As I blogged about on NoJitter back in June ("The Future of UC is Social" --> http://www.nojitter.com/blog/229900178?queryText=the+future+of+UC+is+social ), I disagree with the premise that it's either UC or social collaboration, but not both. Enterprises for some time have been asking to make UC part of a broader collaboration environment, including newer collaboration capabilities such as blogs, wikis, forums and communities. Users want a variety of tools to use, and more importantly, the ability to pivot between various tools depending on the circumstances they're in, and from the applications and environments they're working from, whether business process applications, mobile device, e-mail client, web application, etc. And many analysts have been seeing the same thing; I believe Gartner just recently said by 2014 more than 20% of business users will use social networks as their primary communication hubs, and separately said that the distinction between UC and collaboration will disappear altogether by 2013.
I also believe that, while many recent UC startups and cloud offerings in the consumer space are spurring innovation, the levels of security, policy management and other administration features demanded by enterprises are going to stay out of reach for many consumer-focused UC and collaboration vendors -- cloud or on premises. Social collaboration, including voice and video, generates a certain level of agida on the part of enterprise Legal, IT, and Finance that has to be addressed by any serious vendor.
And Microsoft and Cisco are by no means the only vendors integrating social collaboration with unified communications. IBM has been doing this at least since the launch of IBM Connections several years ago. Integration with other IBM applications as well as with best-of-breed applications and platforms through open standards-based APIs, has been the hallmark of the IBM approach for some time.
The Sametime Blog
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  uc social-uc tmc response social blog ucc 2 Comments 4,816 Visits
In response to a post today on TMC, "Did Social Just Make UC Irrelevant?", I commented:
What do you think? How fast do you think UC is merging with other collaboration tools? What are examples in your environments where this is -- or isn't -- happening?
Marlon Machado 100000PEST email@example.com Tags:  podcast lotusphere ls11 ucc 2 Comments 2,304 Visits
If you want a quick overview of the many sessions covering UCC at Lotusphere 2011 you may want to listen to "Lotusphere Preview: Unified Communications and Collaboration", a new podcast hosted by Caleb Barlow, John Del Pizzo and David Marshak with the participation of the presenters (including yours truly) telling us about their sessions, what to expect, and why you should attend. Here's the link to it.
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  business-partner ucc headsets bp unified-communications plantronics uc bp-tuesday 1 Comment 2,598 Visits
For today's entry in the ongoing Business Partner Tuesday series, own own Marlon Machado guest posts on the Plantronics blog. "On Old, New and Simple" is a neat discussion on user interfaces and why they're important. It also ties into today's Plantronics announcement of new plug-ins for Sametime. We'd love to hear your comments, either there or here.
Lisa D Harris 0600018H1K LHARRIS2@US.IBM.COM Tags:  press_release ucc enterprise_connect sametime telephony shoretel soco 3,045 Visits
I'm excited to let you know that today at Enterprise Connect, ShoreTel announced the general availability of ShoreTel Communicator for IBM Sametime!
ShoreTel Communicator combines the power of ShoreTel’s IP telephony and unified messaging with the real-time capabilities of Sametime. It integrates into both IBM Sametime and Lotus Notes and providing many great features such as tightly integrated visual voice mail and remote call control with user's contacts and calendar. There's also an option to “camp on” when a colleague is on the phone or has an unavailable presence, letting the system notify you when the person becomes available.
Read more about it here in their press release as well as a great customer success story with FIDM:
Lisa D Harris 0600018H1K LHARRIS2@US.IBM.COM Tags:  ucoms connections social bundle ucc sametime 7,730 Visits
It is here! Your social business blueprint!
I am happy to announce to my Sametime friends and family the IBM Connections Suite v1.0! Today we announced an important bundle that brings together what your organization needs to optimize on the latest evolution in communication. Social Communication.
Today's world necessitates a social business. Social Communications makes it happen. Social Communications is not only the unification of social software and unified communications and collaboration but together creates a powerful new form of communication greater than the sum of its parts. It moves us beyond simple presence - beyond finding an expert and leveraging their static published content - shifting the focus to both relevance and real time engagement. Thus, it goes beyond an expertise search, beyond just reaching someone because they are available. For example, not only can you see what someone knows but also easily see validation by others - usage of their files by others (number of downloads, comments), how many people follow them, and what comments and questions have been left on their profile.
