Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Live Blogging from the Unified Communications Keynote


I'm sitting in a packed room for the UC keynote, which is just kicking off.  I'll try to post the session live here as we go through it.

We began with a quick video walkthrough of the last 10 years of Sametime (with a very cool montage showing the evolution of Sametime and all the features added in the past 10 years).

Welcome Bruce Morse and Akiba Saeedi

Bruce Morse:  How ST transferred from stand-alone application to unified communications and collaboration platform.

Last year spent a lot of time introducing concept of UC².  Goal - help you find, reach and collaborate through a unified experience.
Akiba:  Do this through an open and extensible platform, integrate with vendors you're already working with, and avoid rip and replace.

50% more partners on the show floor than last year.
Grew # of new ST customers more than 30%, and over 1/3 are Exchange shops
Over 100 million entitled users

In 2007, we delivered:  Delivered Sametime 7.5.1, introduced Web conferencing service (Sametime Unyte), and shipped Sametime 8.0

Announcement:  New partnerships
Ericsson - taking their voice platform and integrating it with Lotus Sametime.  Click on a name in Sametime and start a call, and can move over to conf. call or mobile phone or hard office phone.  Ericsson will also provide phone presence to allow to see if a contact clicking on is on the phone or not
NEC - Integrating their Univerge with Lotus Sametime.  Allow users of NEC technology to see things like presence integration, use click 2 call in Sametime

Very excited to have them join our partner community

Announcement:  OEM Agreements
Saw example yesterday in OGS with Carestream Health - including Sametime in diagnostic systems.
Two major partners to sell ST as part of their solutions:  
Cisco - will sell ST directly as well as 12,000 partners WW.  
Nortel - will sell and integrate ST as part of their UC solutions.  Deliver features through direct sales as well as WW channel network

(I'll link to Press Releases as soon as their online).

Look at how Sametime can transform customer service and sales

Welcome Jeremy Sussman and Konrad Lagarde for demo

Showing ping from AOL about solar powered data center.  Go to Quickr plugin in Sametime and see a paper on green data center.  Bring up in Word and can hover over document author (Konrad) name in Word and can hover and start a chat.
Konrad - Can see his picture, job title.
Start Radvision video session
Pull out Netix server - painted yellow because "yellow is the new green"
Bringing up custom plugin - buddy map - takes all locations on buddy list and maps them over.  Find that David Marshak is in Kansas City.  Starting to chat with him.
Drag/Drop a file from desktop to ST client to do file transfer
Screen shot with annotation.
Konrad has sales data plugin to see that Jeremy is over 180% of quota

End demo

Real world examples (video)
Bank of New York -Mellon.  
Immediate challenge to introduce 23k people to 17k people.  Summarizes challenges facing in day to day job.  Looking at social technologies to create that real time meet and greet, to reduce time to market, get more traction with clients.  
Like developed on open programming model - impact on fact that have three disparate PBXs from BONY-Mellon.  Second piece that was compelling on ST was ability to integrate with rest of Lotus suite - Notes and Quickr and Connections.  Third, people communicate different ways - voice, web, conference calls, video meetings.  To a degree that can encompass people's preferences in one tool becomes critical differentiator.  ST provides that capability for people to collaborate in the way they so choose.

Another customer example (video)
Colgate-Palmolive
117 countries, 300 locations.  Same collaboration tools to everyone around the world.  1.8M IM messages on monthly basis.  1.8M conversations that could have been travel, phone call that didn't

2000, 3000 ST meetings a month.  A way of getting market to faster.  Not another ID to manage if using Notes already, which makes it more seamless for people to use, reduces admin costs.  People don't want to think about tool, think about work trying to get done.  Rolled out ST 7.5.1 WW in about a month and a half.  UC strategy revolves around ST.  No matter who telecom group works with, expect ST to be front end.  By having ST to be core product at center, makes it very simple for end user.  Not thinking about what tool need to use to do the job.  It's all in one place for them, makes tools very usable.  Business value - getting people answers they need as quickly as possible so we can do what the company's here to do, which is getting product to the marketplace.)

People don't want to think about tools, they want to thinks bout what want to get done that day.  Easy for users to be more efficient and more effective.

Just 2 of success stories from Sametime.  Let's bring them on stage to hear directly from them, along with leading industry analyst.

