Next week, IBM will have a significant presence at the VoiceCon / E2.0 event in San Francisco. To learn more about what we offer for unified communications and social networking, stop by both 609 in the exhibit hall.
We also invite you to attend any of many sessions where IBM'ers will be presenting:
Nov 2, 11-12, Pat Galvin, CTO IBM UC2 Software, CTO Roundtable on Next Generation Architectures
Nov 2, 3:15-4:15, Marisa Viveros, IBM VP Converged Communication Services, Managed & Hosted Offerings for UC
Nov 2, 3:14-4:15, David Marshak, Senior Product Manager, UC2 Software, Presence, Progress of Federation
Nov 3, 11:15-12:00. Bruce Morse, VP UC2 Software, Keynote
Nov 3, 11:15-12:00, Wim Hofland, Manager, Inspiration & Innovation, Sogeti, Case Studies in Enterprise Micro-Blogging
Nov 3, 2:00-3:00, Akiba Saeedi, Director UC2 Software, UC Leadership Roundtable
Nov 3, 2:00-5:00, David Marshak, Comparing UC Options and Vendors
Nov 3, 4:15-5:00, Akiba Saeedi, Future of Social Messaging in the Enterprise
Nov 3, 4:15-5:00, Jeff Schick and Wim Hofland, Customer Perspective on IBM Enterprise Social Software
Nov 4, 8:00-10:00, Robert Ingram, Senior Product Manager, UC2 Software, Integrating Mobility with UC
Nov 4, 10:15-11:00, Jeff Schick, VP IBM Social Software, Social Software, Creating Value Today and Opportunities Tomorrow
Nov 4, 1:00-1:45, Marisa Viveros, VoiceCon Summit: The Evolution of UC
Nov 4, 3:15-4:15, Marlon Machado, Product Manager Sametime Platform, Developing Voice Apps using Mashups ans SOA
In the event that you just can't wait the weekend to see what IBM will be unveiling at VoiceCon / E2.0, UC Strategies has posted a podcast featuring Bruce Morse.
"Bruce Morse, Vice President of IBM’s Unified Communications Software Group, has a conversation with Jim Burton about what's new with IBM in the unified communications market and research that showed many are CEOs thinking about UC. They also discuss the key challenges customers face and the key capabilities an enterprise should be considering. Bruce talks about IBM’s role in the UC market as the industry goes through consolidation and a lot of M&A activity. He also shares what he will present during his keynote at VoiceCon on November 3rd in San Francisco."
Not to long ago, we posted about a new offering from Lotus Education called the Sametime Multimedia Library. This library contains more than 240 short video clips that outline how to use Sametime 8.0.2. I also want to point out a free resource called the Media Gallery on the IBM Sametime Wiki. The Gallery contains "media resources including demonstrations, videos, tutorials, reference cards, and web seminars to help users get started with Lotus Sametime." Free or for fee, learning options abound for Sametime.
In communication circles, collaboration is apparently the word of the day. But for IBM customers, collaboration has long been an integral part of their UC environment. If you'd like to understand how IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration Solutions can help your business, I invite you to visit the new IBM UC2 Website and download a copy of the white paper, "The Power of Unifying Communications and Collaboration." You'll also find useful demos, webcasts, podcasts, 3rd party analysis and the new UCC Business Value Builder, which helps you quantify the value of UC2.
IBM sells its own virtual meeting tool, Sametime 3D, which allows
businesses to share ideas and collaborate in a 3D world, and the
company is currently testing a more advanced version of the product.
[IBM CTO, Northeast Europe] told CNN that he recently held a meeting with 12 technical leaders from
across Europe and Asia. While that would typically involve flying
everyone to a central location, he said the meeting was held using the
new Sametime 3D.
"Not only did we save travel time, but because the environment was so engaging, a lot more ideas came through," he said.
Not everyone of course will want a full virtual world environment for realtime collaboration, but it's good to know the option it there, and the business value tangible, for those situations that warrant a richer visual environment than traditional online meetings or rich text / audio / video chat. And it further shows the power of Sametime as a collaborative platform.
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.
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.
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.
