IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User's Guide

By Marie L. Scott , Thomas Duff
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  1. At the Starting Line: Know Your Sametime Client

About this book

IBM Lotus Sametime software allows you to collaborate and communicate with others in real time. By using Sametime, you can communicate with your peers and teammates with the Sametime Connect client, embedded Sametime integration with Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook e-mail, or on mobile devices like a Blackberry. You will be able to connect to your colleagues via text, voice, video, or by setting up an online meeting with colleagues in several sites or countries getting the information you need to do your job and make better and faster decisions.

This user guide enables you, no matter what your skill level, to develop and increase your knowledge of Sametime and how to use each feature from start to finish. It shows how you can effectively collaborate with your colleagues and teammates both in your organization and outside your organization by using the features of Sametime. It's practical, and most of all, fun!

This book takes you from the basics of Sametime through to the most advanced features with a focus on real work-related situations along with plenty of screen prints to guide you. You'll learn everything from how to conduct a quick chat to conducting an online meeting. Or perhaps you want to learn how to take advantage of Sametime's telephony features or set up an online poll? The book starts by teaching you how to install Sametime and set up a contact list of people with whom you interact. Next, you learn how the chat feature of Sametime works, from using basic text to sharing screen-capture images. You learn how to use Sametime both within an organization and with other external instant messaging services like AOL, Yahoo, and Google. However, Sametime isn't restricted to just the Sametime client. You learn how to use Sametime from a web browser as well as from a mobile device. Meeting rooms with screen sharing, whiteboarding, audio, and video features are covered, as well as how Sametime integrates into an organization's phone system so that you can have a single place to go for all your communication and collaboration needs. Learn how Sametime advanced features like persistent chats and broadcast communities can help your project teams stay organized. And finally learn about Sametime 8.5 and 8.5.1.

Publication date:
September 2010
Publisher
Packt
Pages
284
ISBN
9781849680608

 

Chapter 1. At the Starting Line: Know Your Sametime Client

You've heard about instant messaging. You've heard about e-mail. You've probably also heard about online meetings. So how might these three forms of communication be connected and what does this have to do with you? If you're reading this book you're about to find out.

You're at the starting line. Imagine that you have a new job and today is your first day. You turn on your computer and start looking for your e-mail program. Along the way, you see a program called IBM Lotus Sametime. What's that, you might ask. Is it something I need? Will it help me to do my job better?

Sametime is a software package for instant messaging and web conferencing. It allows you to have instant conversations or "chat" with your co-workers, have online meetings, share files, and much more. In this book, we will show you everything you need to know to use Sametime and get the most value possible from all of its many features. By the time you finish reading, not only will you be a Sametime "power user", but you'll wonder how you were able to get along without it.

In this chapter, you'll learn the following:

  • Why instant messaging is important

  • Why Sametime is an excellent choice for enterprise instant messaging

  • The different types of Sametime clients

  • The different versions of Sametime, along with the significant features of each

What's all the fuss about instant messaging?

You may be saying to yourself, "I already have an instant messaging client". If you are familiar with instant messaging or IM for short, it's likely that you use one or more IM clients for personal purposes. Skype has IM and voice communications. Google has Google Chat and Google Voice. AOL has AIM, Microsoft has MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! has Yahoo! Instant Messenger. And let's not forget tools like Pidgin and Trillian that allow you to connect to multiple instant messaging systems all from one chat window.

But remember—you're at the office and many workplaces block personal chat services at the corporate firewall for security reasons. Exactly how might instant messaging work in an office environment? To give you a glimpse of instant messaging in action in the workplace, let's look at the following scenarios:

  • You have a deadline for a report and you need one final detail from your teammate, Joan. You try to call Joan, but your call is transferred to voicemail. Minutes are ticking by. Wait—you notice that Joan is online in Sametime, so you "ping" her and she responds with the detail you need to complete the report!

  • You're working on a helpdesk support line and you receive an incoming call. You don't have the necessary information to provide an answer to the user, but while the user is on the phone, you can IM your team through Sametime to see if any of the team members know the answer. And guess what—Bashir responds back in the chat window with the correct response!

  • As a team manager you're responsible for making sure that progress is being made on an important project while you're away from the office at a conference. From your Blackberry, you can chat using Sametime Mobile to get a quick status report from Scott and Connie while you're waiting for your first session to begin!

  • You need to set up a meeting, only to find out that two of the key meeting attendees, Chadna and Huan, will be at a remote office. You can still schedule the meeting using the Sametime Meeting Center; you can have an online meeting with slides, voice, and audio no matter where the attendees are located!

 

What's all the fuss about instant messaging?


