Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

IBM investing $1B in Unified Communications Market (Updated)

Steve Mills, along with Bruce Morse and Laurence Guihard-Joly, hosted a press and analyst event today focused on IBM's Unified Communications strategy and initiatives.  

At the event, they shared that IBM is investing $1B in the Unified Communications market over the next three years.

It looks like Martin LaMonica over on the the CNet News blog has the first coverage posted, which I suggest you check out here.  I'll post updates as more coverage comes in.

Businesses are investing in unified communications to streamline their operations, IBM executives said. For example, a bank is using IBM software to help tellers more quickly connect with other bank employees who are experts on products through instant messaging or voice over Internet Protocal.

IBM said that it now has 20 million stand-alone installations of Sametime, its instant-messaging product which it has expanded with video conferencing, voice over IP, and third-party applications.

But Morse said the number of individual seats is not overly significant because IBM sees more potential by embedding the tools in Sametime, such as messaging and connections to back-end data sources, into existing business applications.

In addition to demoing Lotus Sametime Advanced and Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony at the event, we discussed other related solutions, such as a solution being worked on with Forterra Systems, code named "Babel Bridge," that could create a virtual world for use by the US intelligence agencies, and a plugin developed by VBrick Systems, which lets users view live video broadcasts or digital video inside of Lotus Sametime.  From CRN:

Additionally, integration with other industry-leading vendors will help IBM UC solutions blend into heterogeneous network environments, Morse said. For example, IBM and Forterra Systems are developing a solution, code-named "Babel Bridge," that could allow US intelligence agencies to use a common graphical collaboration system to communicate in a virtual, real-time environment. Another partnership, with VBrick Systems, is introducing the VBrick Lotus Sametime Video Plug-in, a product that streams live broadcasts and on-demand digital video within Sametime environments.

The InfoWorld article also highlighted the important role IGS plays as part of our UC strategy:

In its quiver of arrows against Microsoft, which Mills acknowledged is the company's chief competitor in this space, IBM also has the not-so-secret weapon of its massive IBM Global Services (IGS) organization to bring its unified communications infrastructure to customers.

Not only can IGS expose its customers to IBM's products, but it also will come in handy for integrating IBM's software with offerings from third parties, which executives said can be a complex task. IBM stressed the importance of third-party applications as part of its overall unified communications strategy and its competition with Microsoft.

Updated links below