Welcome Josh Kimball (BoNY-Mellon), Mitch Cohen (Colgate), Melanie Turek (Frost and Sullivan)

Bruce:  Remember Colgate big CC Mail user and long time Notes user now.  What was it about ST that motivated Colgate to move beyond integrated IM to full capabilities.
Mitch:  Just chat is small piece of what do.  Web conferencing, screen sharing.  Three major offices in NY alone - people say how helpful just in NY area

Bring work to where people are, not moving people to the work.

Bruce:  How justify?
Mitch:  It's like crack - show it to them, and they beg to use it.  Can't afford downtime at all

Bruce:  Plans for 2008?
Mitch:  Upgrading to ST 8, looking at some of the Adv. capabilities, and pushing UC capabilities and Sametime UT - merge voice in with chat and all other capabilities, so when chat needs to turn into phone call becomes more seamless.  

Bruce:  Using just internally?
Mitch:  Since put in, wanted to make available to business partners.  Users can register to add BP to get access.  Into 2008, looking at ST gateway so that outside people don't need to sign into Colgate system. Gateway lets us level playing feel so they can use systems already using

Bruce:  Josh - where use ST in the company?
Josh:  Look at UC as strategic decision.  The way companies looked at e-mail 15 yrs ago, looking at these tools.  Giving employees leading capabilities.  Not just usable in back office, but certainly engaging customers in more productive experiences.

Bruce:  Steps went through from start, planning, how long did it take, did you seek outside help?
Josh:  Looked at as strategic business investment.  When went to executive mgmt with plan to pilot technologies, pitched it that way.  Engaged IBM IGS with how to use these technologies, what kind of landscape need to support it.  Collaboration between IBM team and my team, produced pilots that showed value that these technologies have.

Bruce:  Where are you with rollout
Josh:  10k people now and rolling out to all 30k employees

Bruce:  Lot of hype on UC, lot of announcements by vendors.  Where are we in maturity of UC and penetrated into business - hype vs. reality
Melanie:  Over last 18 months, in 2007 IBM Lotus has played a huge role.  Other vendors have, too.  People are coming out with products and making it real.  For a lot of organizations is still early days.  A lot of companies will take staggered approach.  May start with IM technology they have (such as within Notes), and then move up the stack a bit - richer IM, richer capabilities (like the Standard product).  Most people in that phase - need to embrace wider capabilities and starting to think about how integrate with telephony, since that's what everyone's hearing about here and elsewhere.  Something like ST UT that opens it up - has been a  barrier up to now.  Don't have to think about committing to a single telephony vendor for reset of company's life.  But now that not necessary to do that, gets people starting to think about it.

Bruce:  How long until wider adoption?
Melanie:  Within next 3 years will see very widespread adoption of Web conferencing, IM, presence, video, and then in next 5 years will see fairly widespread adoption of integration with telephony.  Doing that is not negligible.  Fair amount of work on back end, engage services, but also to some extent changing culture, which sometimes can slow things down.

Bruce:  Can view UC as what would call enterprise-wide utility. But also notion of using in business process context.  How many people view as enterprise utility vs. business process perspective.
Melanie:  Lot of customers deploy in pilot projects - finding pockets in org where makes the most initial sense.  Sales, customer service, IT are good examples.  Where having instant presence-based communication - such as customer support - is valuable but also measurable.  Can say we're cutting customer response time by x%, or getting customers x% faster.  And then can take that into knowledge workers where may be harder to measure productivity.  For most organizations, UC needs to be enterprise wide to really get value, just like e-mail is, just like telephony is.

Bruce;  What's biggest mistake?
Melanie:  Ignoring it.  Easy to put head in sand, and seeing a lot of companies with that as initial response in organizations; see it still as Web conferencing, which historically came in departmentally as T&E expense.  IT says "I can't get into it right now," and problem is UC is best delivered as standardized tool that everyone uses, with common interface, where getting all security, compliance that need.  That's biggest mistake.  Need to embrace this now and start to think about this roadmap.  Don't need to deploy all features and functionality in next 12 months, but start thinking about where want to be in 12 months to 18 months and how to get there.

Bruce;  Mitch - last advice?
Mitch:  Before start, make sure understand what getting into, what tech requirements are, and how people use it.  Because once put it out there, people will use it.  Build foundation because once it's out there....

