
Blogs - Provides the ability to create online journals that you can use to deliver timely information to others. You can use a blog to present your ideas and get feedback from others or learn from the expertise of others who blog.
Bookmarks - Helps you save, share, and discover bookmarks through this social bookmarking service.
IBM Lotus Quickr Connectors
Author, share, collaborate, and manage Connections community document library content in FileNet using desktop applications such as Microsoft™ Windows™ Explorer, Microsoft Office 2003 to 2010, Microsoft Outlook, IBM Lotus Notes®, IBM Sametime, and IBM Lotus Symphony™.
IBM Sametime Advanced :
Unified communications and collaboration core capabilities:
Secure, enterprise instant messaging
Federation with Public Instant Messaging services
File and folder transfer options
Integrated Voice (VoIP) and desktop video
Mobile device support
Open APIs and an extensible client
Online meetings - Persistent meeting rooms with native and third-party audio and video from both the rich client and the browser-based desktop meeting experience.
Instant share - Share or remotely control a computer desktop with colleagues.
Persistent group chat rooms - Create, enter, read, and contribute to ongoing chats at any time from the rich client or a browser. Users can be alerted to new content, events, and people in the chat room.
Broadcast communities - Create and subscribe to real-time channels devoted to various topics. Channel subscribers receive real-time alerts, ask questions via Skill Tap, interact with experts, create and respond to real-time polls, and join online group conversation.
Organizational tree view - Leverage an organizational tree view of your contacts to see the reporting structure of your company based on the corporate directory.
Bandwidth management - Bandwidth limits can be set to constrain the overall amount of audio and video on the network consumed by Sametime. Administrators can set policies to control bandwidth based on classes of users and locations.
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.
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
Presence and awareness - Know if someone is available without leaving your IBM Connections environment.
collaboration - Leverage IBM Sametime broadcast channels to reach out
to IBM Connections Community members in real time with Instant Broadcast
Announcements, Broadcast Chats, and Polls.
card integration - Leverage business cards in IBM Connections and IBM
Sametime to see a person's availability and to access that person's
profile, blogs, wikis, communities, and more. Launch a chat session
directly from the business card by right-clicking on the person's name.
Here are a few examples of how these products can be used together:
From IBM Sametime
Reach out to the members of your IBM Connections community with instant broadcasts, polling, and announcements
Utilize a dedicated persistent chat room or meeting room with its own content library
Engage with compelling native and third-party audio and video in both the IBM Sametime rich client and browser-based online meetings
From within your IBM Connections environment
Determine if someone is available via presence awareness
Hover over an individual's name, and from the pop up business card, click to chat or start an instant meeting
With an additional click, move to a video or voice chat from the Sametime rich client chat window
From a user's IBM Connections business card in the IBM Sametime rich client chat window
Share or record your communication by adding your chat transcript to a relevant IBM Connections community forum or activity with a click of a button in the chat window
From the business card click to quickly see your chat partner's blogs, profiles, activities, bookmarks, communities, and more
From within an IBM Connections community
Access and use content libraries that leverage the capabilities of IBM FileNet Content Manager
Create, view, access, and manage corporate content and associated metadata stored in IBM FileNet Content Manager
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:
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 ithere.
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.
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.
For those of you who won't be able to join me in the UX lab at Lotusphere but want to contribute to the conversation, we've created an ideation blog where you can post your thoughts about features and capabilities you'd like to see in Sametime, and vote on features that others have entered. Here's a link:
We'll have lots of great activities and conversations in the User Experience lab at Lotusphere, located in Asia 4. I'll be in the lab with UX colleagues from all product areas -- so be sure to stop in!
Monday, January 16 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM Tuesday, January 17 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM Wednesday, January 18 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM Thursday, January 19 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
We'll also have some scheduled talks in the lab:
Date: Monday, January 16, 2012 Time: 5:00pm - 6:00pm Topic: "IBM Collaboration Solutions Future Product Design Direction" Speakers: Chris Paul, Director, User Experience; Ethan Perry, STSM; Brian Utesch, STSM. Abstract: How is the user experience (UX) of IBM Collaboration Solutions products designed? What role does Lotusphere play in ongoing collaboration with customers? The ICS User Experience Director, Chris Paul, and UX Design and User
Research Senior Technical Staff Members, Ethan Perry and Brian Utesch,
will discuss how design direction is set, the importance of user
adoption, and how you are engaged in the design process. Bring your questions to this interactive session. Date: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 Time: 9:30am - 10:30am Topic: "Mobile User Experience Directions" Speakers: Tyler Walters, Chris Reckling Abstract:
Social Business and mobile technology go hand in hand. See where we are
going in designing mobile apps for tablets and smartphones in 2012.
