Update builds on momentum behind software-powered unified communications and voice.
Today, Microsoft Corp. debuted Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Release 2 (R2), an update to the award-winning Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. Microsoft representatives demonstrated the new release for the first time before an audience of telecom and IT professionals at the VoiceCon tradeshow in Amsterdam. Customers will be able to purchase the release, currently in private beta testing, beginning in February 2009.
Office Communications Server 2007 R2 delivers important new functionality that extends software-powered voice, particularly for remote and mobile workers; provides on-premise audioconferencing to help reduce operational costs; and introduces new developer advances, including the ability to build communications-enabled business processes. These enhancements will improve business communications through a unified infrastructure and user experience.
“Office Communications Server 2007 R2, debuting just one year after the Microsoft unified communications launch, highlights the pace of innovation that is possible with software,” said Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division at Microsoft. “This new release puts Microsoft on a rapid path to deliver voice software that does much more than a network private branch exchange (PBX) and with much less cost.”
Customers worldwide are embracing Microsoft’s unified communications platform, which streamlines communications by combining e-mail, instant messaging, conferencing and voice communications onto a single, unified platform.
Software-Powered Voice for Today and Tomorrow
Since the solution became available in 2007, businesses have begun migrating their workers off their PBXs to Office Communications Server for all their telephony needs. Customers such as Royal Dutch Shell plc are already taking a load off their PBXs by using Office Communications Server and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 for mobile and remote workers in place of PBX phones to provide global employees with innovative communications solutions to quickly and efficiently reach their colleagues and help reduce operational costs.
“As a global company with employees dispersed in various time zones and geographic locations, Royal Dutch Shell has benefitted from Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 with improved communications and more flexibility for our employees,” said Johan Krebbers, group IT architect, Royal Dutch Shell. “Today Royal Dutch Shell has over 5,000 employees who frequently travel and use Office Communications Server 2007 as their primary voice solution.”
Customers are leapfrogging an entire generation of Internet protocol (IP) PBX technology to move straight to unified communications and software-powered voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). Office Communications Server interoperates with legacy PBX and IP PBX investments, allowing customers to transition to the new platform without undergoing an expensive rip-and-replace upgrade of their network. Office Communications Server 2007 R2 allows customers to take the next step toward replacing their PBX with Microsoft’s unified communications software and managing voice in the same way as other applications such as e-mail and instant messaging.
New Capabilities on a Strong, Unified Foundation
Through deep integration with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server and Office SharePoint Server, Office Communications Server delivers organizations the power of one: one infrastructure for enterprise communications and one cohesive user experience. Customers do not need to deploy and adopt dozens of different applications to make unified communications a reality. Office Communications Server 2007 R2 builds on that foundation with new capabilities that provide flexible business communications solutions for end users and gives IT pros the tools needed to control and manage their organization’s communications needs.
Key new features of Office Communications Server 2007 R2 include the following:
|•||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