Josh:  Important to deliver value to business execs.  Whenever met with execs and showed this in the value that they would get, and how would help with process flow diagram where e-mail and voice mail fills in that white space, would see the value.

End of panel

Bruce:  Way most people use real time comm and collab is with people you know.  Established contacts, buddy list.  Tremendous power in locating people you may not know, that have knowledge that you can tap into to create new communities and make better informed decisions.  How do you harness power of that community, instantly.

Akiba:  Sametime Advanced - coming to market in 1Q.

Konrad - Demo 2 - Sametime Advanced

Open chat rooms plugin.  
Enter alert on rooms - when certain # of people active (or other settings) can alert so come into chat room
Open chat room - same chat room used to for multiparty chats
Have transcript of activity.  Can see files that have been added to team room.  Can even create FAQs in chat room.

From history, looks like have problem - trying to fit server in rack.  Need to look into problem.

Broadcast communities - need to find an expert on HW to solve this problem.
Send request out to server community - broadcast it out, and hope that help.
Jeremy - gets request, and opens chat.
Invites David to conversation by dragging over from buddy list (very cool)
Jeremy - to instant share how easy it is to install server.
Konrad gets alert
and Jeremy is sharing his screen live
(BTW - website being shared is http://www.sorrybill.com - check it out!)
Konrad can take a screenshot of what's being shared, and Jeremy can even give him control of his PC.

End Demo

Demo - Sametime Unified Telephony

ST-UT is about simplifying user experience.
Jeremy 's number is set for stage phone.  Konrad calls from PC, and Jeremy gets alert on the PC and picks up on hard phone on the stage.  
Could see that both of them are off hook on phone presence.  (So if someone was looking to call, would see that off hook).
Jeremy has a setting in client to determine where call goes
But even more important, have rules to control where calls go.
For example:
If online, ring PC
If onffline, call mobile
If Geographic Location set to "Keynote Stage" and awareness is "away," ring hotel phone

Imagine that 5 minutes to 5 and boss calls, can decide to redirect.  So even though rules say direct to PC, can over-ride and redirect.  And even though Konrad is using mobile phone, the system will check against the directory, recognize Konrad's phone #, and show Konrad's photo and contact info on the alert that Jeremy sees.

When productize, will have additional capabilities for rules - so for example, when customers call, can always put through, while when boss calls send right to voice mail.

Also, doesn't matter which PBX use, can run on top of it.  

And, can do things like place all calls back into single corporate voice mail system, so that even if you are redirecting calls to cell phone, if you don't pick up, Sametime Unified Telephony will pull back the call and send to single voice mail system the company is using rather than ending up on the cell phone voice mail.

End demo

Demo - Show where things are coming in the future
If on conference calls all day, most people don't remember what call in #, what code to use, when the code is.  Here's how Jeremy gets into conference calls.... Presses one button on cell phone.  Hear prompt to enter voice password, and reads out that Konrad has set up meeting and the meeting name.  The system had read Jeremy's calendar, and all he has to do to get into that meeting is press 1

Konrad - How many people spend a lot of time in boring conference calls (lots of hands).
All hear for first 5-10 minutes is "ding dong... who just joined.  ding dong... who just joined." and then after 10 minutes, they do a roll call.

Instead, have a virtual table with pictures of everyone in the meeting, can see who isn't yet in the meeting.  Telephony controls so can mute the line (if hear dog barking in the background).

Just what did for Sametime for IM environment, do the same for telephone calls.  Timeline for when people came into/left meeting, when people shared or sent files.  Makes call really engaging, so not just put on mute and walk down to make lunch.

Demo - IBM metaverse demo (think Second Life).  Enter meeting room, step up to virtual presentation board showing real charts that are uploaded into the virtual meeting room.  Placing call from metaverse out to regular conference call line.  And showing slides that just uploaded up from a presentation.

Bruce
What trying to do with these concepts - virtual workforces, people spread out around world, new emphasis on being green and reducing travel.  Trying to be make more effective meetings, more intuitive.  Want to share concepts of where going.

Last 10 years really incredible, but just getting started.  Great industry recognition, success with products, heard from customers and analysts with harnessing the power of Sametime in organizations.

Akiba - Make sure you check out Sametime All the Time Room - sessions every hour of the conference.

End of keynote