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Lotusphere 2008 Update 1: CTI is Dead, Long Live CTI
By Fred Knight After the morning keynote, I took a quick minute to catch some sun - OK, it was more like 10......yeah, you're right, actually 15, but that was it, really - and then hit the show floor. The exhibit area is expansive, but no big booths; instead, there are pods clustered all over the place. Avaya and Siemens were located next to each other, so I started with them.
By Fred Knight
After the morning keynote, I took a quick minute to catch some sun - OK, it was more like 10......yeah, you're right, actually 15, but that was it, really - and then hit the show floor. The exhibit area is expansive, but no big booths; instead, there are pods clustered all over the place. Avaya and Siemens were located next to each other, so I started with them.At the Avaya area, the fellow I spoke with was an IBM-er, with a demo showing, not surprisingly, various apps that tie together Avaya solutions with Lotus Notes, Domino and SameTime. The apps included Unified Messaging using Avaya Message Storage Server (Avaya Modular Messaging with Notes) and another version where Domino is the message store. There were mobility-focused capabilities as well, delivering integrated access to messages and a version running Avaya one-X Speech also provides access to calendar, directory, calling and conferencing. There was click-to-call via SameTime Connect Client and Lotus Notes, and several conferencing options - audio, web and video - via Avaya Meeting Exchange and either SameTime Connect, SameTime Web Conferencing or Notes.
From Avaya I jumped over to the Siemens booth, where the focus was not on products per se, but on evangelizing Unified Communications. Last fall, at VoiceCon San Francisco, IBM announced that it was licensing elements within Siemens OpenScape for deployment within future releases of Lotus SameTime. That work continues but no products are expected until around Q3. While there are demos of those products here at Lotusphere, curiously, they're not in the Siemens booth....those Siemens guys are quite the pranksters, aren't they! More to follow when/if I track down them down.
Then I looked up and bumped into Avi Moyal, VP Enterprise Business Development at RadVision, who I know from VoiceCon. Avi and his team are here showing video conferencing integration with SameTime via the RadVision Scopia Platform. A SameTime chat session can move into a video session with a simple click. The RadVision app was one of the finalists for honors here at Lotusphere.
My next stop was Nortel, where I listened to a presentation about its Agile Communications Environment, essentially middle-ware that integrates a range of communications capabilities - messaging, outbound calling, IVR, etc. - through IBM Websphere. The demo showed a consumer buying a product for delivery later that day, and asking to be notified when the delivery vehicle gets within 10 km (that's kilometers -- Nortel is HQ'd in Canada). Geo-based information is tied together with the call management and control software to trigger the call.
In all these demos, I couldn't shake the feeling of deja vu, and of course, these were all capabilities either promised or delivered via CTI. Back then, a combination of integration expense (customer's budget) and patent litigation expense (seller's budget) worked against widespread deployment. Today, many of what were once rather expensive customized software projects have been condensed to shrink-wrapped packages or incorporated directly into the vendors' software architecture and offering. If you buy the license, you turn it on.
More to come.