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IBM Launches Family of Unified Communications and Collaboration Software


SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Today at the VoiceCon 2007 conference, IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled the next phase of its unified communication and collaboration (UC2) strategy by expanding its IBM Lotus Sametime software into a product family that will include new telephony integration software.

Today at the VoiceCon 2007 conference, IBM (NYSE: IBM) unveiled the next phase of its unified communication and collaboration (UC2) strategy by expanding its IBM Lotus Sametime software into a product family that will include new telephony integration software.

With telephone systems, mobile devices, instant messaging (IM), email, Web and video conferencing capabilities, businesses are faced with a maze of communication options and corresponding back-end systems. Figuring out which tool to use and when -- and getting these tools to work together -- is a challenge for businesses of all sizes. The Lotus Sametime product family will make it easier for a company to offer its employees a unified communications environment that delivers leading capabilities to users and simplifies back-end integration -- without forcing software migration or rip-and-replace decisions.

Lotus Sametime “Unified Telephony” software is a new IBM offering that is being developed to bring telephone communications into the business applications people use most. Based in part on elements of Siemens OpenScape technology, this product will make it possible to manage communications across multiple business telephone systems and access them through virtually any application.

With the Lotus Sametime “Unified Telephony” product, users will be able to:

* Manage incoming calls - An incoming call will open an alert on the user’s desktop, providing options on how to handle the call. Users can send the call to another device such as a cell phone, directly to voice mail or answer the call through their computer for a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) conversation. In addition, users can set rules on how they would like to handle calls based on their status. For example, users can request that when their calendars show they are in a meeting, all calls are automatically routed to voice mail.
* See who is available to communicate and how - In addition to IM presence status, users can see if a contact is on the phone from within their Lotus Sametime contact list.
* Connect with colleagues faster - Users can turn their PC into a telephone with soft phone capabilities that allow them to dial a contact and talk through VoIP directly from their desktop. Additionally, click to call and click to conference capabilities enable users to select individuals from the contact list and within a few clicks be speaking with them through VoIP or any telephone.
* Connect with a variety of back-end and legacy systems - Lotus Sametime “Unified Telephony” will be designed to work in mixed-vendor environments with multiple business telephone systems, enabling businesses to provide a common look and feel for their users, regardless of back-end systems. Since it will be based on the SIP standard, Lotus Sametime “Unified Telephony” software will integrate within new and legacy environments, eliminating the need for businesses to rip and replace systems to gain unified communication and collaboration capabilities.

As customer demand for unified communication and collaboration capabilities increases, IBM is expanding Lotus Sametime software from a single offering to a family of products. Building on its leadership in enterprise collaboration, IBM is developing a suite of community broadcast tools enabling users to instantly share expertise in real-time in addition to location services, which help users access information and people based on their location. The new Lotus Sametime family will also include:

* Lotus Sametime Entry: Lotus Sametime Entry software is designed to provide the core collaboration capabilities businesses need to be productive. It will include IM capabilities, presence awareness, spell check capabilities, emoticon support, chat history functionality and contact list management features. The Lotus Sametime Entry offering is being designed to integrate with a variety of applications, such as Microsoft Outlook.
* Lotus Sametime Standard: Lotus Sametime Standard software will include all of the features businesses have come to expect from the industry’s leading enterprise unified communication and collaboration solution. These will include on premise Web conferencing; presence, IM and location awareness; and the ability to add plugins and mashups as well as communicate with users on supported public IM networks. In addition, the upcoming version is expected to include point-to-point video capabilities for Macintosh clients and support for Microsoft Office and Outlook 2007 integration.
* Lotus Sametime Advanced: Lotus Sametime Advanced software is a new offering that features sophisticated collaboration capabilities such as persistent group chat and the industry’s first suite of broadcast community tools that will make it easier to find information and share expertise in real time. Additionally, plugins developed by IBM Research that enable users to instantly share their screen and find contacts who are working in the same location are also planned to be included.

“Whether an organization is just getting started with IM, is ready for advanced community collaboration tools, or wants to integrate telephone communications into their unified communications environment, the Lotus Sametime portfolio is ready to meet the needs of any enterprise,” said Bruce Morse, vice president, unified communications and collaboration, IBM Lotus.

IBM delivers a comprehensive set of offerings comprising software, hardware, technical services and consulting to address end-to-end business needs for unified communications. IBM Global Technology Services is expanding its converged communications services to include the Lotus Sametime “Unified Telephony” product, for the design, implementation and integration of this offering with the client’s telephony environment.

At the VoiceCon 2007 conference, the IBM System i team is previewing a forthcoming solution that builds on its portfolio of System i IP Telephony offerings with a new high-end solution that pairs Unified Messaging for WebSphere Voice Response with VoiceRite Unified Messaging Plug-ins for IBM Lotus Sametime and Lotus Notes 8 on a single System i server. The solution will help enterprise customers combine voicemail, IM, email, Web and IT infrastructure, application development and business processing on a single platform that is easier and less expensive to manage than comparable offerings that require multiple servers.

Lotus Sametime Standard software is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2007. Lotus Sametime Entry and Advanced offerings are expected to be available during the first half of 2008. The Lotus Sametime “Unified Telephony” offering is expected to be available in mid 2008. Pricing and packaging will be announced closer to availability.


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