Common marketing wisdom holds that marketers have to go where the users are. It's sort of rule like the infamous quip of Willie Sutton , when asked why he robbed banks, he retorted because 'that's where the money is…

And at Lotusphere there are users. Some 6,000+ users. Total attendance apparently was 7,000 but there were plenty of IBMers and other vendors and analysts like me. With responsibility for email, messaging (including Sametime) and collaboration in all manner of industry and from around the world (lots of German heard in the background, of course I was a little sensitized to hearing German since I had just been there six weeks ago), some of these users were here for the training, the latest capabilities and others for the fun.

In attendance in the product showcase was the video trio – TANDBERG, Polycom and RADvision – the incumbent vendors all offered escalation integration with Sametime. Users with the proper plugins and client software could right click on a buddy, select the video option and the Scopia Desktop application, for example (Movi in the case of TANDBERG) would fire up.

RADvision made a big deal about the video screens loading up directly into the Sametime client window, but frankly, I didn't think it was necessary to take the integration that far. Using Sametime to initiate a separate window is a less awkward implementation.Polycom showed off their HDX series of high definition stations. Simple UI. 

Elegant frosted black overlay to the HD picture and priced in the range of the LifeSize Express.TANDBERG had their M1000 unit (Standard Definition) as well as their 1700 High Definition system on display.Integrating session initiation into Sametime is a useful step forward, but a small one.

Sadly, the video collective did not make the case how visual collaboration – seeing the people – makes a difference in business. Of course, the platform for making this case is the presentation podium, but visual communications is a lower priority for IBM which offered dozens of sessions on Mashups, Social Software and Sametime.

Will IBM broaden the appeal of the content to include trends, strategies and next gen stuff?

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