Sametime Meetings is an excellent client! You should try it. It works on Greenhouse, SmartCloud (4-4 digit meeting ids), and your own on premises install of Sametime. One problem we seek to solve for end users is that pesky server setup and configuration step - you know, the first step you have to do in most cases (although you can join SmartCloud meetings anonymously if allowed).
Like our other mobile apps, there's an easy solution for admins and help desks. The setup task can be done by the user simply tapping a link provided by the administrator. And, in the meetings app, we'll even make the url for you!
Here's how it works. Set up a server ("Company Meeting Server") in the app in Settings. Then open it as if to edit it and you should see an action button to either copy or email the configuration setting, as in the screenshot below.
I emailed myself the configuration URL and got this message:
Please install IBM Sametime Meetings app and open the relevant link below to create a configuration for "meetings.ibm.com".
On Apple devices, use:
On Android devices, use:
The only difference in the URL is the protocol, mainly to ensure that the Android mail clients will turn the text into a clickable link automatically. Because of this limitation, we recommend you create a mobile friendly web page and include one link to configure the app, using the stmeetings:// protocol in your href tag.
Once you tap on the URL, the IBM Meetings client will launch to the server settings page and ask if you want to add a new meeting server. If you OK this, then you can enter your user name and password and be done. If you want to be extra nice and the domain name of your people is always the same, you can add that to the first server parameter, like this in red:
Here is the full table of parameters, but I'd send the email to yourself instead. Don't forget to encode those strings!
|This is the only action supported right now.|
|Optional. A user-friendly nickname for the newly created meeting server. If a name is not specified, a default name will be used based on the meeting server host name.|
true or false
|Determines whether SSL is enabled for this connection. Optional parameter, default value is true.|
true or false
|Determines whether the username provided is a guest or an authenticated user. If the value is true the username is used as the displayname for the guest. Optional parameter, default value is false.|
true or false
|Determines whether passwords are remembered for this connection. Applies to both Sametime meeting server and authenticating proxy passwords. Optional parameter, default value is true.|
true or false
|Determines whether connection requires authentication with a reverse proxy server. Optional, default value is false. If this parameter is not present, but authProxy parm is supplied, it is inferred to be true.|
URL-encoded user id, password, proxy address and proxy port
|Optional, If present, authProxyEnabled is assumed to be true. Data is formated using |
If User and password are omitted, authProxyReuseCredentials is assumed to be true. If port is missing, 80 or 443 will be assumes dependng on ssl setting.
true or false
|Optional. If true, reverse proxy authentication will use the Sametime user ID and password. If present, proxy authentication is assumed to be enabled. |
Thanks to engineering for the good spec to use as the basis for this post.
With the release of the Connections mobile 4.1 apps, there are new command urls added that developers can use to call into the apps. Many of the new commands allow you to launch a specific view of a service, go to a specific entry, or show a service inside a community.
Check out my previous entries for the full set:
The Basics - launch and configuration.
Additional Commands added to launch specific services.
Update: Here's the official technote with the updated info all in one place.
Here's a brief summary of the new ones. Remember, they all start with ibmscp://com.ibm.connections and you can also specific a particular account to use.
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/activities (Open default activities view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/activities?action=MyActivities (Open My activities)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/activities?action=MyTodos (view n/a on Android, ios only)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/activities?action=Completed (Open Completed activities)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/bookmarks (Default view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/bookmarks?action=Updates (Open My Watchlist view on android, n/a on iOS)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/bookmarks?action=MyBookmarks (Open My bookmarks view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/bookmarks?action=AllBookmarks (Open Public bookmarks view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/bookmarks?action=NotificationsReceived (Open Notifications Received view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/bookmarks?action=NotificationsSent (Open Notifications Sent view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/bookmarks?url=http%3A%2F%2Fibm.com&title=IBM%20Corp.&action=Create (Create a bookmark for the specified url)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/communities?action=AllCommunities (Open public Communities)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/communities?action=MyCommunities (Open My Communities)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/blogs (Default view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/blogs?action=Updates (Open Latest Entries view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/blogs?action=MyBlogs (Open My Bogs list)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/blogs?action=AllBlogs (Open Public blogs)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/forums?topicId=ff7c410a-3c46-4fb9-a44b-c6498a60bc5d&action=ShowForumTopic (Open topic)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/forums?uid=3dbc71ba-7f94-4847-bda4-445f91fee2b7&action=Forum (Open Forum)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files (Default view)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?action=MyFiles (Open My Files)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?action=PublicFiles (Open public files)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?action=SharedWithMe (Open shared with me files)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?action=SharedByMe (Open shared with me files)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?action=MyCollections (Open My Folders)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?action=CollectionsSharedWithMe (Open Folders shared with me)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?action=PublicCollections (Open Public folders)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?uid=56b674c0-d440-483a-9052-a29ae1690201&action=About (Open specific File)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/files?uid=fb5ca4b5-8a2c-4c20-9989-d12bea7fcd3b&action=CollectionFiles (Open specific Folder)
Profiles (additional key)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/profiles?userid=3f6d5140-8f0a-1028-8d0f-db07163b51b2&action=Show (Open Profile by uid)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/profiles?email=user%40ibm.com&action=Show (Open Profile by email)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/profiles?key=6c2168c0-8f0a-1028-9c1a-db07163b51b2&action=Show (Open Profile by key)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/wikis?action=ShowWiki&wiki=W3d0f47b4317a_4b03_b55c_613b764d0396 (Open Specific Wiki)
ibmscp://com.ibm.connections/wikis?wiki=W3d0f47b4317a_4b03_b55c_613b764d0396&action=ShowWikiPage&page=Links (Open Specific Wiki Page)
Have fun and let us know how you are using them and what else is needed.
