See what happens when you post3 timesin one day? You forget to post for 6! Seriously, though, we've been reading some of the stories that have come out since our announcements over the past 2 weeks. Here's just a few excerpts from some of those stories.
On May 25, Robbie Pleasant over at UCStrategies.com posted IBM Releases Sametime 8.5.2. It included 2 quotes from industry analysts, including Dave Michels and Marty Parker:
"SUT takes a very different approach to voice by integrating with the PBX behind the scene," says Dave Michels,
UCStrategies UC Expert. "The key advantage is an organization with
multiple voice solutions can provide a consistent user experience.
"With these enhancements, IBM is focusing on continued growth in social
networks and IM, on mobility and video as new modes and media, and on
ease of adoption of Sametime as the enterprise communication interface
for most job types and roles." - Marty Parker, Principal Unicomm Consulting.
There was also a writeup in Network World, IBM Improves Sametime Platform, noting the many enhancements to the unified communications and collaboration software including audio and video conferencing and new mobile support:
Android users will now be able to monitor presence, access instant messaging (including background notification of new messages), use a new text to speech application that lets the Android device read Sametime messages, and take / send photos from the chat window or from the user's photo library.
No Jitter, while not explicitly discussing Sametime 8.5.2, does discuss how IBM's unified communications (UC) strategy has helped us evolve into a social business. The article notes that many UC vendors have been adding social capabilities and integrations into their products, but IBM is the company that stands out with the most social networking capabilities and features.
...the one company that stands out is IBM. They were an early entrant to the social scene, and coined the term "Social Business." IBM has embraced the slogan “Get Social: Do Business,” and backed it up with more social networking capabilities and features than their competitors...IBM's strategy is based on the idea of raising the "big tent" and supporting all vendor PBX implementations.
In the same vein, IBM Germany blogger Stefan Pfeiffer, guest blogging on Silicon.de, posted about his use of social networking as a mobile worker for IBM. Stefan joined IBM through the FileNet acquisition, and since that time has become a member of IBM's mobile workforce using instant messaging, sharing files, bookmarks and collaborating with colleagues through wikis and blogs. Stefan discusses his use of social for collaborating with business partners, customers and prospects, and the self discipline required when working from home (actual text in German).
In case you missed it, Caleb and I did a podcast with Sennheiser last Friday. The podcast is available on blogtalkradio. In the discussion, Lars shared with us how their headsets help improve the unified communications experience in your corporate environments so you can look at your computer, or mobile phone, as a credible replacement for your desk phone. And you can also use these headsets for your casual listening pleasure...
Sametime, since the 7.5 days, has allowed users to access its basic presence and chat features from a variety of mobile devices. It allows us mobile people to not only reach others in an effective manner (it seems I am constantly getting off a plane and seeing who is available to me right now to deal with whatever issues are top of mind). But it also gives others more accurate information about when and how I can be reached... making presence a universal dial-tone, rather than one that is accurate only when I am at my desktop.
Sametime 8.5.2 extends native presence/chat to new platforms...specifically the great variety of Android devices that are sweeping the marketplace and filling our pockets and briefcases. And you Apple fan boys and girls (I am now officially one, having gotten my first Mac and iPhone within the last month) will see enhanced capabilities on iOS in the near future...watch this space!
But Sametime 8.5.2 goes beyond adding Android and paving the way for iOS devices. It is the beginning of a whole new approach to our increasingly mobile world. For example, we mobile folks can not only do IM functions, but Sametime meetings can now be attended from the mobile devices -- first from Blackberry, with Android and iOS to follow (you just have to experience a Sametime Web Conference on an iPad!)...watch this space!
With Sametime 8.5.2 we even have SUT on mobile devices. Previously, your mobile phone could certainly be a preferred device, with calls being routed to it by Sametime-contextual rules (geographic location, availability, etc.). And you could move calls to you mobile phone (and back again) from any other device. And you could even click-to-call someone and have your mobile phone be the one you use to talk and listen. However, you could not initiate an SUT call from the mobile phone (this was possible only from the Sametime desktop client). With the Sametime 8.5.2 native Android client, SUT users can initiate a call to any Sametime contact, Android contact, or phone number. This call is actually handled by SUT, ringing back the caller on the mobile phone and then completing the call to the other party. The advantages are: The caller shows as "on the phone" to other Sametime users The incoming caller ID shown is the caller's SUT unified number (not the mobile carrier number) Enterprise dial plans can be used for least-cost routing and roaming/toll charge avoidance
Of course, if you are interested in SUT calling capabilities on iOS...watch this space!
