IBM shipped Lotus Sametime 7.5 this week. The product itself is noteworthy for unifying instant messaging, Web conferencing, and voice communications as well as for its flexible Eclipse framework. Its capability to support plug-ins means that Sametime users can tap into voice and video services or access data from other applications from within the Sametime client.
To celebrate the release, IBM held a customer event in New York. On hand were ca. 30 IBM Business Partners displaying how they work with Sametime. The message: integrating communications tools with business processes will make an organization more agile and more responsive in the marketplace. Let's take a look at the highlights. One interesting offering was GroupSystem's ThinkTank, a brainstorming platform, and its integration with Sametime. Knowledge workers can move seamlessly from an instant messaging conversation to a ThinkTank innovation session.
Siemens demonstrated how its new Audio Conferencing for IBM Lotus Sametime can simplify the Web conferencing experience. The system tightly integrates visual and audio components, making for a quick setup through Sametime. As the conference is launched, conference participants get a "join the call" button to join the audio portion of the conference without requiring any other intervention.
A plug-in we will see more and more of allows for the display of phone presence in Lotus Sametime; Cisco Systems and IBM demonstrated this with Cisco's Unified Communications Technology during the keynote session.
Another keynote session demo was Radvision's plug-in, which allows knowledge workers to move from a Sametime IM session into a multi-party audio or video conference, and users can participate via video conferencing systems and 3G videophones if desired.
We will probably see more interesting plug-ins and use cases for Sametime down the road, so stay tuned.
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