You may be saying to yourself, "I already have an instant messaging client". If you are familiar with instant messaging or IM for short, it's likely that you use one or more IM clients for personal purposes. Skype has IM and voice communications. Google has Google Chat and Google Voice. AOL has AIM, Microsoft has MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! has Yahoo! Instant Messenger. And let's not forget tools like Pidgin and Trillian that allow you to connect to multiple instant messaging systems all from one chat window.

But remember—you're at the office and many workplaces block personal chat services at the corporate firewall for security reasons. Exactly how might instant messaging work in an office environment? To give you a glimpse of instant messaging in action in the workplace, let's look at the following scenarios:

  • You have a deadline for a report and you need one final detail from your teammate, Joan. You try to call Joan, but your call is transferred to voicemail. Minutes are ticking by. Wait—you notice that Joan is online in Sametime, so you "ping" her and she responds with the detail you need to complete the report!

  • You're working on a helpdesk support line and you receive an incoming call. You don't have the necessary information to provide an answer to the user, but while the user is on the phone, you can IM your team through Sametime to see if any of the team members know the answer. And guess what—Bashir responds back in the chat window with the correct response!

  • As a team manager you're responsible for making sure that progress is being made on an important project while you're away from the office at a conference. From your Blackberry, you can chat using Sametime Mobile to get a quick status report from Scott and Connie while you're waiting for your first session to begin!

  • You need to set up a meeting, only to find out that two of the key meeting attendees, Chadna and Huan, will be at a remote office. You can still schedule the meeting using the Sametime Meeting Center; you can have an online meeting with slides, voice, and audio no matter where the attendees are located!

 

Why use Sametime?


Obviously Sametime is not the only instant messaging or web meeting software tool available. However, in the business world, there are other usability factors to consider when choosing an instant messaging or online meeting client. Can you guarantee that the person on the other end of the chat is who they say they are? Are you sure that the content you type to the other person is secure from others who might be monitoring your connection? Is the password you're using encrypted? Why would that be important? Let's say you're a stock broker communicating with another broker over IM about the value of a stock. Would it be appropriate for that chat conversation to not be secure or encrypted? Probably not! With Sametime, you can communicate with others knowing that you're protected from eavesdroppers and malicious third parties.

Also, managing organizational knowledge is as critically important as maintaining a secured conversation. Pharmaceutical, health care, military, and financial organizations also must comply with international, federal, and state regulations regarding securing and maintaining copies of electronic communication that includes instant messaging. For profit, companies can't afford to have company secrets made public because a chat conversation or online meeting wasn't secured.

We've mentioned the importance of communication, but what about integration? Does your communication client integrate with other software running in your organization, making it easy to connect and collaborate? Trying to integrate consumer IM clients and business-related software is a difficult and time-consuming task. But with Sametime, those concerns disappear. Not only do you have a secure method of communication, but you also have a client you can use from your e-mail system, the web, your phone, or in an online application. Sametime integrates with the Lotus family of software, as well as with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft SharePoint.

We haven't even touched on Sametime's other strength as an office tool—online meetings. How many times have you tried to set up a meeting only to find out that someone is traveling on the only day you can set up the meeting? Or you have many slides you want to display during the meeting, but want to be able to annotate them and have users comment during the process? What about user polls or the ability to add video or audio during an online meeting? And what if you need to share your desktop during this meeting and share its contents or display an application during the course of a meeting? Sametime allows you to do that. Sametime online meetings provide a secure web-driven environment for meetings in and out of the physical office environment. No matter if you're separated by time zone differences or are using different types of workstations such as PCs, Macs, or Linux, you can still log into to the meeting center to attend the online meeting. Need to schedule an online meeting every week? You can do that! Need to allow white boarding during the

meeting for planning purposes? You can do that! You can open and schedule a meeting from your Sametime client. So while Sametime is about chatting, it's also about connecting with colleagues and teammates for work groups and discussions.

 

Types of Sametime clients


Another major benefit of Sametime is that it is not a "one-size-fits-most" offering. The Sametime client set allows instant messaging connections from various types of workstations and mobile devices. Sametime uses a central company directory for displaying contact information which can be customized—even including employee photos. Depending on the way you and your organization work, there are a number of different types of Sametime clients to best fit everyone's needs.

Sametime Embedded Client—the Sametime Embedded Client is what you use when you're running the Lotus Notes e-mail client and Sametime is "built in" to the client experience. In most cases, Sametime will be running in the Lotus Notes Sidebar as a "widget", or a mini-application within Lotus Notes. It can be set to automatically sign in when you start Lotus Notes, and you don't have to be concerned with running or starting a separate program for running Sametime.

