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Video - a top focus for Sametime 8.5

In our first post on Sametime 8.5, we focussed on online meetings. It's our belief that existing web conferencing tools aren't more widely used because they are too cumbersome. How often have you lost the first 10 minutes of a meeting trying to get everyone into the conference? Or lost time explaining how to hand over control to another user? Sametime 8.5 goes a long way towards addressing the usability of online meetings. Similarly, we believe that, despite tremendous technical advances, desktop video is under-utilized as a form of business communication. Our customers tell us they are concerned about:

1. The quality of video experience on the desktop, especially at the edge of the network
2. Bandwidth overload and network protection – legitimate fears exist that video bandwidth consumption may overwhelm networks if not managed correctly.
3. The high fixed cost of traditional room video systems
4. The lack of interoperability between desktop and room systems, either of which may be based on proprietary codecs.

The key to unlocking the potential of video as an everyday business tool is integrating it into the user's collaboration-enabled desktop through open standards. Like Meetings, it needs to be so easy and so available that its use is a "no-brainer". Users should be able to smoothly move between text, audio and video chats at any time. It should be easy to incorporate existing room and high-definition systems with desktop video for a seamless experience. And IT needs the tools to appropriately manage their networks. With Sametime 8.5, we're introducing a completely new media infrastructure to make all of this possible.

What’s new in Sametme 8.5 for audio / video?

  • Improved audio and video client user experience integrated into both Sametime chats and meetings.
  • A new SIP-based Media Server to act as a single integration point for both chat and meetings, routing audio and video between Sametime clients.
  • Much easier direct connection between Sametime desktop video and IBM business partner SIP-standard video end points and video conferencing media control units.
  • Enhancements to our audio/ video API's that will enable better control of 3rd party telephony, audio and video conferencing systems during a call or conference.
  • Improved NAT firewall traversal support, using industry standards (ICE/STUN/TURN).
  • Improved standards-based video codecs (H.264) and audio (G722.1), leading to reduced bandwidth and improved quality.
  • Support for larger video display formats including HD video display if required.
  • Better policy management contols.
  • Easy escalation to audio and video from a Sametime IM chat or a Sametime online meeting.  

Of course, Sametime 8.5 is only the beginning of this journey. Future releases will see additional capabilities designed to ease desktop audio and video deployment concerns. We're looking at more efficient standards-based codecs and new technologies to provide greater control over bandwidth management.

Where are you on your video deployment journey?  Where does video matter  most to your organizations? Do you see new opportunities for video to improve collaboration? What adoption barriers are you trying to overcome?


    Carl Tyler | Website: | 3/3/2009 10:38:15 AM GMT

    Are the interfaces for partners for integration available? I have some that are interested? How can I get early code to start playing with this?



    | Website: | 3/3/2009 11:18:27 AM GMT

    Where are you on your video deployment journey?

    We started piloting webcams (Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000) and headsets (Logitech Premium USB Headset 350) on a few desktops

    Where does video matter most to your organizations?

    User-to-user and group conversations using cameras (dept. meetings/chats with video)

    Do you see new opportunities for video to improve collaboration?

    Giving new communication mediums for remote employees to have meetings with their managers back in the office

    What adoption barriers are you trying to overcome?

    While the quality of video and audio in Sametime 8.0.2 is excellent using the above hardware, we have problems using the tools over our VPN solution (juniper vpn)

    Because the a/v is between the clients and not brokered by the sametime server, it is difficult to set firewall restrictions. Ability to use TCP would be welcomed in some cases.

    Also, in 8.0.2, using webconferencing with a/v is not perfect and needs lot of improvement.

    | Website: | 3/3/2009 12:00:34 PM GMT

    @1 - Carl No beta code or doc available but we will be reaching out to all the A/V and telephony partners and developers in Q2 about this, once we have something more concrete we can review in detail.

    Mark Rattray | Website: | 3/3/2009 12:06:40 PM GMT

    Please also try to provide the same functionality cross client platforms. Some of our customers' users are unable to join in or share because they use Linux or Mac.

    Rob Ingram | Website: | 3/3/2009 12:57:20 PM GMT

    @4- Mac and Linux clients will supported for meetings and video, including.... drum roll please..... app share on Mac!!

    Bastian Wieczorek | Website: | 3/3/2009 5:12:21 PM GMT

    @Rob Ingram

    A company which I know use Sametime (8.0.2) as a kind of education platform. There is a training department in the company, but there doesn´t exist a training department in every location. This company use the sametime meeting center to teach the user how to use the selfcreated Lotus Notes applications. They created a movie during the session which can be watched by the users every time they like.

    BUT, at the moment the recording from meetings in sametime 8.0.2 isn´t so nice and it couldn´t be downloaded. The company heard what will be coming with 8.5 and they are very curious about it.

    Pierre Lundqvist | Website: | 3/4/2009 3:31:59 AM GMT

    What platform will the ST8.5 server run on? What im getting at is the rumour of a ST server in the future that runs on websphere and not on domino.

    | Website: | 3/4/2009 7:49:51 AM GMT

    Improved video experience in the client and better NAT support are definitely much needed improvements. Looking forward to these improvements!

    Like Pierre, I am interested in the server platform. I had the understanding that Domino was still the platform for Chat but that the meeting server was moving to Websphere. Has that changed?

    Also the install for any Websphere based items should be as seamless as possible. Unlike the installer for the Gateway that is not as seamless as it should be. The installer should just install the product and that would install and configure any needed Websphere requirements as well.

    Rob Ingram | Website: | 3/4/2009 5:32:13 PM GMT

    @7 & 8 Steve is correct. Chat and Presence will continue to be based on Domino. We are modernizing and separating the meetings and A/V components from the IM services, so that they can all be more readily scaled and deployed independently. These new components run on a Websphere application server infrastructure which provides a very scalable solution and eliminates need for a separate EMS infrastructure for high availability. License for this will be included with Sametime and the installation is also integarted.

    Vivian Fleitstra | Website: http:// | 3/16/2009 9:36:04 AM GMT

    We are looking at improving our overall collaboration infrastructure and would like to know where video fits in with Sametime to be used in conference rooms or other video conferencing end-points, similar to other partners such as Telecom and Tanberg? I didn't see much focus on using video in this circumstances at Lotusphere, but did see the main focus of video being used during telephone conferences and video chat. Can you elaborate or provide any additional information on this, not sure if sametime can/will be used in this way?

    We currently use Sametime 8.0.2 in our environment and are looking to upgrade/migrate to 8.5 when it becomes available.

    | Website: | 3/16/2009 7:46:48 PM GMT

    @10 Vivian - The new 8.5 meetings will also include audio and video option with the same improved set of capabilities - updated codecs, more control over image size, and the ability to offer interoperability with other SIP solutions like Tandberg. We didnt have this on show at Lotuspshere.

    Don Whalen | Website: | 4/20/2009 5:01:44 PM GMT

    Is there a migration path for current Sametime users to move to WAS for meetings and the A/V components?

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