Siemens Communications, a division of Siemens AG, announced that the company is extending its unified communications platform, OpenScape, to IBMs Lotus Sametime.
Currently OpenScape is designed to work with Microsoft products only. The new application, which features click-to-contact, click-to-conference, advanced presence, and instant messaging, is designed to work closely with Siemens SIP based telephony products, including their wireless VOIP (voice over IP) phones.
The combination of Lotus Sametime and Siemens OpenScape lets knowledge workers know about a contacts availability, it supports phone and video calls, integrates messaging into a single application and it supports Device Handover, in which a caller can move easily between a wireless phone call and a phone call on a wired PBX phone.
"The thing thats cool is that its built on our open services architecture platform," said Dave Winikoff, vice president of Global Product Management for Unified Communications. "Its very easy to embed into other business applications," he said. Winikoff said that Siemens would offer an SDK to enable such embedded applications.
Winikoff said that the integration with Lotus Sametime would add features that currently arent available elsewhere. "Its a solution to the staff meeting problem," he said. "You usually have clusters of people in a room and others remotely. What we have is something that lets you do a roll call, and you only need to call the phones that actually need to be connected."
He also said that Device Handover would be an important feature.
"Lets say youre on a call while youre driving, and then you get to the office. We have a feature that lets you transfer to call from one device to another automatically," Winikoff said.
"People love that the device is both device and network independent. It works on any phone and any cell phone."
Winikoff said that the product will be completely controllable through a Web-based interface, so users can create lists of backups if they cant be reached. He said that the OpenScape server can let users choose the features they want for the devices they use it with.
"I think its very promising," said Jonathan Spira, chief analyst for Basex, a knowledge research firm in New York City. "I think the type of call-handling capability and the ability to find people and join them together is not only valuable but necessary for knowledge workers."
Spira added that when combining an industry leading collaboration tool in Sametime with OpenScape functionality gives knowledge workers practically 360 degree control of their communications.
Spira mentioned that a key difference with the Siemens implementation is the use of open standards. "I just think with the Sametime implementation its worth it to note that Siemens is coming out of a service-oriented architecture. Theyre sitting completely on open standards on that and SIP. It makes it very easy to integrate OpenScape to other enterprise applications as well," he said.
Winikoff said that it will be a while before the product is actually released. "We are doing beta in the second quarter and planning on a product by year end," he said.