VoIP, Conferencing Added to Office Communication Server 2007 Beta
Microsoft's unified communications picture is making one more push before seeing the light of day this summer in the form of deployable products.
Microsoft's unified communications picture is making one more push before
seeing the light of day this summer in the form of deployable products.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, during his keynote at the Windows Hardware Engineering
Conference (WinHEC) in Los Angeles on Tuesday, demonstrated the last key additions
-- voice-over-IP and on-premise voice/video/conferencing -- that are now being
publicly tested in recently released betas of Office Communications Server 2007
and the Office Communicator 2007 instant messaging client.
Chris Cullin, director of Microsoft's Unified Communications Group, provided
a more detailed post-keynote demonstration of the VoIP and on-premise communications
features running between Outlook and in an Office Communicator client beta.
Integrated into the IM client was a rich presence feature that allows the user
to click and obtain real-time telephone and e-mail data from Outlook personal
and corporate contacts lists, as well as show IM presence information. Cullin
then initiated an IM to a client, which escalated to a phone call, then a conference
call with video capabilities. Interchangeably, e-mail messages, phone calls,
IMs and conferences can originate from Outlook or Outlook for Web Access.
Microsoft is also showcasing at WinHEC nine partners -- ASUSTek Computer, GN,
Nortel, NEC, Plantronics, Polycom, Samsung, Tatung and Vitelix -- who are already
providing support in the form of 15 telephony products that serve as Office
Communication Server 2007 beta testing platforms. Cullin's demonstration showed
VoIP calls originating from Outlook to a Nortel handset and Motorola Pebl phone,
as well as a new Polycom phone, which sports a touch screen displaying Outlook
The initial participating partners are also helping Microsoft to develop a
Unified Communications Device Qualification program. "What we're doing
with the certification program is defining the user experience," Cullin
said, "from video quality, audio quality, not just the hardware/software
interactions." The program is closed for now, but Cullin said it will be
opened up to all partners once the certification process is set in stone.
With one last beta, Gates said to expect release to manufacturing near the
end of June.
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Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.