Finally, there are a couple of features of the Sametime 8.5.2 native mobile client that are particularly significant. These include using the phone's GPS for (optionally) showing location, converting incoming text chats to speech (e.g., when you are driving), and taking a picture with the mobile phone and including it in the chat you have with another Sametime user. This last capability, while not earth-shattering in itself, may be the most significant one we have ever delivered in Sametime mobile. That is because historically our mobile apps tried to emulate what you do on the desktop...taking into account mobile form factor and connectivity. The add photo to chat feature is the first one that rather than taking a desktop collaboration feature and adding it to mobile, takes a mobile feature and uses it for collaboration. This indeed is the hallmark of the new era of mobile UCC.
Yesterday as part of the IBM Sametime 8.5.2 release, we introduced the IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client (aka "SUT Lite Client") This offering provides an exciting opportunity for customers to start down the UC path. This new communication option, lets users make and receive voice and video calls from their desktops using the Sametime Connect Client as a rich, standards-based audio/video softphone.
As a video endpoint, the SUT Lite client allows users to make and receive video calls with other video end-points, including conference rooms and telepresence systems, other software clients, desktop and deskside video hardware units, and video media control units (MCUs). Using video conferencing can reduce the need for face to face meetings, thus reducing the loss in productivity and costs of travel, and enabling more engaged interaction than a audio-only experience. As this is enabled from the Sametime Connect client, the users access this added functionality as part of the same familiar Sametime UC experience
Likewise, for voice calls, SUT Lite client acts as a softphone that can be used from virtually anywhere a user has internet connectivity. On the road, making calls directly from the computer can reduce costs by avoiding long distance charges, cellular costs, including roaming costs which can be quite high when traveling internationally.
Users have easy access to softphone controls including incoming call notification, click2call, dial, hang-up, volume control, and mute. As users need the features of a full SUT license (move calls from device to device, single-number reach based on location and context, visual conferencing, etc.), they can upgrade without major changes to the user experience.
The IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client is easy to deploy and does not require any additional hardware or software over Sametime Standard. It simply requires a SIP trunk to be configured between the Sametime Media Manager and a certified SIP environment.
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.
Every so often I am asked why I blog about changes in the Sametime Product Management team. I think it's important that our customers and partners know who we are and how to connect with us. IBM is a big organization and finding the right people isn't always as straightforward as it could be. So, with that, let me introduce you to some new folks and outline new roles for a few of the old hands.
Julie Reed takes over as Product Manager for
Sametime Unified Telephony and all voice and video in
Sametime Standard / Advanced. Julie joins us from the IBM Mid Market organization where she ran the Smart Business offering team. Previously, she spent six years as Director of Development for Genesys Conferencing and held leadership positions in the development organizations of Nitix and Lotus Foundations. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at keegers.
Marc Pagnier is our new Offering Manager for Sametime Cloud Solutions. He'll be
responsible for accelerating Sametime's progression into the cloud -
LotusLive, IBM GTS and Partner-hosted private clouds, and service
providers. Marc also came to us from the Smart Business team where he drove appliance solutions around IBM Cognos and hybrid (on-premises / cloud) collaboration solutions. Before that, he had been a Senior Product Manager on the IBM Connections and Quickr teams. Marc's email is email@example.com and his Twitter ID is mpagnier.
Many of you already know Marlon Machado, a frequent blogger here over the last two years. In January, Marlon took over as Product Manager for the core Sametime portfolio - Entry Standard and Advanced. In addition to his PM role, he'll still have a hand in driving UC capabilities into other IBM offerings (Websphere BPM, Cognos, etc) and Smarter Planet solutions. His contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org and clevershutter on Twitter.
Lisa Harris joined us 7 months ago as the Sametime Offering Manager. She owns Sametime pricing, packaging, licensing and most of the "business end" of product management for the on-premises portfolio. A note to IBM sellers...if you think you could sell that much more Sametime if we only changed the [fill in the blank]... talk to Lisa. :-) Her email is email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter at ld_harris.
David Marshak, the former Product Manager for both Sametime and Sametime Unified Telephony (ie: the guy who knows where all the bodies are really buried), is now our Senior Strategist. While the rest of us are focused on driving the next release, David will be mapping out where we need to be in 3-5 years and how to get there. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: davidmarshak.
