Virtual Collaboration for Lotus Sametime

June 25, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Posted in collaboration, IBM, virtual worlds | 1 Comment

Some of the great research work that IBM was doing around virtual worlds has now made it onto enterprise desktops through IBM’s announcement of the availability of the “Virtual Collaboration for Lotus Sametime” plugin for Lotus Sametime 8.0.1 or later.  An OpenSimulator instance runs on the server and connects to Sametime through a bridge. There is a web client, although most users would probably use the SecondLife client.

The plugin provides 3 enterprise virtual world environments that I’d classify as virtual collaboration: collaboration spaces, boardrooms (meeting rooms), and theatres (see details in the slideshow below or the YouTube video).

It looks like neat stuff to me.  And from what I can tell, there’s no cost to Sametime users to add this since OpenSimulator and the SecondLife client are free.  Even though this has moved from research to general availability, I still consider it an experiment.  Now is when early adopters can start playing around with this, find good uses, and report their stories back to start assembling a business case.  I haven’t had a chance yet to read the “Business Value Study” they reference. From my research last year, the best business cases were around rehearsal and training, not virtual collaboration, but I look forward to seeing what they came up with once I get past Catalyst season.

Note: This is a cross-posting from the Collaboration and Content Strategies blog.

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  1. Thanks for the compliment on the new service which has been well-received by businesses worldwide.

    Although OpenSimulator and the SecondLife client are free, IBM has built a set of applications and tools that sit on top of Opensimulator (and are accessed using the SL viewer) which are a licensed asset sold to clients with implementation services. The application includes three different meeting venues, for example with specialized in world tools for collaboration, brainstorming etc.

    In addition, we have built an infrastructure for the enterprise that is usable “out of the box”, but is also designed to be extensible- by anyone with VW building skills. Once IBM has done the base installation for the clients of the licensed asset, there are a number of opportunities for 3rd parties to extend and enhance the base capabilities. What we provide for the enterprise is an infrastructure that includes capabilities such as:
    A life cycle management tool that manages the OpenSim virtual spaces (archive/restore, for example) and allows addition of new ‘templates’ (an entire OAR for a new space) by the client through a web based administrator interface.
    Ability for clients (or their partners) to enhance — add scripted objects, clothing, etc — the three templates we provide, and then save those as new templates for use by the enterprise.
    Connection to Lotus Sametime for easy assess to a user’s Contact List (so you can invite people to a meeting directly from ST) — if client is ST 8
    A full Web based UI for clients not using ST 8, that allows users (and administrators) to create/delete spaces, set private/public spaces and — if private — invite selected users to access the space etc- everything you can do with the ST plug-in except invite people from your ST Contact List
    User friendly upload process for presentations, PDF or even excel files -through web interface or the ST interface
    Support for integration with LDAP for authentication services- users are authenticated against client LDAP and then assigned their user names automatically.


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