Known problems are documented in the form of individual technotes in the Support knowledge base at http://www.ibm.com/software/lotus/support. As problems are discovered and resolved, the IBM Support team updates the knowledge base. By searching the knowledge base, you can quickly find work-arounds or solutions to problems.
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."
Come join us, and our hosts, the LotusUserGroup.org, for a pre-Lotusphere 2010 live webcast reviewing Sametime 8.5's newest capabilities, and the real business value they provide. To learn more, visit the registration page is here. Registration is required, but membership to the LotusUserGroup is free!
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..
An update to our original post back on December 2: we are planning a wide range of activities at next week's Lotusphere 2010 for Sametime. Here's a handy-dandy 1-page JPG you can download and use to find us in the happy madness of it all.
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.
finally have a free moment to catch up on sharing our Sametime
experience here at Lotusphere 2010. But rather than a laundry list
of recaps, I wanted to talk about story telling.
One of the most
wonderful aspects of meetings like Lotusphere is serendipity. One
such seredipitous moment came this morning when I had the pleasure of
sitting next to Jean-Francois Chenier, of “The Man Who Should Have Used Lotus Connections” fame, on the bus from the Port Orleans
hotel to the Dolphin. His videos, and our wide-ranging conversation
about Japan and Calgary and snow, have inspired me to find ways to
tell better stories. And not just any stories.
In IBM we're
awfully good at telling the “how” stories – I would say 90% of
the content here at Lotusphere is training, education,
implementation, etc. The two excellent videos (and more to come)
that John Del Pizzo produced are great examples of that too. But
those of us who are close to a topic often struggle with the “why”.
I'm not just referring to the business value of our Lotus portfolio,
though that's clearly a big part of the “why”. It's also the
more personal stories that make a direct connections between these incredible
technologies and improving our lives.
subconscious level, those of us who use Sametime every day –
indeed, the younger generation that uses Skype and Yahoo! and Google
Talk -- instinctually know the incredible value it brings to our
lives – the visually rich, instant communication with friends and
colleagues all over the world, and the flexibility it provides for
our work and personal lives. But how do we put ourselves in the
shoes of someone not so close to it as we are? To communicate that “why”
to the vast mass of people who may not be aware of Sametime or discount out-of-hand the business value of real-time communications?
So that's the
challenge that I, as the worldwide market segment manager for
Sametime, set for myself this year: to learn from a master like
Jean-Francois, to reading wonderful books like “Back of the Napkin”, to tell the “why” of Sametime. The product team
worked extremely hard in 2009 to improve Sametime: Sametime Unified Telephony; and Sametime 8.5 are sea-change improvements in unified communications and real-time collaboration software. My job this
year – and the help I need from you as business partners and
evangelists in your enterprises – is to now shift into that
wonderful story-telling mode. To get our prospects' eyes wide with wonder at
the possibilities Sametime can open up in our work, and personal –
I would love to
hear YOUR stories. What are your experiences, good and bad? How do you wish you COULD use Sametime? Whether through comments here, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube, WHY do you use Sametime?
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.
A new PBS Frontline documentary that airs tonight has a segment on IBM's efforts to conduct internal meetings in virtual worlds (using Virtual Collaboration for Lotus Sametime - aka Sametime 3D) and how more than 10,000 IBMers are incorporating virtual world meetings into the way they work.
Part of the IBM segment for the Digital Nation documentary was filmed from the home of Francoise LeGoues (IBM VP of Innovation Initiatives) and follows her as she participates in virtual meetings and talks about the use of virtual worlds for collaboration. Another part shows IBMers being trained on virtual world technology.
All of the "in world" scenes shot in her home office as well as the training session were done in Sametime 3D!
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.
Final reminder: Join IBM at VoiceCon Orlando 2010, at the Gaylord Palms Resort and
Convention Center in Orlando FL, March 22-25. Visit the IBM Booth at
the Expo Floor to see demonstrations of our unified communications
offerings, including IBM Lotus(r) Sametime(r), IBM Converged
Communications Services, LotusLive cloud services, Lotus Foundations
small office appliances, integration with mobile, audio and video and
IBM will also be participating in several sessions and panels as well:
Our Sametime team was very busy this week, what with our extensive presence and sponsorship at this year's event. While they're flying home and catching up, I wanted to highlight a few items of note.
