Jury Is Out on Sametime 3-D

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-09-03 Print this article Print

In the meantime, IBM is demonstrating Sametime 3-D via the integration of Lotus Sametime with the OpenSim virtual world platform. You can also check out the demo video on YouTube here. Now word on whether/if the app will work with Second Life.

Sametime 3-D isn't IBM's first foray into bundling virtual reality with its Lotus collaboration software suite. IBM and Forterra Systems are working on a unified communications app called Babel Bridge for U.S. intelligence agencies.

On a practical level, I think Sametime 3-D is a bit ahead of its time, which probably explains why it's starting as a research project. I asked ThinkBalm analyst Erica Driver, who covers immersive technologies closely, what she thinks.

She told me that enterprise use of the immersive Internet is in the "seedling" stage of adoption. "I see lots of experiments under way and within five years, collaboration in virtual environments will be mainstream," Driver told me.   

When I use IM, I like to hit and run. That is, I like to bang out a few questions of statements to keep my boss abreast of what I'm doing, or to answer questions about scheduling. I'm not sure I'd want to immerse myself in a virtual world for IM.

Driver also said that many of the virtual world platforms on the market already have instant messaging and VOIP built in, noting that while Sametime 3-D is good for pilot projects or specific-use cases, it can result in redundant functionality when it comes to an enterprise rollout. However, she added:

By integrating the OpenSim virtual world platform with IBM's real-time communications and collaboration platform, IBM collaboration shops can benefit from the immersive experience a virtual environment can provide to information workers while leveraging their existing IT investments (and security model and enterprise directory, etc.)

Net-net this is a nice feature for Sametime users and who knows? Maybe by the time it gets inserted into the Sametime platform (my guess is it will appear in Sametime Advanced), people will want to use it.


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