Sametime 7.5 Client

Sametime 7.5Well now I just can’t wait for the beta to appear next month.  Having attended a Lotusphere comes to you session in Manchester we saw a lot more of the new client.  I’ve blogged about some features before (1,2) so I’ll try not to repeat myself too much.

Things I saw that made me go wow (new from previous posts):

Type ahead style quick find for contacts.  Excellent – I’m not the best organised in my buddy list and sometimes struggle to find someone.

Location awareness based on IP address, to give a general location – but can be customised, for example “Working from Home – Euxton” etc. 

Spell checker built into the rich text chat typing area.

Rich text allows graphics to be rendered (I’ve already mentioned ability to screen scrape into the chat here)

On the whole the UI looks very clean.  The client has been built on the Eclipse framework and will be fully extensible, allowing branding and allowing other applications to be rendered into the client.  I can see this leading to tabs at the bottom of the client for team announcements, urgent service announcements, click here for IT support etc.  I hope it also fosters a free plugin fiesta similar to those found in the community using other IM clients.  I can’t see it being as big but I’d hate to see all the plugins becoming market opportunities for business partners, but as has shown there is a place for the community designing

My first impressions are – good job Lotus.  With built in VoIP capabilities the client also addresses the “I’m fed up of typing” scenarios that we all see today when we reach the point that an IM chat will become more effective with a conversation.  Although corporates are probably worrying already about the bandwidth implications (so some numbers here would be good although beta testing will allow us to find these ourselves).

We didn’t cover anything on the new social networking tools which will be bundled in with the product.  However these would appear to have been ported across from IBM Community Tools.  In this area I think we will all need to focus …. how will the communities we support make best use of the tools.  The improvements to the chat client will be fairly straightforward and are in fact simply Sametime catching the rest of the IM community.  The community tools elements (Polls, communities of experts, real time forums and a few more) will take some more thought.  I can see the benefits of all of them, how it fits into a process for collaboration and sits in an information workers toolkit will be more interesting.

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