Alistair Rennie's Keynote: you can see a video replay of our General Manager's keynote address here at tv.voiceCon.com (free registration required). IBM clearly differentiated around business value and process expertise, while many of the other keynotes were focused on technology nuts-and-bolts. The reaction was very positive, with the Twitterverse abuzz. My favorite one so far -- Cberndtson #voicecon IBM's Rennie: Integration is the better way. "The assets you have are valuable. They work. Why don't we just integrate them." Eric Krapf over at nojitter blog had a nice liveblog review of the keynote as well.
Sweettweets were once again a popular draw for the IBM booth. Nothing like a sugar rush to keep the conversations flowing.
IBM participated in a lot of sessions, including a few particularly contentious ones where Bruce Morse, our fearless VP of Unified Communications, and Pat Galvin, our equally fearless CTO of Unified Communications, made strong cases for open standards and interoperability (and the lack thereof, or resistance to, from some of our competition). Good write up of that in both the nojitter blog and in InformationWeek.
As our team gets back on track, I'm sure we'll have additional updates for you next week. Until then, here's the next installment of our Friday Funnies.
FaceTime just announced their new Vantage platform, the successor to IMAuditor. Vantage includes a number of new capabilities for Sametime users, including:
Support for Sametime 8.5
A new connector deployment option for Sametime
Sametime announcement logging and auditing
File transfers from Blackberry devices to Sametime can now be captured and scanned for viruses and content violations
Support for importing group chat from Sametime advanced
Compliance disclaimers, ethical walls, archiving and auditing for Sametime
The Vantage policy framework allows granular policies to be defined between groups of employees and for communications with non-employees through federation and external connections. Vantage enables the management of users outside of the organization through expanded inter-group policies, domain-based groups or through the concept of registered non-employees – protecting and restricting communications by employees with unregistered individuals.
Last week at VoiceCon, our good friends at Meridian IT Inc., announced plans for a Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) Center of Excellence.
The Meridian SUT Center of Excellence, located in Deerfield, Illinois at Meridian's IBM Business Partner Innovation Center, responds to clients’ needs for a source of expertise to integrate disparate communications and collaboration systems and teams.
The SUT Center of Excellence can eliminate risk and allow organizations to maximize the value of their current technology investment. Meridian offers IBM unified communications & collaboration expertise around solutions from Cisco, Avaya, 3Com, Polycom and others.
As an international systems integrator with offices on three continents, Meridian Group operates two IBM Business Partner Innovation Centers, one in the United States and one in Australia. These centers allow customers to experience IBM’s latest software solutions, along with voice, video and data solutions from Avaya, Cisco, 3Com, Polycom, HP, EMC and others. Offering customers 30 years’ IT experience, Meridian, as a certified top level partner with providers of solutions for the unified communications and collaboration environment, meets the technology, integration, consulting and service needs of today’s enterprises.
I've had the pleasure of representing IBM to the business partner community since 1998. As a member of the Sametime product team I get to work with those partners that build applications on top of the Sametime platform and I have the opportunity to listen to their stories and to learn about how their solutions help customers solve problems.
That's all good. The nicest part, however, is learning, first, about how our technology helps people do things better for other people and, secondly, how the power of people gets to shape business.
I met with the co-founders of Zylinc, one of our business partners from Denmark, at Lotusphere this past January. They told me the story of Sydbank, Denmark's fourth largest bank with 2,500 employees and branch offices in Germany and a subsidiary in Switzerland, and one of their customers.
With only 2,500 employees, Sydbank is a small bank compared to the three largest in Denmark or the bona fide large banks of the world. Perhaps because of its size--it may also be a Danish thing--Sydbank decided that customers should have access to virtually everyone in the organization. They decided that no call would ever go unanswered and that there will always be someone from the bank at the other end of every phone call. How about that? How many of us can say that about the banks we do business with?
Sydbank adopted Zylinc's ZyDesk Operator, a desktop switchboard that integrates Sametime presence and instant messaging, calendaring and click-to-call to give all employees the ability to pick up incoming calls from customers. The drive to make sure no call goes unanswered is such that it has transformed the bank's culture.