Provide feedback on the design directions and help prioritize features. Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 Time: 9:30am - 10:30am Topic: "Meet the User Experience Designers" Speakers: Amy Travis, Margo Ezekiel, Ethan Perry, Eric Wilcox Abstract: Join
our lead user experience designers and talk with us about our design
challenges and future design directions in a fun and lively session. It's your chance to see how we design your favorite products.
I got this nice little PNG from the Lotusphere 2012 team that says "I'm a Speaker":
I think it's pretty cool and I'm already using it as part of my email
signature. It's great that the Lotusphere team decided to do this for
next year. They're also collecting Social Business stories, which I also think it's pretty cool. You may want to check it out here.
My session, ID213 - What's New in IBM Sametime is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17 at 3:30 PM. Feel free to drop by if you're attending the conference. But before you do that, please make sure to attend John Delpizzo's session, INV209 - Strategy and Roadmap for IBM Sametime, on Monday, January 16 at 5:00 PM. It'll give you the necessary context you'll need to make sense of what I'm going to talk about. We'll publish a full list of all the Sametime-related sessions on this blog once we get the final list. Stay tuned.
Now, with Sametime 8.5.2 Interim Feature Release 1, we've made it much easier to know who is speaking during a meeting. In Sametime meeting rooms, an "active speaker" icon now displays next to the name of the participant who is currently speaking during a call.
If you're a meeting room owner about to start the conference call for your meeting, it's easy to set the call so that all meeting participants join the call muted. In this case, only the meeting room owner's voice can be heard on the call, until other participants unmute themselves.
In addition, room owners now have the flexibility to turn video on or off for the call when they start the call, rather than having a single setting per meeting room.
As I recently posted, meeting room participants now see the new Leave Meeting button, which they can click to leave the meeting.
With Sametime 8.5.2 Interim Feature Release1, meeting room owners and managers still see an End Meeting button; they do not see a Leave Meeting button. However, clicking the End Meeting button now gives meeting room owners and managers the option to either leave the meeting or end the meeting for everyone. This gives meeting room owners and managers more flexibility for managing their meetings, for example, if they have to leave the current meeting for another commitment, but want to let others continue in the room.
In my posting yesterday, I told you about how you can send multiple files or even an entire folder to a chat partner. Today I'll talk about another great enhancement to file transfer in Sametime 8.5.2 Interim Feature Release 1: sending a file to everyone in a multi-person chat session, simultaneously.
In your mulit-person chat, you will now see a file attach button, which you can use to send a file to everyone in the chat. You can see the progress of the file transfer as it is sent to each person in the chat:
If you have someone in the chat who is still using an older client, you'll see a separate chat window open so you can easily send the file to that person, as well.
Although you can send only one file at a time, if you need to send multiple files, you can click the file attach icon to send another file, in another tab.
There are several new policy settings to administer the new file transfer features:
Whether to allow transferring multiple files and folders
Whether to allow transferring files in multi-person chats
Maximum number of users who can receive a file in a multi-person chat
Hello - I am the Sametime end-user Help writer and in the upcoming days I will be posting information about some of the great new features that are
available in our latest release, Sametime 8.5.2 Interim Feature Release 1.
first thing I'm going to tell you about is our file transfer
enhancements for sending files to a chat partner. If you have Sametime Advanced, you can now do so much more than transfer a single file!
From an open chat window with a single chat partner, send multiple files or an entire folder to a single user, as follows:
Right-click a contact, or select a single
contact and then select Tools > Send, and choose either File or Folder. If you choose File, you can select any number of files to send. Or choose Folder and send an entire folder.
You see these same choices from an open chat window:
The file transfer information shows you the name of the current file being sent, and the total number and size of files you are sending. When sending files, you see a link for each file sent. For folders, you see the folder name only, and can open the folder directly from the chat transcript.
If you're viewing the files in chat history, you'll see when individual files and entire folders were sent.
Next time, we'll talk about more file transfer updates.
Hello, Sametime 8.5 Meetings users. I am looking to make some improvements to the Sametime Meetings sidebar shelf. I use it all the time -- especially the Scheduled Meetings view, which gives me an at-a-glance view of what's happening in my day, and makes it easy for me to jump into any online meetings (as well as spin up a meeting, if one is needed).
