IBM Buys Web Conferencing Service

IBM plans to integrate WebDialogs on-demand conferencing service with Lotus Sametime.

SAN FRANCISCO—IBM announced on Aug. 22 at VoiceCon San Francisco that it has agreed to acquire Web conferencing service provider WebDialogs.

Although IBM already provides an on-premises offering, WebDialogs represents IBMs first foray into the on-demand Web conferencing services to "extend IBMs reach," said Mike Rhodin, general manager of IBMs Lotus organization.

"We chose them because they have the easiest system to use in the market," said Rhodin.

WebDialogs with the Sametime team will create a joint offering called Lotus Sametime Unite, Rhodin said.

He also used his keynote to introduce the new Lotus Sametime Telephony module that adds new communications services to Sametime.

It is based on the Services Oriented Architecture elements of Siemens Communications OpenScape Unified Communications software, including Siemens one number services, aggregated presence, rules engine and integrated communications services. IBM chose Siemens OpenScape technology for its interoperability with multiple PBX systems and its open approach.


To read more about how IBM based its new Lotus Notes and Domino 8 on Eclipse, click here.

"It brings into (Sametime) a unified API that makes it easy for applications to take advantage of that aggregated telephony infrastructure," said Rhodin in his keynote at VoiceCon.

"They can use it whether (the infrastructure) is IP or TDM and whether its Cisco, Nortel or whomever," said Andy Chew, senior vice president of Unified Communications for Siemens Enterprise Communication in the United Kingdom.

Customers will benefit from the new Unified Telephony module by being able to split off their unified communications investments from their PBX infrastructure, so that they can have a consistent communications user experience across multiple vendors PBXes.

"They dont have to forklift the infrastructure (to enjoy the benefits of the Sametime Unified Telephony offering)," added Chew.

"Its all about integrating multiple systems into a common layer that makes it easy to build applications," said Rhodin.

This new middleware offering will give end users more control over how the infrastructure serves them as they move from one telephony environment to another. Users can build rules into the module that allows the infrastructure to follow their movements and automatically route calls to the appropriate phone, whether they are working from home, on the road or in the office, Rhodin said. "We let the system track me. It works with any PBX," he added.

IBM is the first significant OEM to license Siemens OpenScape services, according to Chew. "This is of real interest to other software vendors. I think this is an opportunity for others to embed the communications natively within their applications," he added.

The new Lotus Sametime Telephony Module will work with the new entry level, standard edition and advanced edition of Sametime 8.


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