Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Office Communications Server 2007 Release 2, Coming Soon


Microsoft unveiled OCS 2007 R2 at VoiceCon Amsterdam and it was a handful. The company has big plans to make office life better and of course to keep other vendors off the turf that it was late to enter. But certainly it is going places

But this release mainly has enhancements in few of the important areas. As a developer, I see the value of OCS 2007 R2 developer tools. According to the release news, OCS 2007 R2 is extensible. The new developer tools introduces new APIs and Visual Studio tools to help developers integrate collaboration services into business processes.

The others are collaboration, enhanced voice and mobility enhancements. The collaboration in OCS 2007 R2 and IM, voice, and conferencing has some new touches. Persistent group chat should be appealing to the corporate crowd. This feature provides permanent chat rooms, notifies members of new entries, and best of all archives discussion meeting compliance requirements. There is also on-premises audio conferencing bridge, desktop sharing via web browsers, and the ability to move conversations from voice to Web conference.

On the office front, OCS 2007 R2 includes an attendant console, like in the good old POTS days allows receptionists to manage calls and features for the rest of the office. These telephony controllers will be able to setup teleconferences or filter calls.

The other part that might make network people happy is that it includes SIP trunking, directly connecting OCS to a VoIP provider, unlike before which required a VoIP gateway.

The OCS 2007 Mobile client will now support Nokia S40 and S60, Motorola Razr, and BlackBerry devices. They also introduced the one number, where people could get their calls routed to their mobile devices.

Here are some high lights from the press release;

Key new features of Office Communications Server 2007 R2 include the following:

Next-Generation Collaboration
• Dial-in audioconferencing. Office Communications Server 2007 R2 enables businesses to eliminate costly audioconferencing services with an on-premise audioconferencing bridge that is managed by IT as part of the overall communications infrastructure.
• Desktop sharing. This feature enables users to seamlessly share their desktop, initiate audio communications and collaborate with others outside the organization on PC, Macintosh or Linux platforms through a Web-based interface.
• Persistent group chat. This enables geographically dispersed teams to collaborate with each other by participating in topic-based discussions that persist over time. This application provides users with a list of all available chat rooms and topics, periodically archives discussions in an XML file format that meets compliance regulations, provides tools to search the entire history of discussion on a given topic, and offers filters and alerts to notify someone of new posts or topics on a particular topic.

Enhanced Voice and Mobility
• Attendant console and delegation. This allows receptionists, team secretaries and others to manage calls and conferences on behalf of other users, set up workflows to route calls, and manage higher volumes of incoming communications through a software-based interface.
• Session Initiation Protocol trunking. This feature enables businesses to reduce costs by setting up a direct VoIP connection between an Internet telephony service provider and Office Communicator 2007 without requiring on-premise gateways.
• Response group.A workflow design application manages incoming calls based on user-configured rules (e.g., round-robin, longest idle, simultaneous), providing a simple-to-use basic engine for call treatment, routing and queuing.
• Mobility and single-number reach. This extends Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile functionality to Nokia S40, Motorola RAZR, Blackberry and Windows Mobile platforms, allowing users to communicate using presence, IM and voice as an extension of their PBX from a unified client.

New Developer Tools for Business Applications
• APIs and Visual Studio integration. This improves the efficiency of everyday business processes by enabling businesses to build communications-enabled applications and embed communications into business applications.

Join Us for Launch

Office Communications Server 2007 R2 will launch in a worldwide online event Feb. 3, 2009. Those interested can register to participate in the launch at


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