Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, unveiled the company's vision, technology road map and partner framework for unified communications at a strategy event in San Francisco.
Microsoft Corp.'s approach to unified communications promises to break down silos of e-mail, instant messaging, mobile and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephony, and audio-, video- and webconferencing.
Through software, Microsoft and its partners will put people at the center of communications through a single identity across all modes and integrate communication into people's everyday work processes, including the Microsoft Office system and third-party software applications.
The company announced some new and enhanced unified communications technologies that will be part of the Microsoft Office system 2007 wave of products. The company will bring together its corporate e-mail offerings of Microsoft Exchange Server, which includes new unified messaging capabilities, Microsoft Office Outlook, and Microsoft Speech Server, with updated versions of its real-time collaboration technologies and a set of new communications devices to form a cohesive unified communications solution. Built on a rich platform and supported by the extensive capabilities of its growing partner ecosystem, Microsoft's unified communications offerings will deliver seamless, comprehensive and integrated communications capabilities for businesses.
Part of the announcements today, Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, is a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standards-based real-time communication platform that enables presence-based VoIP call management; audio-, video- and webconferencing; and instant messaging communication within and across existing software applications, services and devices.
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 unified messaging delivers a unified inbox experience that includes e-mail, voice mail and faxing functionality, as well as new capabilities such as speech-based auto attendant allowing users to access their communications from any phone.
Another software, Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, is a unified communications client that works in tandem with Office Communications Server 2007 to deliver a presence-based, enterprise VoIP "softphone"; secure, enterprise-grade instant messaging that allows for intercompany federation and connectivity to public instant messaging networks such as MSN, AOL and Yahoo!; one-to-one and multiparty video- and audioconferencing; and webconferencing. As with the previous versions, Office Communicator 2007 will be available in desktop, browser-based and Windows Mobile-based versions.
A new software is Microsoft Office RoundTable, an audio-video collaboration device with a unique 360-degree camera. When combined with Office Communications Server 2007, RoundTable delivers an immersive conferencing experience that extends the meeting environment across multiple locations. Meeting participants on site and in remote locations gain a panoramic view of everyone in the conference room as well as close-up views of individual participants as they take turns speaking.
Companies such as GN Netcom, Siemens, HP, Unisys and Motorola (Motorola Q pictured) today announced a series of products and services to support this initiative.