The IBM Connections Suite combines IBM Sametime Advanced, IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client, and IBM Connections with Community Custom Libraries powered by IBM FileNet, to provide exceptional value in built-for-business integrated social software complete with robust document management yielding a real-time social communications platform. With this bundle see a users static content, collaborate asynchronously or engage real-time with the relevant expert with text, voice or video.
Wouldn't this be a cool broadcast announcement to send to my IBM Sametime Blog Community? And that community is also the same community in IBM Connections' Communities where we work on activities together, have a forum, and share files? Just a simple example.
Check out these demo's in Luis Benitez's blog : http://www.lbenitez.com/2012/05/announcing-ibm-connections-suite-sweet.html
Read more in our official announcement here : http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_ca/7/897/ENUS212-087/index.html&lang=en&request_locale=en
Extractions from the Announcement letter :
IBM Connections capabilities:
IBM Lotus Quickr Connectors
IBM Sametime Advanced :
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client license enables the Sametime Connect rich client software to make and receive telephony and video calls when configured with a certified telephony or audio video environment.
In addition to the rich set of social collaboration capabilities independently offered by IBM Connections and IBM Sametime, IBM Connections Suite V1.0 allows you to take advantage of existing points of integration.
Here are a few examples of how these products can be used together:
From IBM Sametime
From within your IBM Connections environment
From a user's IBM Connections business card in the IBM Sametime rich client chat window
From within an IBM Connections community
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A email@example.com Tags:  uc elite ucc ucoms voyager-pro award sametime headset plantronics 3,694 Visits
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 that vein, and continuing today's features of IBM Business Partners for unified communications, I wanted to shout out my congratulations to Plantronics for winning the Elite International Design competition for their Voyager PRO UC headset. This particular bluetooth headset is designed to work with IBM Sametime. And when combined with their recently updated IBM Lotus Award winning Plantronics Plug in for Sametime, it offers additional Call control features to further improve the end user’s mobility and productivity on premise or in the Cloud.
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.
If you happen to use the headset, Plantronics is always looking for feedback; just blog your response at http://pltx1.com/on-the-record/ or tweet to @Plantronics. And for a full view of latest Plantronics UC Devices Bluetooth , Wireless, Corded and Speakerphone - all built for IBM Sametime - download the PDF here.
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  translation ucc ucoms enterprise-im geofluent uc lionbridge sametime 9,146 Visits
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:
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.
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A email@example.com Tags:  ucc business ucaas ucoms collaboration social-business fisma uc social cloud 3,441 Visits
IBM today announced new cloud-based collaboration services to help U.S. Federal government organizations reap the benefits of social computing. The new set of social collaboration services, including IBM Sametime, delivered on IBM's Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)-compliant Federal Community Cloud, addresses the administration's drive to adopt a "cloud-first" policy which is designed to help the government improve its overall IT efficiency and delivery of services to citizens. By having Sametime as part of a FISMA-compliant environment, IBM is able to provide a roadmap for unified communications as a service for those organizations looking for FISMA-compliant delivery.
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  uc2 unified-communications ibm-connections ucoms ibm-sametime uc ucc 3,039 Visits
Following up from our July 18 Business Partner session on Living Social with UC, I modified our presentation a bit to make it a more general story on how unified communications can work together with Enterprise 2.0 capabilities to help your enterprise become a social business. The benefits of both together really are a 1+1 > 2 story. I would very much appreciate your feedback, as this is the first time I've personally posted a presentation to SlideShare.
David Marshak 110000JUXV email@example.com Tags:  unified communications android ucoms ipad uc2 iphone ucc blackberry mobile sametime 5,575 Visits
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.
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  consultant ucoms unified ibm business-partner-tuesdays communications integrator reseller ucc telephony sametime channel systems 3,193 Visits
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.
Brian Cuppett from Scan Source
Phil Salm from CDW
Jeff Stillings from Jabra
Rex Harris from Audiocodes
Tim Ross from Interactive Intelligence
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A email@example.com Tags:  sametime unified ucoms news informationweek communications eweek ucc 2,832 Visits
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.
InformationWeek discusses IBM Business Partner Vidyo offering videoconferencing capabilities for Lotus Sametime comparable to Cisco Telepresence.