Here's what the shelf looks like, for those of you who may be less familiar with it:
Do you use this shelf for finding and joining meetings? If so, what view do you like the most? Anything you'd like changed?
Today IBM announced enhanced capabilities for mobile collaboration. Customers can easily download the software from all major app stores
including Android, Apple, and BlackBerry, and gain immediate access to
blogs, employee data, status updates, wikis, as well as share files,
videos and photos. This includes IBM Sametime enterprise instant messaging and IBM Sametime Unified Telephony dialers for Android, and IBM Sametime meetings on the BlackBerry. IBM is also helping IT administrators simplify
the management of corporate and personal data on employee devices. by allowing employees, customers and partners to collaborate more effectively while on mobile devices.
You can read a more in-depth analysis of this announcement, and why we're so excited about it, on Todd Watson's Turbo Todd Blog. As always, we would love your feedback: how are YOU using mobile collaboration in your business environment?
#ibmsocialbiz As many of you know, we've been working with Interactive Intelligence in integrating their CIC contact center suite with Sametime. The integration allows contact center agents to tap into expertise beyond their immediate reach.
The expertise location pattern is critical to improving customer satisfaction, up-selling and cross-selling, and to keeping customer-facing business processes moving. That's exactly what the CIC-Sametime integration does. Our friends at InIn produced this nice video illustrating how the integration works. Take a look:
Ever since I happened upon an exhibit of Japanese post-war consumer design at Design Museum London back in 1992 (the miniature cars! the sleek juicers! the radios encased in melamine!), I've been somewhat enamoured with design. When you are (or like me, used to be) an engineer, it's too easy to put function over form. Great design doesn't put form over function, but instead marries the two seamlessly in order to solve real human problems in a way that feels natural.
In the words of our own Thierry Nicolle - EMEA’s IBM BUE’s experience on our new Voyager PRO UC:
Plantronics Bluetooth Headset is delivering the best Unified Communication Experience on Sametime I ever had. Not only this headset is extremely well designed and easy to use but is also providing unique capabilities in Sametime environment . For instance: the new ‘ Smart Sensor feature’ that ‘automatically‘ answers any inbound call when you place the headset on your head is a fantastic feature and the Plantronics Call control plug ability to ‘roam’ from your PC / desktop up to 33 feet (10 metres) away to multitask and remain ‘connected’ to [Sametime Unified Telephony] calls. [And] meetings with its multiple call handling features provides real freedom and extra productivity benefits. After trying this headset I simply cannot work without it…
Speaking from my own experience, it is a visually engaging piece of technology. And it really does enhance your mobility and productivity.
I've discovered that keeping our Business Partner features to just Tuesdays wan't enough. So instead, we'll feature our Business Partners more throughout our weekly editorial calendar.
Today's IBM Business Partner Feature is about Lionbridge. On Wednesday, they announced the GeoFluent IM for IBM Sametime solution. This solution will help IBM Sametime clients collaborate more effectively with non-English speaking colleagues, partners and customers:
“Today's dynamic workforce is increasingly globally dispersed, multigenerational and multicultural,” said Caleb Barlow, Director, Unified Communications and Collaboration, IBM. “As globally dispersed organizations move towards becoming social businesses, the challenge of resolving real-time barriers of language translation is critical. Today’s always available, socially-connected organizations need to communicate seamlessly with networks of partners, clients and suppliers, regardless of location, time-zone or language.”
We encourage you to join Lionbridge and IBM for a webinar on August 23rd to learn more about increasing social communications across borders with multilingual unified communications. Please register for the webinar here.
As a native English and French speaker, I have to say this is pretty cool. I've seen the real-time translations in action, and it makes cross-language real-time communication SO much easier. It won't replace professional translators for all use cases, but for the majority of day-to-day real-time translation work, it's a great solution to look into.
The Sametime Wiki has a new section dedicated to business partners. The section is called, quite appropriately, Business Partner Resources and it will feature content to address issues related to education, deployment, application development, and best-practice advice in general.
Todd Page has written the first article. The title is "Business Partner Enablement Roadmap for IBM Sametime" and it outlines what business partners need to do to acquire the necessary skills to become Sametime practitioners. This is just the first of many articles to come.
#ucoms This week in Germany, IBM announced the district of Lüneburg (which includes 177,000 residents and the metropolitan region of Hamburg) is moving away from paper-based filing in favor of IBM's collaboration solutions. The district's administration is using Lotus Notes, Sametime and Quickr to help its employees collaborate in the office and on mobile devices. If you can read German, the IBM press release is now online.
IBM business partners have been active in their support of IBM collaboration software this week, including Sametime. Campus Technology published an article on IBM business partner GSX Monitor's announcement of GSX Monitor & Analyzer v10 that enables administrators to monitor cloud-based messaging and collaboration services including Lotus Notes Traveler, Quickr and Sametime.
And over in Italy, a multi-page feature in Computer Business Review discusses the impact of smart phones and tablets on the enterprise. Broad support for IBM's collaboration portfolio is highlighted throughout the article, including Sametime.
Caleb and I had the opportunity today to talk to Jebb Dykstra CEO at Meetrix Communications. Meetrix is an IBM Business Partner focusing on delivering public and private cloud UC solutions (voice, video, real-time collaboration) and relies on industry leaders such as BroadSoft, Polycom and of course IBM... As you can imagine, the cloud is a broad topic and I definitely recommend you listen to the recording; the excitement about the cloud potential is contagious. Anyone can take advantage of it, now, you don't have to be an enterprise with 30,000 persons to be able to take advantage of a private cloud... This podcast is now available on blogtalkradio.
Our friends at Jabra have announced a new global offer for Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony pilot projects: they will provide five Jabra audio end points for free to qualified customers.
I don't know if you're familiar with Jabra equipment. If you're not, you don't know what you're missing. The stuff is awesome. And now you can get five end points for free for your Sametime or SUT pilot. How cool is that?
See what happens when you post3 timesin one day? You forget to post for 6! Seriously, though, we've been reading some of the stories that have come out since our announcements over the past 2 weeks. Here's just a few excerpts from some of those stories.
On May 25, Robbie Pleasant over at UCStrategies.com posted IBM Releases Sametime 8.5.2. It included 2 quotes from industry analysts, including Dave Michels and Marty Parker:
"SUT takes a very different approach to voice by integrating with the PBX behind the scene," says Dave Michels,
UCStrategies UC Expert. "The key advantage is an organization with
multiple voice solutions can provide a consistent user experience.
"With these enhancements, IBM is focusing on continued growth in social
networks and IM, on mobility and video as new modes and media, and on
ease of adoption of Sametime as the enterprise communication interface
for most job types and roles." - Marty Parker, Principal Unicomm Consulting.
There was also a writeup in Network World, IBM Improves Sametime Platform, noting the many enhancements to the unified communications and collaboration software including audio and video conferencing and new mobile support:
Android users will now be able to monitor presence, access instant messaging (including background notification of new messages), use a new text to speech application that lets the Android device read Sametime messages, and take / send photos from the chat window or from the user's photo library.
No Jitter, while not explicitly discussing Sametime 8.5.2, does discuss how IBM's unified communications (UC) strategy has helped us evolve into a social business. The article notes that many UC vendors have been adding social capabilities and integrations into their products, but IBM is the company that stands out with the most social networking capabilities and features.
...the one company that stands out is IBM. They were an early entrant to the social scene, and coined the term "Social Business." IBM has embraced the slogan “Get Social: Do Business,” and backed it up with more social networking capabilities and features than their competitors...IBM's strategy is based on the idea of raising the "big tent" and supporting all vendor PBX implementations.
In the same vein, IBM Germany blogger Stefan Pfeiffer, guest blogging on Silicon.de, posted about his use of social networking as a mobile worker for IBM. Stefan joined IBM through the FileNet acquisition, and since that time has become a member of IBM's mobile workforce using instant messaging, sharing files, bookmarks and collaborating with colleagues through wikis and blogs. Stefan discusses his use of social for collaborating with business partners, customers and prospects, and the self discipline required when working from home (actual text in German).
In case you missed it, Caleb and I did a podcast with Sennheiser last Friday. The podcast is available on blogtalkradio. In the discussion, Lars shared with us how their headsets help improve the unified communications experience in your corporate environments so you can look at your computer, or mobile phone, as a credible replacement for your desk phone. And you can also use these headsets for your casual listening pleasure...
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.
Yesterday as part of the IBM Sametime 8.5.2 release, we introduced the IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client (aka "SUT Lite Client") This offering provides an exciting opportunity for customers to start down the UC path. This new communication option, lets users make and receive voice and video calls from their desktops using the Sametime Connect Client as a rich, standards-based audio/video softphone.
