Lotus Sametime Gets Excellent Enhancements

At Lotusphere, a lot of nice enhancements to Sametime were discussed. Some of them are innovative. Sametime is IBM Lotus' instant messaging and Web conferencing software.

The main new features of v7.5 are:

  • Automatic display of a user's physical location. Right now, we understand this is based on mapping IP to an adminstrator-defined table.
  • Built-in voice chat for up to five people.
  • Support for third-party plug-ins. That's likely to translate to some very interesting applications.
  • Lots of nice, small enhancements such as rich text, user photos, a spell checker, type-ahead search when you're entering a user's name, access to archived conversations, customizable branding, and multiple language support.
  • An improved user interface for the Web conferencing component, and you can change slide decks on-the-fly.
  • Hitherto, Lotus has had a Windows, a Java, and a browser-based Sametime client. Version 7.5 is an Eclipse-based client that can run on many platforms.

There was also rather nebulous discussion of future enhancements to Sametime, incorporating things like easy access to colleagues with specific skills, instant polls, and real-time forums. Our sense is that this will translate to real innovation and substantial business value.

In short, Lotus has been pumping thought and resources into Sametime, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This story is well worth following.

... David Ferris

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