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  ucc unified-communications #ucoms gartner blogs nojitter uc 3,557 Visits
I'm probably a little late to this particular debate, seeing that it started on November 9. The CRM Magazine Blog highlighted a debate going on, started by Nick Jones over at Gartner, asserting that unified communications is a Big Vendor Scam. What I found interesting was Mr. Jones' relating UC vendors Cisco and Microsoft as "dinosaurs in a world of fast-moving furry mammals":
I have several problems with his argument:
Perhaps it's IBM's different viewpoint on unified communications. We're not looking at it as if it were a single stack of capabilities - there are simply too many different capabilities involved and the mix of what's important is unique to each enterprise. That's why we take an open platform approach vs. a single-stack approach. So that we can learn from, and integrate with these fast-moving furry mammals. Consumer technologies do tend to be leading indicators of where enterprise technologies are going, so it's very important keep an eye on what's happening there. And an open platform approach where you can (quickly) integrate these new capabilities can only help.
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A email@example.com Tags:  news blogs ucc press uc2 uc-news-roundup uc 2,533 Visits
As one of the SametimeBlog managers, I'm always looking for more conversation opportunities with you, our readers. So in addition to our Business Partner Tuesdays and Friday Funnies sections, today I'm introducing a new, hopefully weekly every Friday, the IBM UC News Roundup. We'll bring you a summary of IBM- and Unified Communications-related stories in the press and blogosphere, and add our own thoughts as well.
Hopefully you find this new section valuable. As always, we thank you for making us part of your regular reading, and looking forward to your comments, questions, and conversation.
Although not technically in the week of August 2, the big story, of course, is today's article in CIO.com, "IBM to Accelerate Mobile Unified Communications". IBM continues to see Unified Communications, and mobility, as very important components of the collaboration market, and it was nice for our General Manager, Alistair Rennie, and Rob Ingram, our senior offerings manager, to talk to CIO Magazine about these trends and where IBM plays. Don Van Doren, a principal with Unicomm Consulting, had some nice things to add to the article as well:
"Van Doren also ranks IBM as being far ahead in its social networking software for business with Lotus Connections tied into presence and with its capabilities for mining information within the corporate network to enhance finding the right people for specific tasks. "They've been working on this four or five years," he says. "Cisco is just starting to do it...[and] IBM is aligned to do well in battling its primary competitor, Microsoft, [says Don Van Doren]"
And Alistair also linked in the coming 4G deployments as well:
"Over time, as businesses deploy 4G handhelds, IBM will fully support mobile collaboration "on the mobile device of choice" and treat the collaboration features as services, not a stack of available features but an always-available set of tools, Rennie said."
There were two stories we followed this past week. Following a blog post from Gartner’s Craig Roth on Project Northstar, IT Business Edge blogger Loraine Lawson has chosen to continue the discussion, focusing on Project Northstar as IBM’s “Grand Theory.” Overall, Lawson is supportive of the technology, particularly it's promise to integrate unified communications and other collaborative tools and capabilities. We, of course, whole-heartedly agree:
And this one is particularly nice, because it promises to integrate across unified communications, social software, mobile technology and rich media, Roth writes. IBM includes an even more exciting integration story among its five key NorthStar principles…”
UCStrategies published a podcast with IBM's Caleb Barlow discussing IBM Lotus Foundations and its integration with ShoreTel. A key element of providing unified communications to Small and Medium Business (SMB) is a focus on lower up-front investments in both capital and IT resources. The needs of SMBs might be similar to larger enterprises, but the resources are usually more constrained. The IBM Foundation for Smart Business program and products are exactly about that, and UC is definitely part of the mix:
...The Foundations appliance out of the box: it’s a file server, print server, web server, mail server, anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall, VPN, you get the idea...
And that's this week's roundup.
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  ucoms survey wainhouse business ucc uc research 2,165 Visits
Just a quick reminder to our Sametime audience. As we blogged about a month ago, our friends over at Wainhouse Research are still soliciting responses to their 2010 Unified Communications and Collaboration End User Survey. Your responses will help develop a clearer understanding of the unified communications marketplace. This survey should take 5 - 8 minutes to complete! And as an added bonus for your time, Wainhouse will select ten respondents to win a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate. Hurry: the survey closes July 30!