As a video endpoint, the SUT Lite client allows users to make and receive video calls with other video end-points, including conference rooms and telepresence systems, other software clients, desktop and deskside video hardware units, and video media control units (MCUs). Using video conferencing can reduce the need for face to face meetings, thus reducing the loss in productivity and costs of travel, and enabling more engaged interaction than a audio-only experience. As this is enabled from the Sametime Connect client, the users access this added functionality as part of the same familiar Sametime UC experience
Likewise, for voice calls, SUT Lite client acts as a softphone that can be used from virtually anywhere a user has internet connectivity. On the road, making calls directly from the computer can reduce costs by avoiding long distance charges, cellular costs, including roaming costs which can be quite high when traveling internationally.
Users have easy access to softphone controls including incoming call notification, click2call, dial, hang-up, volume control, and mute. As users need the features of a full SUT license (move calls from device to device, single-number reach based on location and context, visual conferencing, etc.), they can upgrade without major changes to the user experience.
The IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client is easy to deploy and does not require any additional hardware or software over Sametime Standard. It simply requires a SIP trunk to be configured between the Sametime Media Manager and a certified SIP environment.
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.
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.
Don’t miss our upcoming Webcast for Lotus IT professionals, presented by David
Price, IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration Practice Manager at Meridian
IT, sponsored by Meridian IT and Plantronics. Register Here.
Whether you’re just thinking about deploying or just curious about the benefits
to your company, you’ll want to check out this Webcast from David Price of
Meridian IT. Meridian has been certified by the leading communications and
collaborations vendors such as Plantronics, IBM, Cisco, Tandberg, Radvision,
Shoretel and Polycom and has in-the-trenches experience with Sametime and SUT
roll-outs. This presentation will feature real world examples of what they’ve
seen and what you should know as a Lotus admin, voice architect, systems
engineer or IT manager. You’ll hear how IBM's offerings differ from traditional
telephony vendors and you’ll get first-hand tips on what you should expect when
working with system integrator. David will demonstrate ways to lower your
investment, improve collaboration, and enable your work force to operate
remotely with optimum productivity. Plus, you’ll come away with the knowledge to
effectively communicate the benefits of SUT to others in your company, including
As you saw from our posts this week, we've been busy at Enterprise Connect. All in all a good show, attendance was up, and we had some solid traffic and conversations in the booth and in the panels we participated in. We'll hopefully have a summary for you tomorrow or early next week.
In the meantime, the press continues to highlight IBM unified communications. The latest two articles cover the growing importance of both social business and video collaboration, two areas where Sametime and IBM participate strongly. eWeek published an article on Socialtext's integration with IBM Lotus Sametime allowing customers to conduct real-time, one-to-one chats with their business contacts:
Socialtext 4.6 now integrates with IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Office Communicator instant messaging products to allow customers to conduct real-time, one-to-one chats with their business contacts. Sametime and Communicator join AIM Yahoo and Skype as instant messaging tools Socialtext supports.
IBM has announced a Vidyo plug-in for Lotus SameTime that it claims offers videoconferencing capabilities comparable to Cisco Telepresence. Vidyo calls it "personal telepresence," and it may soon be available on your desktop, if you're a user of IBM's Lotus SameTime. "Just as SameTime users can go into a voice communication from an IM chat session they'll be able to do HD-quality multi-point videoconferencing," said Vidyo director of product marketing Mark Noble.
As you may know, I demonstrated our recent integration with Ion Objects at Lotusphere. I blogged about it way back in December and I got a few questions from some of you about the integration. I showed the integration live at the Sametime pedestal at Lotusphere and we're going to do the same at Enterprise Connect. This time, though, we're going to demonstrate the integration at the CEBP pedestal.
John Kotch, Founder and Chief architect of Ion Objects is going to stop by the CEBP pedestal throughout the week to hang out and talk about the many cool CEBP applications they're planning to offer their customers now that Sametime is just another object in their framework.
Make sure to stop by the CEBP pedestal if you want to learn more. Here's a short overview of the integration:
We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of the new Sametime 8.5 Enterprise Scale Deployment Redbook. It provides a best practice framework for medium to large enterprise-scale
deployment of Sametime 8.5.1. This Redbook covers a range of business
collaboration requirements that typically can be found within many large
enterprises with geographically dispersed user communities and diverse
business requirements for real-time collaboration.
You can access the Redbook through the link below. A printable PDF version will be available soon.