I always thought this was odd...
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
- 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.
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.
Welcome to Jelan and Rick!
I've been reading lots of literature about Communication-Enabled Business Processes, or CEBPs over the last few weeks. Most of it seems to revolve around the notion that CEBPs are nothing but voice-enabled business processes; that all you need to do to enable a business process with communications services is add voice to it. Other ideas around CEBPs call for taking the basic premise of eliminating human latency to the extreme and to actually measure how much a business process can be accelerated through communications enablement in actual minutes. I think both notions fail to present the full dimension of what CEBPs are and why we need them.
I agree that the main purpose of turning a regular business process into a CEBP is to deal with human latency. However, there are business processes in which human intervention is an intrinsic feature and, as a result, expected to be part of the process. I'm talking about processes where human decision-making must be rooted on reflection and careful evaluation of pros and cons, reflection that will invariable manifest itself as latency in the overall business process. I wouldn't mind, for instance, having my doctor taking enough time to evaluate the best treatment options for me or a fund manager taking time to go over a company's books and strategy before investing my money in it. What I would like is for both, my doctor and my broker, to be able to access all the contextual information they need to support the thought process and to have the tools to eliminate latency from their own decision-making process.
I think in these cases the goal behind communication-enabling business processes should be to prevent the process from slowing down as opposed to accelerating it just because faster is better. Doing this requires more than voice, chat and video. It requires a healthy combination of real-time and asynchronous communications and collaboration services to reduce not only human latency where needed but to enhance the context to support decision-making.
I think work styles have a lot to do with the perception that CEBPs are all about voice and reducing human latency. Traditional work styles tend to hover towards extremes: you're either sending email (the most asynchronous way of communication aside from snail mail and fax) or you get on the phone with that person if you can't walk into his or her office. And so, if these are your parameters, that's what you're going to try to optimize. When, on the other hand, you're used to live in a multimodal environment in which chat, voice, a blog post, an entry on a Wiki or a tweet can get you the information you need and when knowing the person who gave you the answer is just there without you having to talk directly to him or her, that's when you realize email and voice alone are way too extreme. Then you learn that just having access to the context in which that person operates can be enough.
Why am I talking about this? Well, this is how we define CEBPs in the Sametime world. We view Sametime as more than just real-time communications--hence the "UC²" thing. We do have the real-time communication capabilities that our competitors have and we also provide the asynchronous and context-based means to provide a better way to do CEBPs through Sametime Advanced and with the help of our sister products and I think we need to talk more about this. I know I should probably write this in a white paper at some point (and I will) but I thought it necessary to rant about it a bit here just to get it off my chest..
See you all in Orlando.
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.
Y'all (I have to use it here...) may be already familiar with the project our business partner UnifiedEdge
has been working on at The City of Fort Worth, Texas. The project is all about outfitting the Joint Emergency Operations Center serving Fort Worth and surrounding Tarrant County with a social communications infrastructure to enable rapid responses to natural disasters and other emergency events in the area. The infrastructure includes IBM Sametime and UnifiedEdge RadioConnect for Sametime.
The story was released as a public reference yesterday. It's a great story that describes a powerful solution that addresses a complex problem in a very elegant way. The benefits are such that you only notice them when they're not there: the solution helps people make better, more informed, wiser decisions in situations when you have to think fast and respond quickly. Check it out if have time. It's an interesting read. You can find it here
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.
It's 12:26 AM EST in Orlando. Lotusphere is in full swing and I just came back to my room at the Dolphin hotel after attending the Australian Party--allegedly the hottest ticket in town during Lotusphere. I just said good night to my lovely wife and, instead of brushing my teeth and getting ready to go to bed, I'm here writing this post.
The reason I'm doing this is to clarify what Collaboration Agenda means for Sametime. I've been manning the Collaboration Agenda pedestal at the IBM booth and I'm getting lots of questions about what this actually means; questions from business partners, customers and even from IBM colleagues. So, here it goes.
Collaboration Agenda is a philosophy, a way of doing things, a metamethodology that brings together well-known best practices to help customers address pain points with solutions that will save them money and help them make money.
It all starts with industry priorities defined by industry leaders and visionaries. Each industry priority encompasses a series of well-defined pain points that are measurable and quantifiable. Then, based on that knowledge, we apply known best practices to address those pain points with solutions designed to minimize the impact inflicted by those pain points on the customer's business processes and to maximize efficiency and agility. In the case of business processes that benefit from reducing and/or eliminating human latency, such solutions will be based on unified communications and collaboration software.
Devising solutions using the Collaboration Agenda philosophy produces things such as RadioConnect for Sametime, a solution based on Sametime Standard and a soft radio plug-in developed by UnifiedEdge, an IBM Business Partner based out of Round Rock, Texas. RadioConnect was designed with a manic focus on solving a single problem: lack of interoperability among disparate radio infrastructures in emergency response and public safety scenarios and nothing else.
This is what Collaboration Agenda can help us achieve. RadioConnect may not be very sexy--it won't update your Tweeter status or your Facebook wall--but it will help first responders communicate with each other in an emergency situation, which can contribute to minimizing the loss of life and property.
If you happen to be at Lotusphere and would like to have a deeper discussion about this feel free to drop by the IBM booth. I'm going to be back at the Collaboration Agenda pedestal between 11:45 AM EST and 2:00 PM EST today.
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.
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.
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.
Of course, there's more. For all the details, please see the SUT announcement letter
and the Standard / Advanced announcement letter.
We'll be deep diving into all of these capabilities and more on this blog over the coming weeks.
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).
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.
It is with mixed emotions that I'm announcing that today is Bruce Morse's last day with IBM. After 32 years, he's decided that it's time to pursue other challenges and adventures in life. Most of you know that Bruce has led our Unified Communications & Collaboration segment for the past 4 years. But in his 3 decades with IBM he also
- helped manage IBM's
S/390 and AS/400 businesses through a number of challenging industry
transitions in technology, computing styles and business models
- was responsible for building strategic
alliances as part of IBM's business development initiatives
- built the Software Group mergers and acquisition team and played a prominent role
in the acquisitions of Lotus, Tivoli, and eight other software
- played a leading role in the
launch and development of the WebSphere Portal business
- was a major driver in a number of our software start-up businesses,
Computing and Software Group Industry Solutions
- participated in some really bad skits on the Lotusphere stage. Holy cow they were bad...
The entire UC2 team wishes him all the best and his leadership will be missed.
As for Sametime, the rest of the team remains intact and our focus unchanged. I had hoped to be able to announce Bruce's successor at the same time as his retirement, but that is still in the works. I'll let you know as soon as I am able.