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VoiceCon Orlando 2009 - the view from the Sametime Unified Telephony demo team

Note: I'm blogging this on behalf of Kathleen Cooke, Offering Manager, Unified Communications and Collaboration Software for IBM.  She's travelling and can't connect to our blog posting system, so she asked if I could post this for her. - Jacques


Well, I'm on my way home from VoiceCon Spring 2009 in sunny Orlando to the frozen tundra (Boston), and am reflecting on the IBM news, and wanted to share the news, the excitement and some initial comments.

At VoiceCon, I was part of the team that showcased IBM IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony.  In the IBM keynote we announced several pieces of new news, including:

  • the expected availability of Sametime Unified Telephony in July. From VoiceCon events to the most recent Lotusphere 2009, the feedback from these public demonstrations has been very positive and exciting.
  • the availability of a new IBM Converged Communications Services for Sametime Unified Telephony, that builds on IBM Global Technology Service's extensive experience in IP telephony, and IBM partnership with multiple telephony vendors, to provide strategy, assessment, architecture, design, integration and implementation services.
  • an industry validation program to test interoperability
  • spotlighted 14 industry leading business partners that have already gone through the Sametime Unified Telephony validation program to test interoperability. Participants in the Sametime Unified Telephony Validation Program include, IP PBX service providers Alcatel Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Nortel, Mitel and Siemens, media gateway vendors Dialogic and NET, and enhanced voice quality providers GN Netcom, Plantronics, Polycom and Psytechnics. Additional partners will be announced in the coming months

If you didn't get a chance to stop by the IBM booth, Sametime Unified Telephony is the newest addition to the Lotus Sametime family that provides telephony integration and a rich set of incoming call management capabilities for Lotus Sametime users - even across mixed-vendor systems. Capabilities include an embedded softphone, telephony presence and  rules-based incoming call management. You can get more information at the links I posted above.

The feedback I've seen so far from the press, analysts, partners and customers was all extremely positive, but perhaps most gratifying was the crowds who visited us. I was in Exhibit hall during the full set of Exhibit hall hours (yes, my feet were aching and my voice was hoarse by Wednesday evening), and I had the great opportunity to talk to customers, business partners and potential business partners the entire time, sometimes 4 - 5 deep at the Sametime Unified Telephony demonstration pedestal. Some customers came back 2 - 3 times to talk, and engage in discussions with our architects, developers and services teams who were also at the show. The interest was electric.

I also wanted to share one early comment from one of our Lotus Sellers, who just recently started using Sametime Unified Telephony as part of IBM's internal deployment:  

"Guys, this solution is electric!! with customers. The telecom hw and sw savings potential is often where we end up.  I started using [Sametime Unified Telephony] a month ago. I immediately removed the phone line in my home office.  This saves IBM $750 per year, (before long distance charges)."

As the economy has forced companies to delay or rethink migrations to IP Telephony, getting more from the telephony systems clients already have is critically important. Voice services have moved into the software world and are increasingly embedded in the fabric of collaboration. Sametime Unified Telephony is IBM's answer to that industry evolution, working with new and existing telephony systems from a variety of vendors to bring voice communications into the business applications people use most. For us, it's about providing real business value today, while setting you up for the transformation to the future of voice collaboration.

I would love to hear your feedback.  How did you find IBM's presence and information sharing at VoiceCon Orlando this year?  What did you like?  What more would you have liked to see?

- Kathleen