IBM has released updates to the Connections mobile apps for Android and iOS - version 4.1. This one has some additional features and a handful of UI enhancements in it. In addition, there is broader support for SmartCloud Engage, including Communities (FIles, Forums, Bookmarks) and People.
As is my custom on this blog, here are a handful of screenshots that show off the new features.
1. You can use @mentions in a status update post. We'll look up the name locally first, then search the server. It's fast.
2. In Files, we have gone to this action bar UI on the bottom of details screens, putting the most common actions a tap away. The download action is right there, too, and not hidden like before. (Downloads is also at the top level navigation, making it easier to find than before - you can see it on the iPad screen below. The FIles list itself has a dropdown "action drawer". The reason we did this is to optimize for the most common use case, which is to actually view the file. Now, tapping on the file will attempt to view it; tap on the dots to show the menu to download or go to the file details.
3. Likes on posts and comments can be done in the post details.
4. Target posts to a person or community. When you choose one of those options, then you can pick which person or community.
5. In the small things make a big difference department, we added a Recently Viewed Communities view to the Community list to make it easier to get back to a community you may have just been working on. We put the buttons here below the tab (also in profiles), and there's an alert if you accidentally hit the Leave button.
6. Attachments in forums are accessible now on the device. Here you go to More Actions... then choose to View Attachments to get to the next screen.
Apple App Store (US)
As mentioned in the app store descriptions, there are a bunch of new command urls for you to explore. For example, now you can open a community and navigate to particular app in the community. I will update this blog when the technote is updated with the details on that.
February 18, 2013 - IBM released an update to the Connections mobile apps today. This includes a handful of updates you'll be interested in, including:
- Performance improvements
- The app remembers which view you were using at goes back to it. So, for example, if you always use the "My Communities" view in the Communities section, you will return to that view each time you leave it and go back.
- The default view for the Activity Stream is "I'm Following". We thought this would be the more comprehensive view. Of course, you can always change it and we'll remember that next time.
- On the iPad, the card panels are easier to close with a single swipe to the right.
- The community About section has all the rich text rendered and links can be opened within the app.
Apple App Store
File sync to your mobile device was a hot topic at the recently concluded IBM Connect conference in Orlando, FL. During the Opening General Session (OGS), Luis Benitez demo'd the feature on the main stage (about 45 min into it). Grif and I also were showing a recent build in the User Experience Lab. We got a lot of good feedback on the overall flow and use cases we are supporting.
I should mention that today you can download files to your device and access them in the Downloads view. I talked about that in June 2012 here. While that functionality is excellent, it is not sync and it is a bit hidden in the UI, via the Downloads view on the dropdown.
The first thing we wanted to do it make it super easy to sync a file on the device. This caused a bit of redesign on all the actions to make them more consistent and visible. Most people I asked in the lab understood what the icons meant. On the details page for a file, tap the sync button to add it to your offline storage. Here you can also determine whether you want that file automatically updated. (There is a setting to always sync, too - we found that people wanted options available, depending on their own patterns.)
Offline files are stored in a device-encrypted database which you access via the "File Sync" tab on the left navigation. We wanted it to be really easy to access these, so we moved the view to the main left navigation. From this view you can quickly open or view files and perform other file management tasks, like update and remove from sync. The app alerts you when a file is out of date and you can decide when to sync it.
