A year ago August IBM‘s Lotus Sametime Division announced the acquisition of Skype Partner Webdialogs to obtain their widely respected Unyte Desktop Sharing collaboration technology. About four months later we learned, from Lou Guercia, Lotus SameTime’s Director of Operations and Strategy, more about Unyte’s integration into the Lotus SameTime offerings. In that post on Lou’s presentation I asked:
Question: with IBM pursuing excellence on a service that comprises voice, video, chat and file transfer in a secure, encrypted environment, and with the stated goals of “working with their partners”, would this not result in a situation where IBM would be licensing Skype technology to provide a comprehensive real time multi-media communications infrastructure?
With announcements this week, including some at IBM’s annual Lotusphere 2009 event in Orlando, FL, it seems like that question is starting to get some answers..
Yesterday IBM announced “A Strong Fourth Quarter, a rarity these days“. ZDNet’s Dennis Howlett, in Can IBM sustain its momentum, goes on the provide some background, pointing out that most of IBM’s growth is occuring in its software division. Certainly IBM sees its Lotus Sametime division as a key to sustaining their momentum. Except it appears that IBM has reorganized their SameTime collaborative services into “a cloud-based porfolio of social networking and collaboration services designed for business” under a new name: LotusLive.
In a press release this past Monday, in conjunction with the annual Lotusphere event, Skype announced:
…. it will integrate Skype™ functionality with LotusLive (www.lotuslive.com), IBM’s new cloud services which are designed to help individuals build communities to work smarter, more effectively and more efficiently across and beyond their own companies. Skype’s voice and video calling will add rich, real-time communications capabilities to LotusLive, making it even easier for enterprises to collaborate in the cloud.
At Lotusphere 2009, IBM demonstrated the new Skype integration into LotusLive Engage, “an integrated suite of tools that combines your network [of contacts] with Web conferencing and collaboration capabilities like file storing and sharing, instant messaging and chart creation.”
- This announcement covers only the first step of what will be a series of Skype integrations into the LotusLive offerings.
- The integration into LotusLive Engage is targeted at “businesses looking to collaborate inside and outside the organization to easily expand their networks…” In other words for businesses that need to include, say, sub-contractors, third party consultants, suppliers and buyers within their business operation processes.
- Within a LotusLive Engage contact profile, “Skype” fields have been added such that when a user clicks on a a name to bring up a profile card, the user can launch a Skype conversation and transfer files with a single click.
- The only additional requirement for engaging in a Skype conversation is that the initiating user must have a Skype client open.
- In addition to Skype-to-Skype calls, SkypeOut calls can also be made.
- Where several contact profile cards have been opened, a user can launch a Skype multi-party call
- Due to the nature of LotusLive Engage’s web architecture, the resulting Skype access is cross-platform; it does NOT require that the user have a Skype web (FF or IE) toolbar installed.
- A session can then also launch a Lotus Web Meeting (also known as a Lotus SameTime Unyte meeting).
Sounds like the Lotusphere demonstrations got the brainstorming going between Skype and IBM. In a concluding statement Peter said:
“We are enthusiastic about the partnership with IBM and we see a lot of areas where we can collaborate and help each other improve our services. We met with a series of executives at IBM during Lotusphere and the general feeling was highly positive.”
At the same time IBM announced Salesforce.com and LinkedIn integration into their LotusLive services. Andy at VoIP Watch comments on the competitive “collaboration and communications” space where IBM LotusLive, Microsoft Office Live and Google Apps are the key players.
With the IBM offering, we are seeing one more example of “Skype Everywhere”, in this case, being embedded into an offering that is key to IBM’s future success in delivering cloud-based outsourced business services.
Phil will have some comments on the technical aspects of this integration along with where he feels there are “deeper” integration opportunities.
Powered by Qumana