According to René and Thomas, the Zylinc Founders, ZyDesk is the first application Sydbank employees open when they arrive in the morning. I saw a demo of the application and I can see why: the thing is a situational awareness dashboard for customer service. It is non-intrusive and yet it provides a pretty good view of the bank's interaction with the outside world. It's not a call center application in the traditional sense but it's just as--if not more--effective.
Without having to build a costly call center in a remote country Sydbank is giving its customers something most of us don't get: real customer service. I know their use case does not apply to all banks and I'm not, by any means, attempting to diminish the importance of call centers. I'm just impressed to see the power of people at work; having all employees engaged in providing a superior customer service experience and doing it with a single tool. Moreover, I'm pleasantly surprised to see Sametime being an integral part of this story.
People are asking me about how one would integrate Sametime and the new WebSphere Application Server v7 Feature Pack for Communication-Enabled Applications (WAS 7 FP CEA). The answer is you use the new Sametime 8.5 Proxy Toolkit to aggregate the functionality at the user interface level on the Web browser and let the servers sit next to each other or, potentially, run on the same box--after all, the Sametime 8.5 Proxy server is a WAS-based REST services runtime.
A customer service scenario where a Web application provides WAS 7 FP CEA-based co-browsing and reactive click-to-call can be enriched by adding presence and instant messaging capabilities through the Sametime Proxy. Co-browsing can be greatly enhanced by giving customers the ability to chat with a specialist on the other end of the firewall when talking is not an option for whatever reason. The same goes for peer-to-peer co-browsing scenarios.
UCStrategies just published a brand new article that outlines a no-nonsense value proposition and a basic roadmap on how to partner with IBM in the new and exciting field of unified communications.
Before you go read it, though, let me say a few words about why partnering with us is better than partnering with the competition:
Business partners are an integral part of the IBM software strategy. We thrive in making software platforms and, as such, we tend to keep our platforms on the neutral side of things. Because of that, we rely on business partners to provide the necessary specialization actual solutions require to be useful. In short, you'll be treated better here.
We don't eat our partners for lunch. We either work closely with them and, in some cases, we bring them fully into the fold in a proper way.
We don't suffer from the not-invented-here syndrome. When it comes to developing cool technology we fully understand we can't come up with every single bright idea ourselves. We actually appreciate the fact that our business partners are smart cookies and we're happy to work with them when they're nice enough to let us use what they develop.
I've learned these three maxims over the last twelve years that I've worked with business partners. I think it's still true and, honestly, that's one of the reasons I like working for IBM. In a world where there's not much of it left our relationship with business partners is still based on integrity and honesty. That means a lot to me personally.
I'm sure some people out there will disagree and say we have strayed from that principle more than once. Nevertheless, I can say I've never done it--the sizable community of business partners I've worked with over the years can attest to that--and I can also say I don't know any IBMers who have done it either.
Now, if you're curious, please go take a look at the article. You can find it here.
One of the great new components of Sametime 8.5 is the Proxy Server. It let's you embed Sametime services into your web apps using standard web 2.0 tools. One of the most commonly discussed applications of the Proxy is to chat enable customer service sites to improve satisfaction and lower support costs. Well, if you want to see this in action, check out the new "Technical Support Chat" on the Lotus Support sites. You can engage with an IBM Support Engineer when creating or updating a Problem Management Records (PMRs) or reach out to the IBM Technical Support Engineer who is working with you on your open service request. Just look for this logo:
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.
A couple of days ago as I was driving to the office I was listening to a discussion on the radio about whether being always online and overloaded with information makes us more isolated or more connected. One side argued that being constantly bombarded with information from multiple sources makes us more aware but less focused and, as a result, more isolated. The other side argued that being more aware is good enough; that the nature of the work knowledge workers do does not require any kind of deep thought and that jumping from one task to another while being aware just enough to not screw something up is acceptable.
The first argument has some footing, in my opinion. Last year I did extensive research on finding ways for unified communications and collaboration tools to help address the pain points plaguing the banking industry in the face of the current economic crisis. I found that information overload breeds uncertainty and, with it, isolation. My research revealed that in cases where organizations face structural isolation uncertainty exacerbates the issues that prevent people from knowing what they need to know when they need to know it. I also found that even when structural isolation is not a problem there's a risk that information overload will cause us to just tune out and, as a result, we end up being less aware than we think we are. When we see this in the context of different areas of an organization needing to be aware of each other the result is what I called a communication dead zone.