File Sync is planned to be delivered on SmartCloud first, then rolled into Connections on premises. More details will emerge over the next few months. We know we need to do a desktop version of sync, as Luis demonstrated, to complete the picture. I'm sure you have questions, let's have them!
Follow on Twitter
I made it to Orlando and have set up the user experience lab. This year there are a number of fun activities and designs to see, try, and provide feedback on. Amanda Bauman has set up a photobooth, where you can dress up, get your picture taken, and we'll upload it to our Flickr stream. Here's the UX team trying it on for size this afternoon.
That's me with the blue hair and next to me (blondie) is Grif, who handles Connections Mobile. We'll be showing all of our apps, of course, along with some new things we're trying. We have lots of questions about your use of these apps and how we can make them more suitable to you and your users.
Most of the stations in the lab will have some posters for you to help prioritize features we are thinking of adding to products. In mobile, we are polling for Traveler and Sametime Meetings. Michelle Cooper and I put together this board, where you can vote by moving the guitars or the Star Wars characters along.
And for those of you not at Connect this year, you can vote online too:
Traveler Feature Prioritization
Sametime Meetings (Mobile) Feature Prioritization
I hope to see you in the lab! Also check out the UX blog, where folks will be posting all week. Also, follow us on twitter @IBMSocialBizUX- we'll be tweeting out info and prize opportunities for attendees.
Usually I resist these end of year blog entries, but this year I couldn't any longer. (Also, having 2 weeks off at the end of the year, beginning of 2013, didn't help. I did get some great skiing in at the site of the next SkiLUG event in Stowe, VT!) And, since I am not working on the Connect OGS this year, I should have more time, right?
In 2011, we made 44 updates to mobile apps and in 2012, there were 66! This includes new apps, major updates, minor bug fixes, server updates, and even a new IBM Mobile Connect. As you can see below, we also transitioned to the new blue icons to go along with the branding updates. Feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive, with the only complaint per se would be to release more, faster!
If you have followed this blog at all, you know that I have usually posted whenever there was a new app released. Therefore, I won't rehash the entire release timeline for the year - you can always go back to past articles for that info. Instead, let's look at some of the trends we're driving.
Trend 1. User Experience
It's my blog, I'm the mobile UX guy, so I get to choose what's first! Seriously, design and user experience have been trending for several years now as a priority. IBM has even appointed a General Manager of Design! On mobile platforms, you really cannot avoid it. For my team, it's an opportunity to focus on core use cases for each of our products. It allows us to streamline the experience without sacrificing the most important functionality that people want from their mobile devices. Our products have a LOT of features - we make choices about which ones to place in the foreground and which to de-emphasize, based on our user research. Many of you have contributed to our research and for that, I thank you!
In 2012 we also made a concerted effort to organize our design consistency efforts into documented, reusable patterns. One goal was to make similar functionality the same across products and platforms. For example, each product has a login screen of some sort and account management. There are font choices, colors, segmented controls, tabs, backgrounds, icons, and more. There are essentially 2 dimensions of consistency to handle: one is consistency across all the different IBM produced apps; the other is consistency with the mobile platform. To put it another way, we have to be true to the platform while retaining the IBM-ness of the app. People notice, especially when it isn't done right. (Google recently got some press for their new focus on iOS app consistency, too.)
In 2013, we will continue to push on this consistency effort. While we made a lot of progress, we are not done. Per usual, going from design to implementation can take a few development cycles to complete. I am also looking forward to Android 4.x being more widely available in the market. It is a huge advance over Android 2.x but it does require rethinking (and recoding) the user experience to match it. We were able to do that on the Android tablets, but not on the phone yet across the board. (Sametime Meetings actually has 2 UIs depending on the platform, to optimize for either 4.x or 2.x phones.)
Trend 2. Enterprise Security
Security and management of mobile devices is certainly something customers demand before deploying any apps to their users. I believe Traveler has been so successful for email because some basic management features have been built in from the start. It's also dumb simple to deploy the clients to users, whether they are on iOS or Android. In 2012 we extended that management to the Connections 4 mobile apps and server. You can use a simple admin console to allow or deny access and do remote wipe of the app or force a password. All data on the device is encrypted.
In December, IBM shipped an update to IBM Mobile Connect, which provides VPN services, among other things. The client part of this is built into our mobile apps, so another option for admins is to set up Mobile Connect on their servers and use it to access Connections, Domino, Sametime, or whatever enterprise application you need. You can provide access to these apps without exposing your entire intranet to mobile devices.
For more complete mobile device management, IBM has Endpoint Manager, of course.
