Here’s the official versions from IBM. First, Sametime:
IBM Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1 extends unified communications to Apple iOS and Google Android operating system devices and delivers significant new features to IBM Sametime Advanced
IBM Sametime provides a core set of real-time communication services designed to help make your social business actionable. Sametime can help teams organize quickly and respond with unprecedented speed and can help unified communications become a core part of your enterprise’s social business strategy.
IBM Sametime 8.5.2 Interim Feature Release (IFR) 1 further extends unified communications to new mobile devices and adds additional social collaboration capabilities.
IBM Sametime Standard 8.5.2 IFR 1 adds:
- A new native Instant Messaging client for Apple iPhone and iPad devices that includes a dialer for Sametime Unified Telephony licensed users
- New browser-based meeting participation on Google Android tablets and Apple iPads
- New Sametime meeting room features and options such as Active Speaker indication
- New platform support including Mac OS X 10.7, Domino 8.5.3, Internet Explorer 9, and Firefox 6 and 7
In addition to the enhancements in Sametime Standard, Sametime Advanced 8.5.2 IFR 1 also includes:
- Offline messaging
- Multi-file and folder transfer to individuals
- File transfers to multiple people simultaneously
- Organizational tree view
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.2 IFR 1 provides new flexibility with a native Apple iOS client and server virtualization
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony is a telephony middleware application designed to provide advanced unified communications capabilities without the need to consolidate telephony infrastructure on a single vendor. Users benefit from a single, unified phone number and intelligent call routing based on location, presence, time of day, and caller ID. Ease of use includes click-to-call, click-to-conference, rich call control, along with an intuitive softphone built into the Sametime experience.
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.2 Interim Feature Release (IFR) 1 delivers additional deployment flexibility with:
- A new Sametime client for Apple iOS devices that includes a dialer to initiate Sametime Unified Telephony calls
- Support for virtualization of the IBM Sametime Unified Telephony servers
Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client now supports IBM Sametime Standard and Sametime Advanced 8.5.2 IFR 1.
Clearly, this new IFR 1 fix is essential to the operation of the new clients, so that’s going to be first thing to get done before your users start to download and use the client. I’m already really impressed by the new Sametime native app for iOS and it looks as though the team has followed a similar model to the IBM Connections mobile clients – make the best use of the features of the mobile Web UI (thus making it easier to update centrally) whilst adding mobile functionality in the native app (uploading pictures etc).
Also of note, new support for OS X Lion, Domino 8.5.3 and latest versions of IE and Firefox. So this small IFR 1 fixpack looks to be a very big deal!
Ed Brill has previously discussed the upcoming IBM Sametime native mobile client for iOS.
It is now available in the App Store:
We are very excited to bring you the IBM Sametime Mobile Client for iOS! This gives you access to IBM’s award-winning platform for Unified Communications on today’s hottest devices – the iPhone and iPad. The client gives you the following cool features :
● 1/1 and Group chat
● Send and receive photos
● Background message notification
● Search corporate directory for a contact
● Search contact list by name or number
● Broadcast announcements
● Customized presence status
● Chat history
● View your contact list by groups, favorites, or all contacts view.
● Add new individual contacts or groups
● Robust Business Card
● Easily import Sametime contacts into your Apple iPhone contact list.
● Manage application preferences from the Apple iPhone device settings.
● Interface is automatically optimized for the iPhone or iPad.
If you are a Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) user, you also get the following from your iOS device:
● A dial pad to place calls with SUT
● Click to call
● Receive incoming SUT calls
● Your off the hook telephony presence is reflected to desktop rich client users
● Keep your cell number private! Recipient’s caller ID shows up as your SUT number.
● Control call routing rules and
● Set preferred device for receiving your SUT calls.
We’ve been looking for a native means to manage Sametime access on iPhones and iPads for a long time (the Sametime 8.5 release has a mobile web UI), and this looks to be the answer we’ve been waiting for:
I’m particularly excited about the mix of Sametime and Sametime Unified telephony integration in the app, and alos the fact that it is iPad optimised from day one:
One detail to note is the requirement for a specific fix pack on your Sametime servers:
*The IBM Sametime Mobile Client for iOS devices requires the Sametime 8.5.2 IFR 1 Proxy Server to be deployed in your infrastructure environment. Please contact your IT department to validate this is the case.*
Download the new Sametime iOS client from the App Store now!
