• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

IBM/Lotus Sametime

Apr 08, 20033 mins
Collaboration SoftwareNetworkingSmall and Medium Business

* The Reviewmeister likes collaboration tools so this week he checks out the new version of IBM/Lotus Sametime

The Reviewmeister is big on collaboration tools, so we had to check out the new version of IBM/Lotus Sametime, which offers collaboration tools such as chat, whiteboard, polls, screen sharing and multimedia online meetings.

The product uses two emerging standards: Session Initiation Protocol, a signaling protocol that initiates and manages a session without concern for the content; and SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE), which can let SIP sessions exchange information.

Sametime requires the Domino Application Server. For those who aren’t running Domino for their mail services, a limited license of Domino is included with Sametime. The Domino install was quick, but there were some undocumented changes that need to be performed before Sametime would function correctly. After the initial install, Sametime can be administered through a Web interface.

Using the Domino account management, the Web interface is used to create new users and manage their access. If used on an intranet with controlled network access, you can even let users register themselves. A company’s Lightweight Directory Access Protocol-enabled directory can supplement or replace the Sametime account management.

If the conference rooms are all full, or if your partners are in a different state or country, you might want to try online collaboration using the Sametime Java Meeting room client as an alternative to a face-to-face meeting. Each meeting has a “moderator” who first sets up the meeting’s parameters. Sametime offers three types of meetings: Collaboration, best for small groups with everyone participating; Moderated Presentation, for a larger group with modest participation; and Broadcast Presentation, when there are many viewers who are only watching.

To maintain an online presence, use the Sametime Connect client, available in Java and Win32. The Java version, like the Meeting Room client, has no install and is launched from your browser. Once authenticated to the Sametime server, you set your availability status. By default, you can be active, away or say you wish not to be disturbed; you are free to customize these status messages.A list can be built of those with whom you’d like to interact, and you can group them how you want. If you’re waiting for someone to become available, your client can notify you automatically.

You can start an encrypted chat session, send unencrypted one-way messages or send files. If everyone you’ve needed to meet with is available, select your group and start an instant meeting. The invite list is sent to the Sametime server, and a virtual meeting room will be constructed. An invitation message will appear, and once accepted, the Meeting Room client will start. Just like a scheduled meeting, the same multimedia tools are at your disposal.

Sametime gives your staff the ability to go beyond just chat and into the realm of collaboration. The Java clients enable secure use of Sametime virtually anywhere. And the architecture can grow as your company does. If you’re looking for a way to meet with folks where geography or time isn’t on your side, give Sametime a try. For the full report, go to