Trend 3. Tablets
Just yesterday, The Next Web had an article stating that tablet shipments would overtake laptops in 2013! We've also been seeing a lot of demand within our enterprise customers for tablet support (mostly iPad). In 2012, we produced new apps to support both iPad and Android tablets. Traveler Mail, Calendar, To Do, and Sametime (Meetings and Chat) had brand new designs done for Android. For iPad we updated the Connections, Chat, and Meetings apps and produced a brand new Traveler To Do app.
In 2013, we'll continue to enhance the apps we already have and maybe even introduce some new ones (come to Connect to find out and see some prototypes!). The tablet has a lot of potential for us to think differently about how to present our products, so we really want to focus on that.
This picture shows Sametime and Traveler apps for Android tablets. You should be able to see the family resemblance.
Trend 4. SmartCloud
The cloud is becoming more and more important. While many customers want or need to host their own deployments, many are also looking at how and where they can utilize cloud services to extend or enhance their in-house applications. In 2012, on the mobile front we began to produce a single app that supports either on premises or cloud deployments of our products. In 2013, we need to keep adding to that. For example, Connections mobile in the cloud only supports Files right now. Look for some cloud-first activity soon (and again, probably talked about at Connect in a few weeks).
Thanks to everyone reading this blog and using our products! Your feedback goes right back into our development cycles, so don't hesitate to leave a comment here, on your own blog, on twitter, or facebook. We read them all!
Did I mention that I have the best team!!
Follow on Twitter
December 16, 2013 - Following on the heels of the recent addition of a great Sametime Meetings app for Android is the new app for iOS devices. There are many new features in this release compared to the previous version we shipped in February. Here's a partial list:
- Adds iPhone support. We already had Meetings on iPad.
- Meeting room management - create, edit, delete rooms, manage permissions
- Upload and download meeting room documents in the file library. This uses the iOS 'Open in..." function to move docs in and out of the meeting room. Before you had to upload using the desktop client.
- Send and respond to polls. A lot of people asked for this one!
- Supports on premises Sametime (8.5.2 IFR1) or SmartCloud version. SmartCloud IDs in the xxxx-xxxx format use the Sametime backend. Don't forget to update your previous SmartCloud Meetings app - we added some intelligence in there in case a user puts in the 4 digit-4 digit meeting id, it will redirect them to the new Sametime app.
- SmartCloud meetings have additional features such as server-side recording, waiting rooms, lecture style meetings, and meeting reports.
- Anonymous room entry is possible now.
- Updates to the UI in various places.
- The account setup provides one-click access to SmartCloud and Greenhouse environments.
Here's the iPhone screen - while in the meeting, tapping the screen brings up the controls on top.
And here is the iPad version, with the file library panel open and a file being uploaded and converted for the meeting.
Here are a couple of screens of the Android version of Notes Traveler that came out last week with Traveler Upgrade Pack 2. We've adopted the newer Android 4 guidelines, as you can see in the action bar tabs at the top of the screen. Same functionality as on the iOS apps, too. The most important views are a tap away (All, Today, Overdue, Lists) and everything else is under the More... tab.
Here's a look at the To Do's on an Android tablet, after you have selected one of them - it shares it's design with the Traveler Mail and Calendar apps, so you have a consistent experience across them. Again, if all you want to do is enter a new To Do and be done with it, then you can do that. If you need to fill out all the details, you can do that to by opening the To Do and editing it.
Now, go encourage your Traveler admins to upgrade so you can access this awesome new app. (I have heard that holiday bribery may be an effective strategy.)
The end of the year brings much cheer to the app store, with a new release of Sametime Meetings and now Traveler To Do apps on the Apple App Store and for Android as part of the Traveler Upgrade Pack 2.
Per usual, for the mobile apps, designer Jessica Peter sought to optimize for the primary use cases. I would say our first use case was to be able to quickly and easily enter in a to do and mark it complete, as this is the most basic task (so to speak) for a To Do app to perform. Therefore, all you have to do is enter in the name of the to do and you are done. If you like to enter more info, like start date and end date, you can open the full form up and add whatever you need. To complete the to do, check the box. Done.
The only other thing you might want to understand about this app is that we decided to adopt a more modern terminology that doesn't quite map back to Notes To Do's. Specifically, to do's can be organised into "Lists". So, you might have a list for different projects, personal, work, hobbies, or whatever. It's up to you. In Notes terms, Lists are Categories. Got it?
Important note: You will need to install the Traveler Upgrade Pack 2 on the Domino server where Traveler is running to sync your To Do's. Your Android users should receive a notification to update the Traveler app once you've installed everything on the server. See Mat Newmann's blog for how that works.
You may now start to-do-ing.