IBM Sametime

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IBM Sametime
Developer(s) IBM
Stable release 9.0.0 / September 20, 2013; 5 years ago (2013-09-20)
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Instant messaging, web conferencing, unified communications
License Proprietary

IBM Sametime (formerly IBM Lotus Sametime) is a client–server application and middleware platform that provides real-time, unified communications and collaboration for enterprises. Those capabilities include presence information, enterprise instant messaging, web conferencing, community collaboration, and telephony capabilities and integration. It is sold by the Lotus Software division of IBM.

Because IBM Sametime is middleware, it supports enterprise software and business process integration (Communication Enabled Business Process), either through an IBM Sametime plugin or by surfacing IBM Sametime capabilities through third-party applications. IBM Sametime integrates with a wide variety of software, including Lotus collaboration products, Microsoft Office productivity software, and portal and Web applications.


IBM Sametime is a client–server enterprise application that includes the IBM Sametime Connect client for end-users and the IBM Sametime Server for control and administration. IBM Sametime comes in 4 levels of functionality:[1]

IBM Sametime Entry provides basic presence and instant messaging.

IBM Sametime Standard provides additional functionality to IBM Sametime Entry, including:

  • rich presence including location awareness
  • rich-media chat, including point-to-point Voice-over-IP (VoIP) and video chat, timestamps, emoticons, and chat histories
  • group and multi-way chat
  • web conferencing
  • contact business cards
  • interoperability with public IM networks via the IBM Sametime Gateway, including AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk and XMPP-based services.
  • open APIs that allow integrations between IBM's own and other applications
  • Sametime Audio/Video Services supports audio (e.g. G.722.1) and video codecs (e.g. H.264)[2]

IBM Sametime Advanced provides additional real-time community collaboration and social networking functionality to IBM Sametime Standard, including:

  • persistent chat rooms
  • instant screen sharing
  • geographic location services

IBM Sametime Unified Telephony provides additional telephony functionality to IBM Sametime Standard or IBM Sametime Advanced, including:

  • telephony presence
  • softphone
  • click-to-call and click-to-conference
  • incoming call management
  • call control with live call transfer
  • connectivity to, and integration of, multiple telephone systems - both IP private branch exchange (IP-PBX) and legacy time-division multiplexing (TDM) systems

IBM Sametime Gateway provides server-to-server interoperability between disparate communities with conversion services for different protocols, presence information awareness, and instant messaging. IBM Sametime Gateway connects IBM Sametime instant messaging cooperate communities with external communities, including external IBM Sametime, and public instant messaging communities, such as: AOL, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, Google Talk, and XMPP. IBM Sametime Gateway replaces the Sametime Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Gateway from earlier releases of IBM Sametime.

The IBM Sametime Gateway platform is based on IBM WebSphere Application Server, which provides failover, clustering, and scalability for the IBM Sametime Gateway deployment. The product is shipped with the following connectors: Virtual Places, SIP, and XMPP. More protocol connectors may be added.

Platform support, APIs and application integration

Because IBM Sametime is middleware, it supports application and business process integration. When within the context of real-time communications, this is often referred to[by whom?] as Communications Enabled Business Processes. Sametime integrates in either of two ways:

  1. by surfacing the application into an IBM Sametime plug-in
  2. by surfacing IBM Sametime capabilities into the target application

Some examples of integration between IBM Sametime and applications include:

IBM Sametime Connect, the client component of IBM Sametime, is built on the Eclipse platform, allowing developers familiar with the framework to easily write plug-ins for IBM Sametime. It uses a proprietary protocol named Virtual Places, but also offers support for standard protocols, including Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), SIMPLE, T.120, XMPP, and H.323.

IBM Sametime Connect can run under Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Also available are a zero-download web client for Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari; mobile clients are also supported for Apple iPhone, Android, Microsoft Windows Mobile, RIM Blackberry, and Symbian. The IBM Sametime server runs on Microsoft Windows, IBM AIX, IBM i (formerly i5/OS), Linux and Solaris. Sametime can also be accessed using the free software Adium, Gaim, Pidgin, and Kopete clients.


IBM Sametime became an IBM product in 1998 as the synthesis of technologies IBM acquired from two companies:

  1. an American company called Databeam provided the architecture to host T.120 dataconferencing (for web messaging) and H.323 Multi-Media Conferencing
  2. Ubique, an Israeli company whose Virtual Places Chat software technology (also known as VPBuddy) provided the "presence awareness" functionality that allows people to detect which of their contacts are online and available for messaging or conferencing[3]

The Sametime v3.1 client was part of the standard platform loaded by the IBM Standard Software Installer (ISSI) for many years, enabling communications over the corporate intranet by hundreds of thousands of IBM employees. The next major release was the Sametime v7.5 client, built on the Eclipse (software) platform, enabling the use of the plug-in framework.[4]

In 2008 Gartner positioned IBM for the first time as a "leader" in Gartner's Unified Communications Magic Quadrant.[5]


Release Date Info
2.5 2001-09-04 Lotus Sametime 2.5 revealed
3.1 2003-07-15 IBM United States Software Announcement 203-174
6.5.1 2004-02-03 Sametime 6.5.1 is the "synchronized" release, able to run on Domino 6.5.1.
7.5 2006-08-22 IBM United States Software Announcement 206-209
7.5.1 2007-04-24 IBM United States Software Announcement 207-084
8.0 2007-11-27 Announcement Letter No. ZP07-0498
8.5 2009-12-22
8.5.1 2010-08-04
8.5.2 2011-05-18 IBM United States Software Announcement 211-165
9.0 2013-09-20


  1. Help - IBM Lotus Sametime Information Center
  2. Sametime 8.5 Announcement Letter, IP audio/video terminology and concepts, Retrieved on 2009-12-15
  3. Patrick, John R. (2001). Net Attitude: What it Is, how to Get It, and why Your Company Can't Survive Without it. ISBN 978-0738205137.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Kehn, Dan; Ott, Lori (22 August 2006). "Extending IBM Lotus Sametime Connect V7.5". IBM developerWorks. IBM.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Research Media Products | Gartner

External links