One definition of ‘Lite’ = ‘a simplified or less challenging version’
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client 8.5.2 simplifies telephony integration into a social business environment
IBM Sametime Unified Telephony Lite Client 8.5.2 simplifies telephony integration into a social business environment as an excellent entry point to step into a full unified communications solution:
- A new licensing option that enables telephony and video calls from the Sametime software already installed on your desktop with minimal infrastructure requirements.
- Users can make and receive calls to phone numbers, video conferencing systems or video conferencing end points right from their desktop. Instantly boost your ROI on tele-presence systems, by promoting the utilization of existing video conferencing systems with an easy way to dial into a system and engage in a compelling video conference.
- Helps reduce telephony costs with IP Telephony, by eliminating the need for desk phone expenditures, home office lines, land line long distance and cellular long distance and domestic and international roaming charges. As adoption spreads, costs continue to decline, allowing you to redirect budget to other projects.
- Leverages Sametime’s new intelligent name and number recognition inside the text chat window to make it easier to reach out to others with just a click.
Announced and available today, this is a brand new lower-infrastructure variant of Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT).
The details on the web are still a little sketchy – there is this announcement letter, a product page and detailed system requirements. Also a wiki page listing the telecomms partner solutions that are certified to work with SUT Lite.
There seems to be some confusion (at least in my mind) as to whether the full SUT infrastructure is required – the announcement letter mentions it as a licensed part, but the other resources do not. If SUT Lite indeed gives fully integrated telephony within Sametime Connect using just SIP with VOIP solutions, then this could be a very big deal. I know a lot of customers who want Unified Comms but could never stretch to SUT. This might be the answer.
if you know more about SUT Lite and can fill in the gaps, please add let us know in a comment!
For a very long time now, Lotus Sametime customers have been asking for integration with MSN Messenger. Whilst the Sametime Gateway product has been able to connect with AIM and GTalk for a long while, integration with MSN has not been forthcoming.
This hasn’t changed, but the good news is that there is now a plug-in available to bring MSN contacts within the Sametime Connect client:
Often, due to organisational security policies, communication with external IM is considered a breach of the organisational IT policy. With Web 2.0 and social networking beginning to become more and more rampant, IT staff need to find a balance between providing such secured connectivity to their users.
YES! The Lotus Sametime Plugin to MSN (developed byStartin Point Pte Ltd) provides organisation with a Secured Internal IM and Secured connectivity to external IM such as MSN.
The main objectives of plugin are as follows:-
Allow the IBM Lotus Sametime Connect Client to have connectivity to MSN.
To ensure that all communication to MSN is secured, auditable and logged.
Clustering support for High-Volume users
Enable / Disable File Transfer
All conversation are audited
This video shows how the plug-in operates:
The plug-in is available from the IBM Lotus and WebSphere Portal Business Solutions Catalog. I can see a number of organisations that we work with loving this so will be downloading and installing it in our test suite. Give it a go!
Now this will be an interesting call, particularly given how complex the Sametime 8.5 product is perceived to be:
You are invited to participate in an IBM Open Microphone call with IBM subject matter experts to discuss planning for deployment of Lotus Sametime 8.5 (namely, deployment considerations, install planning, and upgrade considerations).
Title: Open Mic: Planning for deployment of Lotus Sametime 8.5
Date: January 27, 2010
Time: 10:00 a.m. eastern standard time (EST) [15:00 GMT]
Toll free US: 1-866-803-2143
Toll call US: 1-210-795-1098
International Numbers: Within the announcement
The Sametime team plans to host a series of these calls around the Sametime 8.5 product. Some of the future topics considered include: Install, Configuration, Administration, and so on. As these calls are scheduled, we will send announcements to this distribution list.
The IBM Open Mic calls are intended to provide you the opportunity to interact directly with the IBM Lab developing IBM software products, namely Lotus Sametime 8.5 in this case, to have product questions answered.
We announce a topic for each call in order to ensure we have the appropriate expertise available to participate. Questions outside the announced topic area will only be answered if time allows and to the extent we have the appropriate expertise represented. Questions should be of general interest and by their nature help you install, configure, manage or optimize your environment or processes. Troubleshooting of specific problems should still be handled by Technical Support, not by Open Mic calls.