Sametime Connect—Sametime Connect is the stand-alone Sametime client. When it is launched, it runs as a separate application, and is similar in nature to what you'd see if you were using an IM client like AIM or Skype. This configuration is ideal for users who don't often use the Notes client but need to have the capabilities of Sametime available on a constant basis.

Sametime Mobile—Sametime Mobile allows you to use Lotus Sametime instant messaging on Research in Motion BlackBerry devices, Microsoft Windows Mobile devices, Sony Ericsson mobile devices, and Nokia ESeries devices. The Sametime Mobile client is downloaded to the device and provides basic chat and "awareness" so you can remain in contact while away from your office computer.

Sametime for Lotus iNotes—Sametime basic functionality is also available to Lotus iNotes users. Lotus iNotes is the web collaboration client for e-mail and calendaring available for Lotus Notes users.

 

The Sametime system offerings


Why use one Sametime client versus another? The availability of Sametime clients and features may depend on how your computer is configured and which version of the Sametime server is in use at your company. There are a number of features that you may or may not have available based on the level of Sametime software installed in your workplace. There are four levels of Sametime available: Entry, Standard, Advanced, and Unified Telephony. Each subsequent level adds features to the previous level and determines what options you will have at your disposal.

Sametime Entry—Sametime Entry is the "get your feet wet" version of Sametime. As its name suggests, it provides a basic set of options which include instant messaging, online awareness, file sharing, geographic information, screen capture, and Microsoft product integration.

Sametime Standard—Sametime Standard builds on the Sametime Entry features to include web conferencing with video and/or audio, as well as instant screen sharing; Voice over IP (VoIP) chat for those installations on a VoIP network, support for Sametime Mobile, and integration with public IM systems like AOL, Google, and Yahoo through the Sametime Gateway system. Some integrated telephony voice options are available with third party vendor support like "click to call" and call management.

Sametime Advanced—Sametime Advanced is the next tier. It includes all the features of Sametime Entry and Sametime Standard plus expanded chat and web conference functions. Sametime Advanced offers chat room service, broadcast chat messages, and screen sharing from within a web conference.

Sametime Unified Telephony—Sametime Unified Telephony adds "unified communication" functionality. Many organizations are seeking to integrate chat, e-mail, and office applications, with what has typically been only phone-based functionality like voice mail, call routing, and caller presence. Sametime Unified Telephony adds those features to the Sametime product set.

Feature

Sametime Entry

Sametime Standard

Sametime Advanced

Sametime Unified Telephony

Feature

Sametime Entry

Sametime Standard

Sametime Advanced

Sametime Unified Telephony

Feature

Sametime Entry

Sametime Standard

Sametime Advanced

Sametime Unified Telephony

Feature

Sametime Entry

Sametime Standard

Sametime Advanced

Sametime Unified Telephony

 

Summary


After a brief introduction to the different Sametime clients and features, you now know how Sametime can improve your productivity and effectiveness on a daily basis. We've described some reasons why you and your company might be using Sametime. We've also described the different software levels and what options may be available.

About the Authors

  • Marie L. Scott

    Marie Scott is the Director of Email Services at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. She holds a bachelor of science in biology from James Madison University and a certificate in information systems from Virginia Commonwealth University. Marie has held dual advanced certifications in Notes/Domino administration and development since version 4.0, and she is an IBM Certified Advanced Security Professional for Domino. Marie began working with Lotus Notes in 1996, and she has worked in networking, systems integration, and email systems since 1987. Her primary interest is in Domino administration in complex environments. She has managed large email migration projects including a project transitioning university students to cloud computing. Marie is a speaker at conferences featuring IBM/Lotus technologies. Marie has written for The View (Wellesley Information Services) and with Tom Duff coauthored IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User’s Guide (Packt Press, 2010). Marie is an IBM Champion for Collaboration Solutions: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/profiles/user/MarieScott. Marie’s blog can be found at: http://crashtestchix.com

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  • Thomas Duff

    Thomas Duff (also known as “Duffbert”) is a software developer focusing on Lotus collaboration technologies in Portland, Oregon. He started working with Lotus Notes in 1996 in version R3 and has written and maintained hundreds of applications in large enterprises through the years. He also holds Lotus principal development certifications starting at version 4 and going up to version 8, as well as Microsoft and Java certifications. Tom is a prolific writer, both in various industry publications and at his website, Duffbert’s Random Musings, at http://www.duffbert.com. He also is a frequent speaker at conferences and events focusing on Lotus technologies. Tom and Marie Scott coauthored IBM Lotus Sametime 8 Essentials: A User’s Guide (Packt Press, 2010). Tom is an IBM Champion for Collaboration Solutions: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/profiles/user/ThomasDuff

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