The second argument is intriguing. It basically says that superficial awareness is the new normal. It says it's OK to know just enough to not screw up and I find this really disconcerting. It reminds me of how doctors interact with patients nowadays: they come in, skim over your chart, ask you to stick out your tongue, ask you a few questions, order a round of tests for you and they're gone; off to the next patient. That's being mildly aware for you but, hey, it is what it is.
But let me get to the title of this posting. We like to say that, in the past, people went to work and that today work comes to you. One could argue that when we went to work we were less isolated from our teammates and collaboration was the natural way to do things at work. I can see someone saying to me that being part of a virtual team scattered all over the planet makes us more isolated regardless of how many unified communications and collaboration tools we have at our disposal.
My previous job made me move to Austin. My manager at the time wanted her team to come to the office every day and to work together as much as possible. In those days our mission was to help business partners build applications on IBM middleware. The projects we worked on were complex, long, and had lots of moving parts and it made sense for us to be physically in the lab every day and to travel together when we went on site to work with partners. In those days we did not have much in the area of unified communications (Sametime 3.0 only did presence and instant messaging) and broadband was something you really came to the office for.
Then I moved overseas. I was the first member of my team to be (really) remote. In 1999 my telephony expenses were about $400 per month just for dialing three times a day for 30 minutes each time--just long enough to let Notes replicate--and to attend the few conference calls we used to have at that time.
As time went by and broadband became available work started coming to me more than it ever did.
As IBM started deploying Sametime 7.5 my phone bills went to zero and my conference calls started to multiply. Collaboration became the norm: I used to share my screen with my colleagues; I used to be on a voice chat session while logging in on remote servers; we abandoned conferencing bridges for long discussions and went with voice chat pretty much full time and things started to look more or less as they do today. I worked from my overseas home most of the time when I wasn't traveling. I came to Austin from time to time but I was not really required to anymore. The job had changed and the requirements had changed and, thanks to the new tools me and my teammates were given, we were not isolated from each other.
I must say, though, that when work came to me I had an advantage: the years coming to the office left me with good friends with whom I still get together regularly. Isolation doesn't stand a chance in the face of long-lasting friendships.
When I changed jobs and joined the Sametime team in 2008 isolation did become an issue at first even with an ever richer set of unified communications and collaboration tools. I was being bombarded with information from all sides (the whole fire hose analogy) and I was now part of a group of people who were perfect strangers to me.
I went from an outward-facing environment in which my manager's job was to shield me from the internal workings of IBM to a situation in which my job was to master those very internal workings I had comfortably ignored since 1996 when I joined the company.--I'm still working on that today.
Work came to me all right and, with it, isolation. I learned that, when work comes to you, having the latest and greatest in unified communications is not enough without a healthy dose of collaboration tools. Our humanity, the instinctive side of us recognizes one and only one kind of human touch: actual human touch. I think our primate selves cannot register a chat session or a conference call as equivalent to meeting another human in person no matter how much we try. Body language doesn't translate very well over a headset and it's arguable that even telepresence and video chat may not be enough.
What helped me get over my isolation and the fact that I was part of a team of people I knew nothing about was the collaboration bit. Unified communications by itself won't to the trick to stifle isolation in cases where there's no preceding rapport among humans. When you introduce collaboration tools as the context driving the interactions among people isolation is less likely to occur. Collaboration tools provide a catalyzer, a filter that helps us keep the focus where it should be.
Collaborative environments help us learn more about the other humans in our group and allow us to get a glimpse of the personalities. This is funny--you learn all these things not from people's body language but from the way they talk on the phone, their writing style, the way they use graphics in presentations, their style for structuring information, etc. Eventually strangers become teammates and, with a bit of luck, they may even become your friends.
In conclusion, the first argument is dead on. It happened to me. The counterargument is also right but it's not ideal. Being aware just enough to not screw things up is not a good thing. Unfortunately this is the new reality. I don't have too many chances to get together with my new teammates. They're not total strangers to me anymore but I can't say we know much about each other besides what we do at work (I do know David Marshak is also a photography aficionado).