The format of the call will be discussion-based question and answer. There is no formal presentation. After a brief introduction, the call moderator will lead a Question and Answer session, so please bring your questions to the call, or submit them in advance by using the Sametime forum on developerWorks with a category of “OpenMic” or direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will collect questions that have been posted to the forum and address as many of them as possible on the call. We will also take questions not submitted in advance.
If you are interested in learning more about Sametime 8.5 product before joining this call, refer to the Sametime 8.5 Information Center.
Those that follow me on Twitter, via this blog or have seen my comments on other blogs will know that I have had a significant issue with IBM’s external Sametime service for a number of years. Also, may of you will be aware that I am not alone in this – other bloggers of note have made it very clear that IBM’s support for this service has fallen short.
Well, ExtST.ibm.com is intended to be a Sametime community that anyone worldwide can connect to (customers, partners, analysts, press etc), simply by pointing their Sametime client or Notes-embedded Sametime client at extst.ibm.com (port 80, direct connection not HTTP) and logging in via their IBM ID and password (used for Partnerworld, Passport Advantage, trial downloads etc). IBM users can then be added as contacts by entering their email addresses into the Add Contact dialog. When it works, its brilliant – one can reach any IBMer that uses Sametime in real-time, with no gatekeepers, receptionists or additional information required.
Unfortunately, there have been plenty of issues along the way. The service has been pretty unreliable with extended periods of outage, it has been stuck on an ancient version of Sametime (v3, believe it or not) and so most modern features of Sametime are not supported, and more importantly, the most recent versions of Sametime and Notes (particularly on Mac and Linux) have not been supported as the server is locked down to certain supported versions of the client.
So, its been a great service that has been massively hindered by lack of investment and support by the IBM organisation.
So, what’s changed?
I am pleased to say that whilst not every issue with the service has been corrected and will be perfect from this day forth, IBM has made a significant investment over the past two months into recognising the problems, listening to the users, and improving the system – I cannot over-emphasise the change I’ve seen from those that support this service – it is practically a 180degree turn in attitude toward the importance of the ExtST service.
Commitments have been made to bring the service up to the current release of Sametime in the short- to medium-term, and many more people within IBM and Lotus are aware of how important this service is to partners and customers alike.
‘That’s all very well’ I can hear you say, but what has actually been changed?
Well, as of the weekend just passed, both Lotus Sametime 8.0.2 and Lotus Notes 8.5.1 are officially enabled on the ExtST service. Yes, that’s right! The current shipping versions of both Sametime and Notes are both enabled for access. Woohoo!
On a personal level
I am very very pleased at IBM’s response at this time. Whilst there is no doubt that there has been a lack of focus on this in the past, there are key IBMers (Matthew, Brandon and Jeri – that’s you…) working very very hard to improve the system now, and I appreciate all that they are doing.
For today, I can simply say that no longer will I have to run Sametime 8.0.0 on my Mac to keep access to ExtST – that alone is enough to make a grown man cry!
Many of the readers of this blog will have seen Sametime 3D demonstrated in the Innovation Lab at Lotusphere2009, or if not, may have seen a presentation on YouTube – I blogged about it back in March.
Today at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, Sametime 3D will be announced as a product available for purchase, Virtual Collaboration for Lotus Sametime (VCS).
VCS was created by IBM Research and developed in its development labs. Organisations in a variety of industries ranging from aerospace and defense, consumer products, staffing, manufacturing, and education, including Manpower, Northeastern University, and Northcentral Technical College of Wisconsin all have participated in Sametime 3D pilots over the last six months.
Using VCS, users can select colleagues from their Lotus Sametime contact list, and then invite them to participate in a virtual meeting. Participants can meet in a boardroom, an auditorium or a collaboration space.
Once they enter the virtual meeting, avatars can use text or voice chat, or both, to communicate. They can then share presentations or other materials, and take notes using virtual flip charts. In the collaboration space, they can share ideas and other information on a brainstorm wall. Participants can then store, update, prioritize and vote on this information. Content can be imported and acted upon both in and out of the virtual meeting space.
This new demo tells us more:
Great to see the news from VoiceCon today, Sametime Unified Telephony formally announced and demo’d:
IBM Brings Future of Voice Collaboration to Legacy IT Systems
New Unified Communications Service and Partner Solutions for IBM Sametime Unified Telephony
ORLANDO, FL. April 1, 2009 – At VoiceCon, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today showcased the future of enterprise voice collaboration with new software, services and an array of business partner offerings. Designed to help businesses use unified communications (UC) to work smarter and save money, these offerings help accelerate the transition to UC by using a company’s existing infrastructure.
