I’m in Christchurch for the final session at the IBM Forum 06, to hear the session Lotus Sametime 7.5 the Future of Real-time Collaboration, presented by Kathy Staples and Chris Sparshott from Lotus Technical Sales in New Zealand. Chris started by playing the new "Sametime" song (where’s the download MP3?). Chris started with his central theme, Sametime is cool!. Chris is going to cover the key business drivers of Sametime, What it is, and see Sametime in Action.
Key Business Drivers
- Key drivers for use of instant messaging are convenience, time savings, and immediate access to information; ability for instant problem resolution.
- Key drivers for use of web conferencing are reduced cost, reduced wear and tear of travel while preserving the ability to collaborate.
Drivers for IM … uses are varied and inventive … get answers to quick questions, give customer support, track down someone you need to find, cue others during a teleconference, send a quick file, keep distant people in the loop, work across time zones, know if someone is available to help or respond, gather people into a quick team conference.
Drivers for Web conferencing … project collaboration, ensures consistency of information / understanding / message, enables virtual and global teams, savings money / time / wear & tear of travel, enables us to see each other in a meeting, easy exchange of information, speed of information exchange, can participate in a meeting anywhere, curtails hot air type conversation. When you can see the pictures of the other people talking, you can build team collaboration.
Specific uses by customers of Sametime:
- Getting short answers quickly
- Reducing reliance on telephone and email
- Attending remote meetings with travelling
- Conducting simple training as needed
- Tapping into the skill and expertise of the organization
- Rapid communication
- Reduce time to get hold of the right person
- Pushing out information to users based on groups
- Securely communicating with public IM networks
IntelliCare is a Sametime customer, using Sametime to connect employees to the right expertise on health calls, for micro-training via Web conferencing, for keeping costs down by not having to replicate expertise in each location. The research houses are saying that IM traffic growing.
What is Sametime
- Instant messaging … chat, file transfer, emotions, etc.
- Web conferencing … application sharing, share documents, etc.
- Real-time collaboration gateway … with public network interoperability. The new gateway is based on a policy-managed gateway.
- Mini apps … that integrate into the Sametime contact list, eg, news services, click-to-call telephony, location awareness through integration with Google Maps.
The Sametime 7.5 client shows a "business card" of a hovered-over user, drawing on a directory lookup.
When inside a chat with another person, can migrate up to a voice-over-IP call, can see their contact details, can open the chat history, can transfer files, can type Rich Text (spell checker, emoticons). In terms of telephony, out-of-the-box it is voice-over-IP (based on a codec licensed from Global IP sound, the same people that supply Skype and Google Talk), although IBM has some relationships to link with standard telephony platforms.
Can do Sametime conversations with IBMers via IBM Collaboration.
Another feature includes "announcements" … whereby a user can type a question they want help with, choose from a group of people to send to, and then flick it on. The others will get a little pop-up notification on their screen, and they can choose to ignore or respond. If they respond, it becomes a standard Sametime chat.
Alan’s blog for two videos on Sametime
IBM’s home page for Sametime 7.5
As I said back in January 2006, kudos to David Marshak for his work at IBM to bring some of these ideas to life. Good work.