SOURCE: IBM

January 23, 2006 11:00 ET

IBM Creates Advanced Real-Time Collaboration Platform Designed for the Speed of Today's Global Business Environment

New Platform Includes New Version of Lotus Sametime, Connectivity With AOL and Yahoo! IM Platforms and Audio and Video Integration

ORLANDO, FL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 23, 2006 -- IBM today announced an advanced real-time collaboration platform, which includes a set of tools and technologies designed to help customers communicate, share information and conduct business faster, using the collaborative tools that best suit their business need. IBM's new platform includes a new version of IBM® Lotus® Sametime®, new audio and video conferencing integration, and connectivity with some of the leading consumer IM platforms, including AOL, and Yahoo! In addition, IBM and Google intend to connect Lotus Sametime and Google Talk users.

In today's increasingly global economy, the speed of business has increased dramatically, which has made real-time collaboration tools a critical aspect of daily work life. Customers increasingly rely on tools such as instant messaging, web conferencing and other real-time technologies to share knowledge and quickly react to market changes and opportunities. In response to this growing demand, IBM has created a platform that gives customers the flexibility to collaborate using a variety of tools for different work situations and business needs.

"Real Time technology has helped flatten the world by eliminating time and space barriers between people. This has profoundly changed how we all do business. At IBM, we view this as an evolution from real-time tools to 'real-time business' and have introduced a set of new technologies and offerings to help customers keep up and compete at the dizzying speed of today's economic landscape," said Michael Rhodin, general manager of IBM's Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software business. "With new tools, features and functionality, IBM continues to be the top provider of real-time technology for today's real-time business world."

Following are new features in Lotus Sametime, as well as details on new audio and video conferencing integration and interoperability with some of the leading consumer IM platforms:

Introducing Lotus Sametime 7.5

With over 15 million Lotus Sametime users, IBM is poised to expand its leadership in the growing instant messaging market through Lotus Sametime 7.5. This new version includes more than 100 new features and represents a major upgrade in instant messaging and Web conferencing capabilities. New features and functions include:

--  New "look and feel" for IM client interface -- completely new instant
    messaging client interface that provides an attractive "look and feel" and
    features that will be familiar to users of public instant messaging
    clients. In addition to enhanced security features, privacy settings and
    location awareness capabilities, Lotus Sametime 7.5 simplifies connections
    with other instant messaging platforms and has embedded VoIP capabilities,
    allowing users to talk directly through their PCs with a simple click of a
    mouse.
--  Expanded platform support -- In 2006, IBM plans to add Lotus Sametime
    7.5 client support for Apple's Mac OS X version 10.4 "Tiger" and Linux.
    Expanding platform support for Lotus Sametime provides customers with
    flexibility and more enterprise IM options, and extends Lotus Sametime to
    new classes of users.
--  Application platform -- the first major enterprise instant messaging
    client built on the Eclipse open source framework. By leveraging Eclipse,
    Lotus Sametime users get access to new "plug-in" capabilities, such as
    audio/video extensions, location-oriented or "mapping" applications and
    corporate calendar integration.
--  New Web conferencing interface -- completely new user-experience
    designed with tools and technologies to make it easier to create and more
    effectively manage online meetings.  Lotus Sametime 7.5 now allows for
    multiple presenters, provides the ability to edit/modify presentations
    during a Web conference and share applications, makes it easier to enter
    meetings, and automatically reconnects users to their meeting if a
    disruption or network disconnection occurs.
--  Social networking capabilities -- leveraging Lotus Sametime's new
    Eclipse-based application platform, businesses can tap into the collective
    knowledge of their employees through instant polls, focused broadcasts to
    members of a specific community, context-sensitive chat rooms and the
    automated capture and storage of ad-hoc information that can be searched
    for future reference.
--  Real-time collaboration "gateway" -- Lotus Sametime 7.5 will also
    feature a new advanced, multi-protocol real-time collaboration "gateway" to
    increase the ease and manageability of enterprise-to-enterprise and
    enterprise-to-public network connections. The gateway will initially be
    based on SIP (session initiation protocol), a growing standard for instant
    messaging technology.
--  Integration with IBM Workplace software -- also planned to serve as
    the instant messaging client for future editions of IBM Workplace™
    Collaboration Services, Lotus Sametime 7.5 will provide an identical user
    experience while working with both Lotus Sametime and Workplace
    Collaboration Services servers.
    
Public IM Connectivity

IBM today announced that it is working with leaders in the public instant messaging market to help Lotus Sametime users securely connect with public instant messaging communities. As a leader in the development and support of the SIP standard, IBM will be enabling this connectivity through a new SIP-based Real-Time Collaboration Gateway that is currently planned to be available later this year. IBM is embedding this capability in Lotus Sametime, without additional charge to customers.

Working with IBM to enable enterprise-to-public IM connectivity are:

--  AOL: IBM and AOL have entered into an agreement to enable Lotus
    Sametime users to connect with users of AOL®, AIM®, ICQ® and Apple®
    iChat™ instant messaging services. In addition, Lotus Sametime 7.5
    customers will have access to AOL's AIM® Clearinghouse service that will
    make it easy to connect with other enterprise instant messaging users .
--  Yahoo!: IBM and Yahoo! are furthering industry interoperability by
    joining the Yahoo!®  Messenger and IBM Lotus Sametime IM communities. By
    entering into an agreement to allow Lotus Sametime 7.5 users to connect
    with Yahoo! Messenger users, IBM and Yahoo! have demonstrated their shared
    commitment  to provide IM interoperability while keeping security and
    reliability top of mind. Interoperability will be based on the SIP / SIMPLE
    industry standard protocol, and will establish a server-to-server
    connection, requiring only one log-in ID.
--  Google: Building on their existing relationship, IBM and Google intend
    to enable standards-based interoperability between the IBM Lotus Sametime
    enterprise IM community and the Google Talk public IM network.
    
This broad, out-of-the-box connectivity with the industry's leading consumer IM providers extends the business benefits of Lotus Sametime and gives IBM customers a security-rich way to collaborate with millions of public instant messaging users worldwide.

IBM Teams with Industry Leaders for Integrated Audio and Video

IBM is working with leaders in the audio and video industries to help make businesses more agile, responsive, and productive through the seamless integration of audio, video and PC-based collaboration tools. Supporting IBM in this area are a number of industry leaders including Avaya, Nortel, Polycom, Premiere Global Services, Siemens, and Tandberg.

The convergence of leading telephony capabilities with IBM's collaboration solutions will provide customers with "click-to-call" capabilities, enabling businesses to instantly place a telephone call to an instant messaging or email contact while remaining in their inbox or instant messaging client.

The integration of video capabilities enables businesses to embed business quality video into their existing Web conferencing, instant messaging and email infrastructure, helping organizations further enhance communications.

Pricing and availability

Sametime 7.5 is currently expected to be available in mid-2006, and pricing will be announced upon availability. Integrated audio solutions for Lotus Notes and Domino and Lotus Sametime are available now with Avaya and Premiere Global Services, with solutions from other partners are currently expected in 2006.

IBM, Domino, Lotus, Notes, Sametime, Workplace and Workplace Managed Client are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. All other company product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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