IBM believes the future of voice collaboration is rooted in openness and the ability to connect with people and avoid costly and frustrating missed connections. The center piece of IBM’s UC portfolio is IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony. Sametime Unified Telephony works with a business’ new and legacy telephony systems from a variety of vendors to bring voice communications into the business applications people use most. In response to widespread industry support for Sametime Unified Telephony, IBM has launched an interoperability validation program for the product. This first of its kind UC program, allows IBM and key Business Partners to test a product’s capabilities with Sametime Unified Telephony. This testing helps ensure that millions of people will be able to easily implement Sametime Unified Telephony into their existing IT environment. Participants in the Sametime Unified Telephony Validation Program include, IP PBX service providers Alcatel Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Nortel, Mitel and Siemens, media gateway vendors Dialogic and NET, and enhanced voice quality providers GN Netcom, Plantronics, Polycom and Psytechnics. Additional partners will be announced in the coming months. Concurrent with the availability of Sametime Unified Telephony, IBM announces the availability of a new service designed specifically to enable clients to readily reap the benefits of Sametime Unified Telephony. IBM Converged Communications Services for Sametime Unified Telephony builds on IBM’s extensive experience in IP telephony and partnership with telephony vendors across the industry and was developed working closely with the Sametime Unified Telephony development teams and beta customers. The global service provides strategy, assessment, architecture, design, integration and implementation for the new solution. ”With a unique combination of expertise and early experience, IBM will work with clients to build robust unified communications environments using almost any telephony equipment,” said Laurence Guihard-Joly, vice president integrated communications services, IBM global technology services. ”As a result, they can minimize costs and protect their investments in existing communications equipment, a benefit that is critical in today’s economy.”
Regardless of the voice vendors a company has selected, Sametime Unified Telephony brings all of their IP and legacy telephony systems together. This allows businesses to use existing investments to accelerate the adoption of UC. IT and telecom departments benefit from being able to insulate people from upgrades and changes, providing employees new UC features within a familiar desktop environment.
“Sametime Unified Telephony does not hold businesses captive to one vendor’s vision of unified communication, it works with what you already have, preserving your IT and telephony investments,” said Bob Picciano, general manager IBM collaboration. “Now, IBM is applying our nearly three decades of experience in how people work collaboratively to voice communications, helping businesses save money and work smarter.” Sametime Unified Telephony helps people make smarter and faster decisions by putting them in contact with the right people, at the right time, on the right device. Sametime Unified Telephony makes missed connections a thing of the past, allowing people to see who is on the phone before they make a call. Incoming calls can be automatically sent to the device best suited to the situation based on presence, location and personal preferences. People can also turn a personal computer into a virtual telephone allowing them to talk with a colleague through VoIP directly from their desktop, which can result in significant savings, especially when traveling. The advanced click-to-call features in Sametime Unified Telephony allow people to click on a person’s name to start a voice conversation, IM chat session or video conference. People can also drag and drop names from their IM client to add colleagues to a conference call. In addition, with one click a person can transfer a call from their office telephone to a mobile device without interrupting the call.
Sametime Unified Telephony is expected to be available in July of 2009.
For more information on IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration: www.ibm.com/lotus/uc2
I look forward to reading the press coverage of this announcement over the next few days. The first article I’ve seen hit the wires is this article from FierceVOIP.com:
VoiceCon 2009: IBM puts Sametime Unified Telephony front and center
ORLANDO, Fla. – IBM has put its Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) solution front and center as the enterprise solution for unified communications. The company announced an interoperability testing program and a new consulting service for UC and SUT implementation.
IBM spokespersons are emphasizing SUT’s ability to work with existing legacy equipment and the bright and shiny world of IP telephony, as well as its capability to work with multiple vendors – following the highlighting of UC interoperability by Cisco, TANDBERG and others at the show.
Initial companies participating in the Sametime Unified Telephony Validation Program include: IP PBX service providers Alcatel Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Nortel, Mitel and Siemens; media gateway vendors Dialogic and NET; plus GN Netcom, Plantronics, Polycom and Psytechnics. Additional partners will be announced in the coming months.
