Microsoft Unveils Its Unified Communications Plan

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Microsoft has released an overview of its plan for unified communications — tying together email, instant messaging, mobile and VoIP telephony,  plus audio and video conferencing.

“Unified communications will drive the next major advancement in individual, team and organizational productivity in today’s 24×7, always-connected and increasingly mobile work environment,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division. “We believe that through software, we can transform business communications (bringing down both its cost and complexity) by now integrating voice communications with the familiar and powerful communications and collaboration experiences provided by Microsoft.”

What’s the Plan?

Microsoft’s plan calls for a number of new software and hardware packages for desktops and laptops, but mobile users will see benefits, too.

Under this plan, there will be two different types of servers handling different types of communications.

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 unified messaging will combine email, voice mail, and faxes into one Inbox. This upcoming version will include a speech-based auto attendant, allowing users to have their email read to them from any phone. 

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 will handle VoIP call management;  audio and video conferencing, and instant messaging.

It will work with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, a software client that will will give users access to the services provided by the server. Microsoft has promised there will be a Windows Mobile version of this application, and, as part of this announcement, Motorola said it will create mobile devices based on Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator Mobile.

More information on Microsoft’s unified communications plan can be found on its web site.




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