‘The View from Forrester Research’ hosted on ZDNet has some very positive things to say about the forthcoming 8.5 release of Lotus Sametime. The new release has a host of new capabilities – iPhone support, improved video, new web APIs, an updated rich client and a new zero-download web client – but the big improvements are in the web conferencing capabilities. So why does the Forrester blog like Sametime 8.5?

Because it’s got the core elements of click-to-conference — not just instant messaging and presence — baked into it. And for ad-hoc collaboration, click-to-conference is a much richer and easier thing to do than loading up separate applications for instant messaging, video conferencing, and web conferencing.

Sametime 8.5 meetingsSametime 8.5 introduces new modes for meetings – it allows a user to create a new room on-the-fly for an instantaneous meeting, provides permanently open rooms, and also rooms which can be aligned to projects and business activities. Another great feature is the calendar integration which warns you of an upcoming meeting and provides an option for one-click access (see below).

The meeting room experience has been improved, the load time is mega-fast, and offers both rich client and browser access – the rich meeting client can be launched from both Lotus Notes and the Sametime client. To access from a browser, the meeting host can issue a URL or the delegate can navigate through the new Sametime 8.5 meeting centre.

Meeting alertSo, Sametime Standard (and Sametime Advanced, recently mentioned on dadams.co.uk) offer a lot more value than the capabilities provided by the Sametime Entry entitlement that users get with Lotus Notes. With that in mind, over at the Sametime Blog, John Del Pizzo today announced that with the release of Sametime 8.5 we’ll be providing trade-ups from Sametime Entry to the Standard and Advanced offerings. That’s a great way to convert the superb entry-level functionality to the richer experience of ‘full Sametime’.

Sametime 8.5 will be available on 22nd December.

Back at the Forrester / ZDNet blog they haven’t finished with the compliments…

In case you haven’t noticed, IBM Lotus not only didn’t go away, it’s here with a vengeance. LotusLive.com claims 18 million users, the 8.5 release of Notes / Domino is a winner in storage savings, Lotus Connections beats other social software platforms on many dimensions, and Sametime’s pushing the envelope on real-time collaboration at global scale.

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