IBM Toots Lotus Sametime Horn With Customer, Partnership Deals
January 29, 2008 Dan Burger
Turf wars between IBM and Microsoft in the unified communications area flared up again last week as both sides shoveled success stories as if they were possessed by fire-breathing marketing demons (which they are). Last week we reported that Microsoft threw cold water on the IBM Lotusphere event by announcing a significant number of Lotus users had converted to Microsoft in the past year. This week, IBM is claiming that “nearly one-third of new Lotus Sametime customers were Microsoft Exchange shops.” Believe what you want to believe, but don’t take any of these numbers too seriously.
In this latest episode, IBM Lotus is touting its Sametime by announcing several large-client adoptions and major OEM (original equipment manufacturer) embedded software and reseller agreements. According to IBM, the deals add millions of new users to the Sametime list. Not that anyone is counting, of course, but IBM does like to emphasize total number of users rather than numbers of companies, and the numbers are impressive . . . not thousands or tens of thousands, but millions of users.
The list of clients that have selected Lotus Sametime included Bank of NY, Colgate Palmolive, HSBC, Celina Insurance, and Prudential UK. Although specific uses were not tied to specific customers, IBM claimed the integrated communications capabilities would include telephony, audio and video conferencing, instant messaging, and group chat.
Cisco brings a 1,200-member partner channel that will sell Lotus Sametime as part of Cisco’s Unified Communications solutions. Nortel will include Lotus Sametime with the Nortel Multimedia Communications Server, the Nortel SOA Application Core Base, and its IP telephony and multimedia and collaboration services. Ericsson will work with IBM to integrate its mobile unified communication solutions (VoIP is the key) with IBM’s unified collaborations suite. Also in the emerging VoIP market is NEC, which plans to integrate its PBX telephony system with Lotus Sametime. Meanwhile, Carestream Health, a provider of imaging technology to radiology departments worldwide, will integrate Sametime software within its radiology solutions.
While it had the spotlights turned on for Lotusphere, IBM demonstrated Lotus Sametime Advanced and Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony.
Lotus Sametime Advanced, which IBM has scheduled for availability in the first half of 2008, features real-time community tools that facilitate problem solving. Items designed to help in that regard include a “persistent chat” feature that allows a continuous discussion on a specific topic with a related community of people. It also will provide a screen- or application-sharing session capability and allow participants to make changes to shared documents.
The delivery of Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony is vaguely described as “later this year.” It is being designed so users can route calls to various devices and set rules on how to handle calls based on call status (routing preferences) or user status (when traveling calls could be routed to a mobile device).