Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Announcing General Availability of IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5.1

I am very pleased to share that as of this morning, IBM Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 is available for download.

We've put a pretty comprehensive "what's new" list out on the website (link).  Take a look through there, as there are some things that might surprise you.  Our design and development team did their usual amazing job fitting a lot of new features and design updates into an incredibly short time window.

Of course, this release includes the "big" things that we've been talking about for many months now.  We're introducing point-to-point video and a tabbed chat interface.  We've added integration with Microsoft Outlook and Office, so you can see presence and start chats or Web conferences from within Outlook and Office.  A Mac client* and Linux server.  And I don't want to in any way minimize these capabilities and the impact they can have on an organization's productivity, TCO, or the fit that Sametime can offer with their existing environment.

But I did want to call your attention to some things on the list that you might not have heard us talk about before.  Just to pick a few out:

  • Auto status change based on e-mail calendar: You can opt to have your Sametime presence automatically change when your calendar shows you in a meeting.
  • Off the record mode: Just like it sounds like - you can use this to keep your chat partner from locally saving the conversation (it'll still be archived on the server, if your company does so).
  • Primary contacts: This is a very popular feature used by a lot of people in IBM.  This plug-in allows you to drag your most frequent contacts into a separate area in the client and use their images as a mini buddy list.
  • Screen capture annotation: We've enhanced the screen capture tool to allow you to annotate (draw on) the screen captures before sending them.
  • Chat history search: Search across all of your saved chat transcripts
  • Automatically send e-mail if user is offline: If you try to send a message to a chat partner who has gone offline, you will be prompted to send the message via e-mail instead (with the chat conversation automatically included in the e-mail)
  • Edge-to-edge full-screen Web conferencing view: Full-screen mode in Sametime Web conferencing now covers your entire screen (like when running a presentation in screen show mode).  We also added keyboard controls are available for advancing slides, and alerts are available to let you know when someone raises their hand or when a new group chat is entered.
  • Faster meeting start-up and improved application sharing performance: Web conferences are quicker to start up, and by default, application sharing now uses a faster compression algorithm for faster application sharing sessions.

And again, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are incremental enhancements to everything from the add user dialog to keyboard shortcuts to expand/minimize all groups, from logging into Web conferences to saving IM emoticons you've received.

Now that the gold code is out, we will be updating the DemoNet server to Sametime 7.5.1 shortly (stay tuned here for details on it), and will also be coming out with a 90-day trial download in the very near future, as well.

And I don't want to end this post without extending a very big thank you to the design team, the developers, the testers, the beta testers, our support organization, my colleagues in marketing, and everyone else who had a part in making this happen.

*While I did want to keep this post focused on things that are included in Sametime 7.5.1, I did want to point out up front that in this release the Mac client will not offer video capabilities introduced with the other clients.  It will be coming, but we need some additional testing and optimization before it's ready for prime time.