Webconferencing Toolkit Provides Extra-Connectivity
Lotus IBM SameTime 3.0
= interesting, promising
Lotus Sametime represent IBM major mainstream effort to enter the webconferencing, live presentation and virtual classroom niche with a competitive product.
This technology stands head to head with comparable tools/services from HorizonLive, Centra, and many others but it offers a lot of bang for the buck, providing advanced features and integration of many useful options in a low-cost package.
Having already acquired over 7 million users (as claimed by IBM on the Sametime web site) this tool has now gone through enough real testing and refinements to be ready for prime time.
Sametime offers all of the web conferencing features ones should expect from a professional tool in this field: whiteboarding, application sharing, URL sharing, audio and text chat and event management facilities.
Last but not least Sametime now fully integrates video capabilities allowing for the presenter video to be viewed by all.
Lotus Sametime integrates with Lotus Domino and Notes and through the use of third-party products can also well integrate with Microsoft Outlook.
(For integration with Microsoft Outlook See:
The Lotus Sametime product set includes three components:
a) the Sametime Connect Client,
b) the Sametime Server and
c) tools to support third-party application development.
Lotus Sametime provides three additional components to support organizations in deploying this type of system across all levels and reaching staff sitting outside the internal organization network.
1) The Sametime IM Gateway gives organizations a secure way to connect to other instant messaging platforms and communities.
2) The Enterprise Meeting Server allows organizations to host and administer organization-wide Web conference events.
3) With Sametime Everyplace organizations can connect all mobile users to this system and utilize the instant messaging capabilities of Sametime to reach users with mobile phones and wireless PDAs.
I strongly suggest NOT to see the Flash-based demo available at: http://www.lotus.com/products/ lotussametime.nsf/wdocs/demos as it gives you a very limited view on what Sametime can do for you. Rather, if you prefer to actually test what it feels and what it takes (for your PC) to be inside a Sametime meeting space, I strongly suggest you access the live demo area which allows to fully test all of the features of Sametime, while allowing you to emulate a real live web conferencing session. Find it at:
Sametime has a very sober and standard-abiding interface, which makes its use quite intuitive. Functionalities are properly labelled and easy to find. Buttons are labelled with extra information to make sure the user understands their use before trying them out. I would define the overall design essential and well executed.
I have not found facilities for PowerPoint presentations, outside of the ability to load images or screenshots. All other features are well integrated and implemented, and offer an impressive set of facilities paralleled only in high end systems like HorizonLive or Centra.
Sametime architecture allows users to see and invite other colleagues that are online, and to extend this collaborative network to people on mobiles, PDAs and pagers.
Sametime requires a powerful PC, a good amount of RAM memory and at least a 128 Kbps connection (dual ISDN or better) to utilize all of its functionalities including audio and video. These requirements make it an ideal solution for internal deployment inside large organizations that may want or need to extend the capabilities of their staff to collaborate, communicate and exchange in real time over the Intranet.
I have not been able to find any pricing information for Lotus Sametime. I am afraid this is not accidental and it generally means prices that only large corporate entities can afford. If I am wrong please let me know.
Sametime is available in several languages including: North American English, International English, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.
The Sametime Server runs on Windows NT 4.0.
The Sametime Connect Client runs on Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT.
An exhaustive set of reference documents, quick guides and technical specifications is available for download as PDF files at:
http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/notesua.nsf/ 578da92031aedc7e85256a0e0071bb7f/ 34f6ceae9e151cc200256c15004fbad9? OpenDocument
Lotus' SameTime is priced on a per-user basis at USD $38.
The Lotus Sametime Everyplace client module costs USD $ 36.
Lotus SameTime online free trial at:
Worth trying (if your equipment allows it).
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