The good news is there are ways to cope with the new reality: a healthy combination of unified communications and collaboration tools can help prevent becoming isolated. The thing is that learning to take advantage of collaboration tools takes more time than learning to use unified communications tools. All we need to do then is be aware of that fact, be patient, and, as it's printed on the cover of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "DON'T PANIC".
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.
I want to elaborate a bit on the ideas I rambled about on one of my previous posts about how UC without collaboration doesn't do the trick and how this makes IBM's vision for Communication-Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) better than our competitors'.
Humans are wired for communication. We just cannot shut up (some more than others) and that's why our brains developed the ability to create language as a coding system to express ideas. This is also the reason our bodies evolved to have the anatomical features that allow us to talk and not just grunt and howl at each other--we still do that in general but that's another story. In short, communication is natural to us and we will communicate no matter what; even when we have nothing important to say (Twitter anyone?)
Collaboration, on the other hand, is trickier. We are social animals but human nature is not necessarily wired for cooperation. Instead, we are wired for survival at a very individualistic level. Our brains have evolved to understand that cooperation is a more cost-effective way to survive than going it alone and, arguably, having learned to internalize that understanding is what makes us civilized. However, collaboration is learned behavior and that's why it doesn't come as natural as communication.
So, when we put the two together and we end up participating in a CEBP having the ability to communicate with others doesn't mean much unless we have something to talk about, i.e., a context. Some of our competitors will tell you that CEBP is all about adding voice to everything, which suits them well because they sell hardware and phones, but what do you do once you got the SIP session going? What do you say besides "Hello!"?
In my view, CEBP is as much about collaboration as it is about communication. In order to get there you need to create the conditions that will provide the context in which people will collaborate before they have anything meaningful to communicate about. This is known as Business Process Management, or BPM, and IBM is a strong player in this market.
For us, BPM is not just about automating everything and removing people from the picture. It's about optimizing and creating context. Collaboration is a new theme within BPM and there are new buzzwords such as "social BPM" and "people-centric BPM" that reflect the ways in which this may play out:. The way I see it, collaboration is the realm where people operate within an optimized business process and communication is what enables them to collaborate.
We always say we don't do just UC. Our thing is UC² (Unified Communications and Collaboration). When you do BPM+UC² you're bound to get a better CEBP as a result.
We're working with the IBM BPM team in building concrete scenarios for CEBP. We're just getting started and we're very excited about the possibilities. Stay tuned.
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 get numerous requests for references of Sametime being used in call center scenarios. We've worked with three business partners in building integrated solutions featuring Sametime for call center scenarios.
Two of them are new and are just being brought to market. The third one has been around for a while and it has already garnered many accolades and, with that, some very nice references. I'm talking about Instant Technologies' Instant Queue Manager. Check it out and, more importantly, take a look at these nice case studies.
One of our Public Relations team members, Michelle, has put together an ongoing YouTube channel, AwesomeBobcatVideos.
She puts together a wide variety of short videos that cover Enterprise
Collaboration, including Unified Communications, as well as some other
fun and intriguing videos.
The Sametime team has just joined her series. The first video our new collaboration has me at the beautiful Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, a short drive out of a foggy San Francisco and into the sunny South Bay. I talk briefly about why IBM should be considered as one of your short-list vendors for Unified Communications. You can see the video on YouTube here.
As I mentioned in a previous post, we've been working with AwesomeBobcatVideos to include Unified Communications videos in her ongoing series of short videos that cover Enterprise
Collaboration as well as other topics.
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!
Continuing our Business Partner Tuesdays series, this week we feature Dialogic. They recently announced their Dialogic(R) 2000 Media Gateway to help with the integration of PBX systems with (and through) Sametime Unified Telephony. They also have online training modules to help sales, sales engineering, and installation/support engineering teams get up to speed.
Many of you I'm sure will be, or are considering, attending Enterprise 2.0 in Boston next week. As unified communications continues to integrate more closely with the broader collaboration requirements of enterprises, this event will be sure to generate a lot of exciting conversations about the state of collaboration in general and the direction of the Web 2.0 world within the enterprise.
