US troops are chatting with Lotus Sametime

The US Army is considered very hi-tech, adopting many technologies that enable the troops and commanders to be more connected – to the field and to each other. Nevertheless, I was pleased to read over at The Sametime Blog (John Del Pizzo), that the US troops in Iraq are using IBM Lotus Sametime to communicate with one another, and video-chat with colleagues back in the US. The Army usage of Lotus Sametime isn’t for chatting alone – it’s a complete unified communication and collaboration solution, that enables troops to transfer text, audio, video and files, over a secure network, in a single interface.

“We’re hitting between 5,000 and 6,000 chats per day,” said Lt. Col. Mathew Riordan, product manager for the Army’s program office for EIS Enterprise Information Systems. “There is a lot of communication. Someone in theater can easily chat with someone in Warren, Mich.”

The army also took advantage of the solution’s development platform, and added a plug-in that creates groups based on geographical location:

“Basically, what we did was took their product and added a thing called groups,” Riordan said. “When someone goes into the system, they can go in to chat online. There are 351 public groups showing who is online. You can add your office and see anyone that is online.”

Lotus Sametime also enables forces on the ground in Iraq to get better intelligence, using the knowledge the previous force gathered on its tour:

“If I go to Iraq, I can reach back and ask about a mullah or a mosque or an intersection,” said Daniel Gouré, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a Fairfax, Va.-based think tank. “It can really help the knowledge base. This is the Army really thinking.”

The Sametime Blog – The official US Army chat room software
Defense News – US Army buys collaboration software
Strategy Page – The official US Army chat room software
IBM Lotus Sametime on

And, finally, while on the subject of Lotus Sametime, a nice retrospective video of Sametime’s first 10 years (1998-2008):

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