Web & communication software

IBM Lining up Run at Telephony, VoIP Integration

IBM Lotus Wednesday introduced a slew of partners to help with its efforts to integrate traditional telephony and VoIP with collaboration software via Sametime Unified Telephony Server, which the company said will ship in July.

IBM's collaboration and voice strategy is to integrate the telephony architectures companies already have with Sametime and the rest of the IBM Lotus collaboration platform, including Notes/Domino, instant messaging/presence, social networking, conferencing and messaging software. The plan is to use open protocols and interfaces.

In his keynote address Wednesday at the VoiceCon show, Bob Picciano, general manager of IBM collaboration, unveiled the Sametime Unified Telephony Validation Program and a list of partners.

On the list of partners who have validated their wares integrate with IBM's open protocols in Sametime Unified Telephony Server (SUT) are Alcatel Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Nortel, Mitel and Siemens; media gateway vendors Dialogic and NET; and enhanced voice quality providers GN Netcom, Plantronics, Polycom and Psytechnics. Picciano said an additional crop of partners would be announced in the coming months.

Some of the partners announced Wednesday have already been working with IBM on the evolution of Sametime, including Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, Nortel and Siemens.

IBM's integration strategy is in contrast to traditional rival Microsoft, which eventually hopes to supplant telephony vendors by re-inventing the PBX in software. And it is different from Cisco, which partners with IBM/Lotus but is taking a more network approach to unified communications.

"Our open APIs integrate multiple telephony systems, both new VoIP and legacy TDM systems into the Sametime collaboration environment and business process applications," said Bruce Morse, vice president of UC software for IBM/Lotus.SUT server, unveiled in January, will introduce an architecture built around two servers that form a single data center integration point between the IBM/Lotus environment and the telephony world.

SUT's Telephony Control Server provides connections to PBX systems via Session Initiation Protocol, and eventually in a later version, to computer-Supported telephony application interfaces.

The Telephony Application server provides an aggregation point for presence data and APIs for developers building UC-enabled applications.

SUT is a module for the Sametime Server and while the July release will be tagged with the same 8.0 version number that Sametime has, it will be the first release of the SUT technology.

SUT will allow users to receive calls via softphones, and set up contact and routing rules based on location, presence and personal preference. In addition, click-to-call features let users click on a name and start a voice conversation, IM chat or video conference.

IBM also announced BM Converged Communications Services for Sametime Unified Telephony that will provide strategy, assessment, architecture, design, integration and implementation for SUT.

Follow John Fontana on Twitter: twitter.com/johnfontana.

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