IBM has a sponsorship with a large, 20x20 booth including 6 pedestals staffed with product experts. The booth will cover pretty much our entire collaboration portfolio: Lotus Quickr, Lotus Connections, Mashup Center, LotusLive, Lotus Notes & Domino, Lotus Symphony, Websphere Portal, Lotus Web Content Management, Lotus Forms, Project Vulcan, and of course Lotus Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony. The exhibit hours are Tuesday, June 15 and Wednesday June 16 from 11:30 am to 6 pm. Stop by the IBM booth on Wednesday at noon to get a free book signed by
Rawn Shah, Practices Lead Social Software Enablement, IBM
In addition, we have several speakers participating:
On Monday, June 14, 4:30 - 7:00pm, don't miss IBM Evening in the Cloud. Cloud is poised to change the way we access technology - see IBM showcase their Cloud solutions and hear industry experts speak about the competitive Cloud marketplace, with Sean Poulley, VP Online Collaboration Services, IBM.
On Tuesday, June 15, 3:30-4:30pm , join Kevin Cavanaugh, VP Messaging and Collaboration, IBM for "Lotus Knows Enterprise Collaboration and Productivity"
On Wednesday, June 16, 2:15-3:15pm, join IBM for "Evolution of E2.0 at IBM: The Frustrations and the Glory", with Jeanne Murray, Program Manager, Social Software Adoption, IBM, and Rawn Shah.
On Wednesday, June 16, 3:30-4:30pm, join Dave Millen, Research Scientist, IBM, for "Social Behavior, Usage Patterns, and Adoption".
It's nice to see products evolving to become richer and to provide more value. Permessa Corp.'s IM Control for Lotus Sametime is one of those products that grows and adapts based on customer needs and, as a result, becomes more valuable with each new version.
IM Control for Lotus Sametime is a solution for compliance and policy. It's also a monitoring tool for Sametime that features four modules:
- IM Investigator for statistical reporting, - IM Monitor for health and availability--includes a plug-in for Sametime Connect and Lotus Notes, - IM Archiver for archiving (duh...) and - IM Enforcement for disclaimers, ethical firewall and content inspection.
Total Oli Trading, SA, a Permessa customer based in Switzerland is using IM Control for Lotus Sametime today. If you're interested in reading about their experience you can find their case study here.
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.
IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 is here! Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 extends the capabilities of Sametime 8.5 to additional desktop operating systems and mobile device operating systems, providing comprehensive support for all of the most popular desktop and mobile device operating systems. Following are the Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 additions:
Apple Macintosh 10.6
Linux (SLED , RHED, and Ubuntu)
Blackberry 5.0 devices
Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 devices
Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 also provides server support for the most recent release of Lotus Domino (8.5.1), with plans to provide support for the next version shortly after it is released. In addition, Lotus Sametime 8.5.1 support for Linux on IBM System z will be available approximately 60 days after electronic availability on the other platforms. You can read the complete announcement letter here.
In addition to the release of Sametime 8.5.1, we're also announcing the general availability of Sametime Unified Telephony. First made available in June 2009, IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.1 provides a unified user experience through a single Sametime Connect client, including managing telephone calls, routing calls to various devices, setting call handling rules, and telephony presence. With Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.1, you can activate these capabilities without a separate download, making it easier to deploy and use. You can read the complete announcement letter here.
And Gabriella Davis over at Turtle Partnership Blog already has a post about the announcements. Thanks, Gabriella, and good luck with your IamLUG presentation!
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.
Notabale additions are Mac and Linux desktop clients, Windows 7 client support, support for Notes and Domino 8.5.1 and 8.5.2 (when it is delivered) and a plan to add support for zLinux servers for IM and Meetings features within approx 60 days. We have also updated the mobile clients to support Blackberry 5.0 OS and Windows mobile 6.5.
We have just released the latest Lotus Sametime Advanced client plug ins that work with the Smatime 8.5.1 client. This works with the Sametime Advanced 8.0.1 server including latest hotfixes (note there is no new Sametime Advanced 8.5.1 server release). Detailed info is available in this technote
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).
Our friends over at IDoNotes and Plantronics are sponsoring a webcast this week. Tomorrow (Wednesday August 25) at 10am Central US time, please join them for How to Get the Most from your Sametime Client (A User's Perspective). Marie Scott and Tom Duff, authors of a book on this very
topic from Packt Publishing, will show you how you
can effectively collaborate with your colleagues and teammates both in
your organization and outside your organization by using the features of
Sametime. It's practical, down-to-earth, and most of all, fun! Registration is free.
