Since we introduced Lotus Sametime Web Conferencing at XCOM a few years ago it became a frequently used tool today. With seven locations in Germany and customers everywhere Lotus Sametime helped us reducing travel costs and beeing very responsive when an instant meeting is necessary.
The second tool we use for real time collaboration is the Asterisk PBX infrastructure we built in the last year. We use virtual audio conference rooms provided by the Asterisk infrastructure. On some locations Asterisk connects to proprietary PBX like Alcatel or Ericcson systems, and on some locations we got rid of the proprietary and expensive solutions and started using Asterisk as the main PBX infrastructure.
Both Sametime and Asterisk ran in a separate environment and were not connected. We changed this now and connected both infrastructures. The linking pin is the TCSPI (Telephony Conferencing Service Provider Interface) framework IBM provides for integration of the PBX infrastructure into Lotus Sametime.
And here is what we have now:
Lotus Sametime connects now to most of the PBX via SIP protocol. We can initiate conference calls directly from a virtual meeting room in Lotus Sametime. Users can see who is speaking, the moderator can add new users by simply calling them right from the meeting room or adding them via the Sametime buddy list. Our PBX infrastructure remains like it is and we use our regular phones.
I think this is one of the best enhancement we could have for our real time collaboration infrastructure. It works pretty well, and we will upgrade this infrastructure to Lotus Sametime 7.5 as soon as possible.
I think customers have a strong interest in solutions that leverage the convergence of audio and computer-based collaboration tools. This might be a good offering we have in our portfolio – both as a software solution for our customers own infrastructure or as a service provided by us.