Microsoft launches unified communications

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates today launched unified
communications software aimed at streamlining workplace
communications and reducing the cost of the average corporate voice
over IP (VOIP) system by one-half.


Gates predicted that in the next decade software will transform
communications.


“Working with partners, we’re making rapid advances
that will enable fundamental advances in the way people communicate
and collaborate at work,” Gates said at an event in San
Francisco.


Joined by customers and partners, Gates and Jeff Raikes,
president of the Microsoft Business division unveiled:



  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007:. Software
    that delivers VOIP, video, instant messaging, conferencing and
    presence within Microsoft Office system applications and the
    upcoming versions of Microsoft Dynamics ERP products and the
    Microsoft CRM release due later this year.

  • Microsoft Office Communicator 2007:. Client software for
    phone, instant messaging and video communications that works across
    the PC, mobile phone and Web browser.

  • Microsoft Office Live Meeting:. The next version of
    Microsoft’s advanced conferencing service that lets workers
    conduct meetings, share documents, use video and record discussions
    from any computer.

  • Microsoft Roundtable: A conferencing phone with a
    360-degree camera that captures a panoramic view of meeting
    participants, tracks the speaker and can record meetings.

  • Service pack update of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007:
    Improvements provided for Microsoft’s e-mail, voice mail,
    calendaring and unified messaging platform.


Microsoft is delivering a revolutionary economic model that will
increase productivity and quality in voice communications, Raikes
said.

“The era of dialing blind, the era of playing phone tag,
the era of voice mail jail and the era of disconnected
communications is ending,” he said. Unified communications
will transform business communications as fundamentally as e-mail
did in the 1990s, he said.


More than 50 partners announced new products and services built
on Microsoft’s unified communications platform.


For instance, Nortel Networks confirmed pending availability of
five software-based solutions and applications to enhance Office
Communications Server. Meanwhile, Ericsson announced the Ericsson
Enterprise Mobility Gateway. It will be built on VOIP call
management in Office Communications Server to bring office
communications to any mobile device.


Microsoft also unveiled Unified Communications Open
Interoperability, a telephony system qualification program that
assures users that the company’s unified communications
software works with their telephony systems.



About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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