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April 03, 2009

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John Del Pizzo

Hi Mike... Some colleagues pointed out your post and I tried to clarify Sametime vs. Connections on the Sametime blog (http://www.thesametimeblog.com). I always thought the positioning of these two products - and their enhanced value when used together - was pretty clear. Take a look and let's discuss.

Rob Ingram

Is there truly a conflict in the 2 technologies? I see added opportunity by combining the two. For example its logical to be able to branch out of a social networking tool like Lotus Connections and start a realtime chat or voice call via Sametime. This is possible today. Why can't the social streams also become published to other users who don't use a social networking app via their Sametime presence status if that's where they happen to be working at that moment. Mashups can make this possible. What if the business card aggregates and displays all of a user's status info and can share it as a tool in multiple applications - whichever context matters to the user.

Yes of course its all coming together. I don't see this as conflicting positioning but rather a great opportunity for UC and Social networking to leverage one another's strengths via Web 2.0.

If I can draw comparison with an earlier paradigm change - email to IM. Many users are already very adept at blending their communication modes and they have learned how to chose between IM and Email. I don't think any users today would say those two technologies have a positioning conflict. Users are smart enough to have figured out the tool that works best in a given situation and happily use both tools side by side.

Why assume users won't also be able figure out when its best to use asynchronous social computing AND realtime UC tools in different situations ?

Stu Downes

It will be interesting to observe how elements of UC will become a consumer tool in time and the level of integration between those consumer offerings and consumer based collaboration platforms (including the social platforms). We didn't see too much from Skype/eBay but that maybe was the wrong mix. It will be interesting to see how Google Voice positions and how enterprise UC solutions match it or wane.

mike gotta

Thanks Stu - the Google Voice angle is pretty interesting from both a consumer and enterprise perspective. Thought I read a feed item that suggested Skype might be set free from eBay.

Mike Gotta

John, I don't disagree on the integration of Sametime and Connections, like I've said - there are lots of opportunities to IM/presence enable social tools.

My point is that the Sametime team is locked in the "single hammer to nail" mindset when it comes to social messaging. This should not come as a surprise - I ask these questions during briefings. I'm not hearing anything that shows me some out-of-the-box thinking.

Mike Gotta

Rob, integrating IM/presence capabilities is obvious and that's a good thing. You should have click-to-call, click-to-IM, and have a presence indicator on activity streams and micro-blogging/social messaging tools. And I would love for IM systems to turn themselves inside-out (read the post with that title). But IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco are simply not doing that. Let's take profile cards. IM systems are not going to be the master record of that information. In the case of IBM, Sametime should be fetching that from Connections. On the status/activity streams, sure, just like Twitter can update a FB status you could do the same thing for an IM tool. But the idea of seeing the history over time (activity streams) is not something I would want to see SIP/SIMPLE-based systems take on. I don't believe SIP/SIMPLE was ever designed to take on activity streams. Now if you have a product you're trying to protect, then sure - I can see the Sametime team and the OCS team at Microsoft making that case. But I think that is just a flat out mistake.

On the real-time vs. async tools - IM will have it's place (read the bowling alone post) - I believe that UC vendors are trying to push old models into the social world rather than take an outside-in look at what's going on.

Jordan Frank

Mike - I like this model for comparison. You could also do a model around migration from email / IM to blog, microblog and wiki activity.

I've definitely seen both my professional and personal pattends change considerably as I've found ways to move communication from fragmented, overly private desktop channels (E-Mail / IM) to the various professional and personal social spaces to which I belong. These include www.facebook.com, www.linkedin.com, www.twitter.com/jordanfrank, and, of course, my www.tractionsoftware.com TeamPage server.

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