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IBM Offers 'Click-to-Conference' with New Online Meeting Experience

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IBM announces the availability of IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5 features.

At the annual Lotusphere conference last week, IBM announced the availability of new IBM Lotus Sametime features, including online meetings and expanded audio and video integration, that help make unified communications and collaboration (UC2) easier and more cost-effective. 

Available now, Lotus Sametime 8.5 offers a new online meeting experience that provides a consolidated calendar view and enables users to start or join a meeting with a single click. Users can easily invite participants to a meeting by dragging names from the instant messaging contact list and dropping them into the meeting. Participants can also accept meeting invitations with a single click and upload materials to the meeting with a drag and drop capability. 

Leading companies from around the world participated in a beta program to test the new Lotus Sametime 8.5 capabilities and have plans to deploy the software in 2010. Innovative companies including Asia Paints, Colgate-Palmolive, Merck KGaA, Pepco Holdings, Inc., Prudential Financial, Inc., PSA Peugeot Citroen and Sandvik are seeing the simplicity and cost savings offered with Lotus Sametime 8.5. 

IBM Lotus Sametime 8.5

"For more than eight years, we have used Lotus Sametime to help our employees around the world connect and collaborate through a real-time, integrated communications platform," said Thomas Eidenmueller, Merck KGaA. "With our planned deployment of Lotus Sametime 8.5 in the second quarter of 2010, we will be able to further lower travel expenses with our plans to run education sessions both internally and externally with our partners. This is an important upgrade that delivers simplified capabilities that will help us increase the use of meetings and connect to our Polycom video conferencing system to promote richer collaboration." 

The latest version of Lotus Sametime features always-ready, reservation-less meetings that offer password-protected meeting rooms that are always available so that an online meeting can be started instantly. Documents such as meeting minutes and presentations can be stored in the personalized meeting room for future use. Additionally, standards-based audio and video integration makes it easier to interoperate with existing audio and video conferencing systems and improves utilization. 

In addition, Lotus Sametime now offers a new zero-download Web client built on a new Web 2.0 toolkit that makes it easier for businesses to embed Lotus Sametime capabilities into their applications and Web sites. For example, a business can now include presence, instant messaging, click-to-call and click-to-meet features on its Web site so that customers can start a conversation or ask questions with one click from the company's Web site. This capability helps businesses reduce charges associated with toll-free customer support lines and also helps to improve customer service. Additionally, the zero-download Web client makes it easy for external users to participate in meetings. 

The new release of Lotus Sametime offers expanded mobility support with a new, browser-based Apple iPhone chat client, and an improved mobile client for Microsoft Windows Mobile devices. 

Customer Loyalty and Innovation Drive IBM UC2 Adoption
Initially launched in 1998, Lotus Sametime has established a steadily expanding install base of users across the globe. More than 100 organizations, each with more than 10,000 seats, have been dedicated Lotus Sametime users for five or more years including: ADP, Colgate-Palmolive, HSBC, Merck KGaA, Prudential Financial, Inc., PSA Peugeot Citroen, Southern California Edison and Verizon. 

Available since July 2009, Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) has already established early adoption among customers. SUT helps users manage telephone calls from within Lotus Sametime, enables users to route calls to various devices and sets rules on how to handle calls based on their presence and location. Customers that have selected SUT as a key part of their UC2 strategy include GEA Niro and PSA Peugeot Citroen. 

"We use Lotus Sametime instant messaging today for 12,000 users dispersed all over the world, simplifying communication and improving collaboration among employees on different sites, who sometimes speak different languages," said Odile Beurier, PSA Peugeot Citroen. "In addition, we use Lotus Sametime Web conferencing to reduce travel costs and optimize teamwork. Our vision is to expand our current capabilities with new innovations for desktop voice and video collaboration to interact in real-time." 

According to Beurier, "To deliver on this vision, we have selected SUT for voice collaboration because it supports our multi-vendor PBX strategy and provides travelling users with a single softphone that helps colleagues easily find and reach them regardless of their physical location. We use Lotus Sametime meetings extensively inside PSA today and we will upgrade to Lotus Sametime 8.5 with the intention, for example, to connect to our external partners." 

Partner Enablement Expands Reach
By working with partners, IBM is making it easier for businesses everywhere to access and purchase the IBM UC2 portfolio. A number of IBM Business Partners have declared support for Lotus Sametime 8.5 and are extending the Lotus Sametime platform across areas such as telephony, audio/video, voice performance and devices. Some of these partners include: Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Avistar, BroadSoft, Cisco, Genesys, Interactive Intelligence, Intercall, iscoord, iLink, NEC, GN Netcom, Plantronics, Polycom, Premiere Global Services, Radvision, ShoreTel, TANDBERG and VoiceRite. 

For more information on IBM's UC2 portfolio, including Sametime 8.5, visit www.ibm.com/software/lotus/unified-communications.

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM's hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM's breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM's legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service.

For more information, visit: www.ibm.com.

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