You may have noticed that I left Rob Ingram off the roster. Rob has taken on a new challenge for IBM, driving mobile strategy for all of Lotus/ICS. Given the importance of mobility to unified communications, we still talk to him on a practically daily basis... so he's not far.
Please welcome Julie and Marc and don't hesitate to contact any of us.
Following up to our earlier post from UC Summit 2011 linking to Caleb Barlow's podcast interview, the folks over at UC Strategies have now posted
IBM's Tuesday Keynote Session. Caleb talks about some of the key trends
that are impacting the Unified Communications marketplace, and how UC
enables you to become a more social business. Your feedback is always
Not only am I catching up from Enterprise Connect 2011, but also from another excellent Unified Communications industry event that IBM attended recently, the UC Summit 2011. Much like Enterprise Connect and Lotusphere, we remembered to bring our video cameras to record some video of IBM Business Partners, and industry pundits, on what they were up to at the Summit, and what was on their minds when it came to IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration solutions and IBM Sametime. Here's a few videos for your viewing pleasure.
At TeamPolycom 2011 last week, it was announced that IBM had won the Polycom Open Collaboration Network Partner of the year - North America - award! This is in recognition of our work as one of their key business partners, and of course of the great work our business development and product development teams have done. This is great recognition that IBM Sametime can be a first class participant in meetings using a Polycom MCU or a Polycom end point. The award comes with a nice trophy that we've taken a picture of, above. You can read more about the awards on Polycom's website here.
Don’t miss our upcoming Webcast for Lotus IT professionals, presented by David
Price, IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration Practice Manager at Meridian
IT, sponsored by Meridian IT and Plantronics. Register Here.
Whether you’re just thinking about deploying or just curious about the benefits
to your company, you’ll want to check out this Webcast from David Price of
Meridian IT. Meridian has been certified by the leading communications and
collaborations vendors such as Plantronics, IBM, Cisco, Tandberg, Radvision,
Shoretel and Polycom and has in-the-trenches experience with Sametime and SUT
roll-outs. This presentation will feature real world examples of what they’ve
seen and what you should know as a Lotus admin, voice architect, systems
engineer or IT manager. You’ll hear how IBM's offerings differ from traditional
telephony vendors and you’ll get first-hand tips on what you should expect when
working with system integrator. David will demonstrate ways to lower your
investment, improve collaboration, and enable your work force to operate
remotely with optimum productivity. Plus, you’ll come away with the knowledge to
effectively communicate the benefits of SUT to others in your company, including
As you saw from our posts this week, we've been busy at Enterprise Connect. All in all a good show, attendance was up, and we had some solid traffic and conversations in the booth and in the panels we participated in. We'll hopefully have a summary for you tomorrow or early next week.
In the meantime, the press continues to highlight IBM unified communications. The latest two articles cover the growing importance of both social business and video collaboration, two areas where Sametime and IBM participate strongly. eWeek published an article on Socialtext's integration with IBM Lotus Sametime allowing customers to conduct real-time, one-to-one chats with their business contacts:
Socialtext 4.6 now integrates with IBM Lotus Sametime and Microsoft Office Communicator instant messaging products to allow customers to conduct real-time, one-to-one chats with their business contacts. Sametime and Communicator join AIM Yahoo and Skype as instant messaging tools Socialtext supports.
IBM has announced a Vidyo plug-in for Lotus SameTime that it claims offers videoconferencing capabilities comparable to Cisco Telepresence. Vidyo calls it "personal telepresence," and it may soon be available on your desktop, if you're a user of IBM's Lotus SameTime. "Just as SameTime users can go into a voice communication from an IM chat session they'll be able to do HD-quality multi-point videoconferencing," said Vidyo director of product marketing Mark Noble.
As you may know, I demonstrated our recent integration with Ion Objects at Lotusphere. I blogged about it way back in December and I got a few questions from some of you about the integration. I showed the integration live at the Sametime pedestal at Lotusphere and we're going to do the same at Enterprise Connect. This time, though, we're going to demonstrate the integration at the CEBP pedestal.
John Kotch, Founder and Chief architect of Ion Objects is going to stop by the CEBP pedestal throughout the week to hang out and talk about the many cool CEBP applications they're planning to offer their customers now that Sametime is just another object in their framework.
Make sure to stop by the CEBP pedestal if you want to learn more. Here's a short overview of the integration: