Sametime Unified Telephony announced (and no, it’s not an April Fools!)

Great to see the news from VoiceCon today, Sametime Unified Telephony formally announced and demo’d:

IBM Brings Future of Voice Collaboration to Legacy IT Systems
New Unified Communications Service and Partner Solutions for IBM Sametime Unified Telephony

ORLANDO, FL.  April 1, 2009 – At VoiceCon, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today showcased the future of enterprise voice collaboration with new software, services and an array of business partner offerings. Designed to help businesses use unified communications (UC) to work smarter and save money, these offerings help accelerate the transition to UC by using a company’s existing infrastructure.

IBM believes the future of voice collaboration is rooted in openness and the ability to connect with people and avoid costly and frustrating missed connections. The center piece of IBM’s UC portfolio is IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony. Sametime Unified Telephony works with a business’ new and legacy telephony systems from a variety of vendors to bring voice communications into the business applications people use most.   

In response to widespread industry support for Sametime Unified Telephony, IBM has launched an interoperability validation program for the product. This first of its kind UC program, allows IBM and key Business Partners to test a product’s capabilities with Sametime Unified Telephony. This testing helps ensure that millions of people will be able to easily implement Sametime Unified Telephony into their existing IT environment. 

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. 

Concurrent with the availability of Sametime Unified Telephony, IBM announces the availability of a new service designed specifically to enable clients to readily reap the benefits of Sametime Unified Telephony.   IBM Converged Communications Services for Sametime Unified Telephony builds on IBM’s extensive experience in IP telephony and partnership with telephony vendors across the industry and was developed working closely with the Sametime Unified Telephony development teams and beta customers.  The global service provides strategy, assessment, architecture, design, integration and implementation for the new solution.   

”With a unique combination of expertise and early experience, IBM will work with clients to build robust unified communications environments using almost any telephony equipment,” said Laurence Guihard-Joly, vice president integrated communications services, IBM global technology services.  “As a result, they can minimize costs and protect their investments in existing communications equipment, a benefit that is critical in today’s economy.”

Regardless of the voice vendors a company has selected, Sametime Unified Telephony brings all of their IP and legacy telephony systems together. This allows businesses to use existing investments to accelerate the adoption of UC.  IT and telecom departments benefit from being able to insulate people from upgrades and changes, providing employees new UC features within a familiar desktop environment.

“Sametime Unified Telephony does not hold businesses captive to one vendor’s vision of unified communication, it works with what you already have, preserving your IT and telephony investments,” said Bob Picciano, general manager IBM collaboration. “Now, IBM is applying our nearly three decades of experience in how people work collaboratively to voice communications, helping businesses save money and work smarter.” 

Sametime Unified Telephony helps people make smarter and faster decisions by putting them in contact with the right people, at the right time, on the right device. Sametime Unified Telephony makes missed connections a thing of the past, allowing people to see who is on the phone before they make a call. Incoming calls can be automatically sent to the device best suited to the situation based on presence, location and personal preferences. People can also turn a personal computer into a virtual telephone allowing them to talk with a colleague through VoIP directly from their desktop, which can result in significant savings, especially when traveling. 

The advanced click-to-call features in Sametime Unified Telephony allow people to click on a person’s name to start a voice conversation, IM chat session or video conference. People can also drag and drop names from their IM client to add colleagues to a conference call. In addition, with one click a person can transfer a call from their office telephone to a mobile device without interrupting the call.

Sametime Unified Telephony is expected to be available in July of 2009.  

For more information on IBM Unified Communications and Collaboration:

I look forward to reading the press coverage of this announcement over the next few days. The first article I’ve seen hit the wires is this article from

VoiceCon 2009: IBM puts Sametime Unified Telephony front and center

ORLANDO, Fla. – IBM has put its Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) solution front and center as the enterprise solution for unified communications. The company announced an interoperability testing program and a new consulting service for UC and SUT implementation.

IBM spokespersons are emphasizing SUT’s ability to work with existing legacy equipment and the bright and shiny world of IP telephony, as well as its capability to work with multiple vendors – following the highlighting of UC interoperability by Cisco, TANDBERG and others at the show.

Initial companies participating 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; plus GN Netcom, Plantronics, Polycom and Psytechnics. Additional partners will be announced in the coming months.

IBM Converged Communications Services for Sametime Unified Telephony is the new service offering designed to provide strategy, assessment, architecture, design, integration and implementation for SUT. Consulting services are going to be key in bringing together SUT and other IP and legacy phone systems.

Great effort Lotus, can’t wait to try this solution for real…

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!