Earlier this month, IBM introduced its newest cloud-based service for web conferencing, Lotus Sametime Unyte 8.2 It should be noted that the cloud-based portion of this "new" offering comes from IBM's acquisition of WebDialogs in August 2007.
Not many would have imagined the big players like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP move toward cloud-based offerings but it's clear that they need to to compete at the SMB level and even in some case at the enterprise level. EX: Biotech powerhouse, Genentech, is putting a large stake in cloud-based computing as the company has opted to leverage applications from Google for email, calendaring, word processing, and spreadsheets...relieving it's dependence of the likes of IBM and Microsoft. (Genentech still licenses Microsoft Office.) With an estimated $800K investment into the Google application suite, time will tell if the cloud-based model is the future for Genentech.
The obvious challenges for IBM Unyte is that IBM is a laggard in the cloud-based computing arena and WebDialogs was never successful in capturing market share. Cloud computing has already swelled into an estimated $36 billion (USD) market this year, representing roughly 13% of global software sales so I can understand the temptation of IBM going after this market. Perhaps my thinking is too simplistic...no competitive advantage, zero experience with cloud computing, no experienced or proven sales model that knows how to position cloud computing...why compete?
New Enhancements which I have not been able to test:
- Language localization in 9 languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian, Portuguese, and English
- Lotus Notes and Lotus Sametime integration with Unyte
- Participant waiting room
- Firefox 3.0 support
- Share PDF's, ODF files, PPT, DOC, and XLS files
Sametime Unyte Pricing:
- $48 per month, 25 attendee capacity
- $75 per month, 50 attendee capacity
- $99 per month, 999 attendee capacity