IBM Converged Communications Services for Sametime Unified Telephony is the new service offering designed to provide strategy, assessment, architecture, design, integration and implementation for SUT. Consulting services are going to be key in bringing together SUT and other IP and legacy phone systems.
Great effort Lotus, can’t wait to try this solution for real…
Many of you will have seen IBM’s research project looking at delivering Sametime functionality through virtual worlds… Today this becomes available for customers to try out:
IBM CREATES SOFTWARE FOR HOLDING FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS IN VIRTUAL WORLDS
Allows meeting-goers to teleport themselves to virtual conference rooms — no reservations necessary
ARMONK, NY, March 4, 2009 . . . IBM (NYSE: IBM) is making it easier for widely dispersed businesspeople to interact and collaborate without the time and expense of in-person meetings.
What is making all this possible is the marriage between “virtual world” Web sites, and “unified communications and collaboration tools” — technology that links such things as voicemail, audible chat, and instant messaging. Virtual worlds are interactive, immersive Web sites with three-dimensional graphics. There, people are represented by versions of themselves, called avatars. With origins in multi-player gaming sites, virtual worlds re-create the social and visual dynamics and cues of human interaction, and are now increasingly used in business settings.
IBM is now allowing selected clients test Sametime 3D, a new tool which will let business colleagues not only exchange instant messages and chat verbally, but also share presentations and ideas in private, prefabricated, reusable meeting spaces located in a variety of virtual worlds. These spaces will allow participants to, literally, throw ideas on the wall during a meeting to “see what sticks,” and to vote on, organize, and save the most promising proposals. Avatars can make presentations to one another, socialize, debate, or, literally, examine ideas and 3D objects from all angles.
IBM’s new software enables groups based in different locations to meet on a regular, periodic or impromptu basis in these virtual worlds. With this new software tool, IBM is providing several reusable meeting spaces, including a theater-style amphitheatre, a boardroom and a collaboration space which can each be used for impromptu or scheduled brainstorming sessions, status updates, town hall-style meetings, rehearsals, training classes, and more.
”This project is part of IBM’s ongoing work to redefine the nature of online meetings,” said Colin Parris, IBM’s Vice President for Industry Solutions and Emerging Business. ”The work that takes place during a meeting is hard enough; people shouldn’t have to struggle with logistics. Whether through improvements to Web conferencing capabilities or with special offerings such as Sametime 3D, IBM is offering new ways to engage and collaborate, making meetings more effective and productive.”
The new software overcomes several challenges that have existed for businesses wishing to hold meetings in virtual worlds: First, businesses can collaborate the way in which they are accustomed, using software they may already have, such as electronic presentations, enterprise security, and instant messaging tools. Second, IBM has prefabricated a variety of re-useable spaces specifically designed for productive meetings, making it unnecessary for adopters to painstakingly build meeting rooms each time they want to me. Third, these spaces are secure, overcoming privacy concerns manifest in many public areas of popular virtual worlds. And finally, colleagues not wishing to participate in a given virtual meeting can still view documents, presentations and results from those sessions — or even snapshots of a previous meeting.
In the future, the software will provide a variety of ways for participants to circulate reports to one another that document the meetings’ progress. IBM will also make it easier for users to chat verbally and exchange information generated by and for virtual meetings, with traditional computer software already installed on their computers and servers.
Selected IBM clients and business partners are now being invited to work with IBM’s Services organization to test this new software. The solution, which may be available by the second half of 2009, uses version 8.0 of IBM Lotus Sametime, and a plug-in designed by IBM Research for virtual worlds. When the software is developed fully, clients will be able to use it to connect any number of virtual worlds, such as OpenSim or Second Life. A demonstration of the software’s capabilities is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfqGwKFStuw
IBM is in the forefront in exploring virtual worlds. Hundreds of IBM researchers, consultants, and developers are developing and providing new ways of learning, collaborating and doing business in virtual worlds. IBM is helping clients to develop their virtual world strategies, and is providing them with solutions and services that enable adopters to better collaborate. In addition, IBM is leading an initiative to help improve compatibility between disparate virtual worlds. Internally, IBM uses virtual worlds to conduct research, host events, and to acclimate new employees.
Here’s the YouTube video showing more of the software’s abilities…
It’s great to see this technology already making its way out to customers and it will be interesting to see the feedback and whether it delivers value in real use.