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’IBM sharpens weapons for unified communications battle’ - Network World

Just read an article by John Fontana  in Network World from earlier this week on the Sametime Unified Communication strategy and roadmap. The article talks about  some of the efforts that lie behind IBM's $1bn investment in Unified Communications and features quotes from Bruce Morse (VP of Unified Communications at  IBM/lotus)  and several industry analysts. Here are some highlights:-

Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) server, unveiled in January, will introduce an architecture built around two servers that form a single data-center integration point between the IBM/Lotus environment and the telephony world.  "SUT is the perfect boundary," says Burton’s (Mike) Gotta. "On one side all the vendors connect and on the other side IBM connects [all its software]."

Analysts so far are lauding the efforts. "They have very good products," says Irwin Lazar, an analyst with Nemertes Research. "Look at what they are doing with Connections. Look at what they are doing with Quickr. It is extremely extensible and gives organizations a lot of opportunity to customize applications, to build new functionality and to build mashup applications. It's far more, I think, than what users get out of Microsoft."

Bruce Morse also goes on to describe some of the new initiatives underway Lotus to blend Sametime based 'Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP)' into the world of Web 2.0 applications.

IBM/Lotus wants to tap Web 2.0 interfaces to expose UC services. "We are investing a lot of time and money to enhance our capabilities in this area," says Bruce Morse, vice president of unified communications software for IBM/Lotus. "We have the rich client [Sametime] nailed down, we are making more investments in technologies like AJAX and Web services approaches."  Morse says the next version of Sametime, due in 2009, will include capabilities built into the server that support AJAX browser-based client-type access to UC services using lightweight REST Web services in favor of bulkier SOAP-based protocols.

Overall a very good read if you want to catch up on Sametime product strategy  and plans in just a few minutes.