The Orange County Lotus User Group has published it's upcoming activities list, which includes LUG events across California. There are three Sametime-related sessions, so if you're in any of these areas, you won't want to miss these (especially if you're going to miss the upcoming September 14 LUG webcasts we posted about earlier...)
Advanced Collaboration Made Simple with Lotus
Sametime 8.5: Tues, 10/5 at IBM San Jose at 10am
Advanced Collaboration Made Simple with Lotus
Sametime 8.5: Wed, 10/6 at IBM San Francisco at 10am
Advanced Collaboration Made Simple with Lotus
Sametime 8.5: Los Angeles (details announced next week)
Please RSVP for these
events so that the organizers can prepare properly:
Orange County Lotus Users Group Meeting Thursday,
September 16 at 10:00am - 1:00pm Location: IBM (600 Anton Blvd. Room #209, Costa Mesa, CA) FREE Lunch will be provided. So please RSVP by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
On October 8 at 11am ET, IBM will be providing a live webcast detailing the integration of IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) with Lotus Sametime. Development projects often come up short when
it comes to delivering on expected business results, and projects
often require rework or otherwise incur unanticipated costs. By combining advanced real-time collaboration capabilities with RTC's agile development environment, developers can gain instant access to
extended developer communities and information to help ensure that
projects meet their intended design points. You can go here to learn more and to register.
On October 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm (Eastern Daylight Time), please join Clifford Spinac, Technical Specialist for Lotus SUT, in a free
Webcast to learn about the deployment
options for SUT and examine the architecture behind it. Hear from an insider
about the critical points where SUT integrates with your infrastructure and why
you need to be aware of them. Cliff also reviews basic call flows and what you
need to know about how SUT manages your telephone calls.
Today and tomorrow there is an innovative virtual Lotus conference called LTAP (a virtual conference for Lotus technical and professionals users). There are many Lotus and partner speakers and two Sametime sessions featuring Rob Ingram and Marlon Machado from the Sametime team. Rob will cover whats new in Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.1 and Marlon will cover Sametime platform and industry solutions.
At 1pm ET today (Wed 27th), Rob will be joining my session live for chat and questions after the presentation. The sessions are all virtual so users can join and listen to a playback at any time.
Registration is free at this site:- http://www.ltapconference.com.
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.
For yesterday's Business Partner Tuesday I was struggling to find a topic when I read a review by Mike Nolan on FierceVoIP on the Microsoft Lync release. It struck me that many of the announcements that were being touted were similar to announcements IBM and Sametime have made with our Business Partners 12-18 months ago. There's plenty of room in this growing market, but I couldn't help myself; I just had to point out in a comment that what may be touted as new is already successfully in market with IBM and IBM Business Partners:
Thank you for the update on new UC developments. I wanted to bring to your reporters' attention that many of these developments are not new. In fact, IBM has already worked with many of these partners to develop Unified Communications solutions built on IBM Sametime. Here's just three examples of the over 400 business partners we have around unified communications:
Before Twisted Pair announced WAVE Lync Communicator, IBM business partner KITS developed Radio Connect for similar radio-frequency integration with unified communications back in November 2008 (press release), with several government customers already using the joint IBM / Radio Connect solution.
Similar to ProtoSphere's announcement of their 3-D virtual immersive environment, IBM announced back in June 2009 a Virtual Collaboration Services for Lotus Sametime. Several large customers are already using 3D immersive collaboration experience for brainstorming today.
And we've been doing cloud for some time already: IBM Business Partner Meetrix has already announced cloud and hybrid deployments of Sametime unified communications.
On November 10, the Lotus User Group hosted a Webcast by Marlon Machado, Product Manager Sametime
Platform and Solutions at IBM Lotus. The Webcast was titled "Optimize Your
Business Apps with Communications and Collaboration Services”. For those of you who could not make it, the session was recorded and is now available online for limited time, free to
LotusUserGroup.org members. You can watch it on the LotusUserGroup.org site here.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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).
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?
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.
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.
#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.
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.
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.
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.
#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:
#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:
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?
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 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?
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.
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
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.