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Unified Communications Magazine November 2007
Volume 1 / Number 3
Unified Communications Magazine
Richard Zippy Grigonis

The Biggest Thing Since Windows 95?

The Scene: An hour-long webcast, five years in the making, emanating from a press conference in San Francisco, a city known for its earthquakes. It was as if the keynote speaker - the soon-to-retire Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates - was giving us a Grand Finale to his career at Microsoft by pointing his company in the best direction possible - to unified communications. Office Communications Server 2007 and its related products are here. VoIP, video, instant messaging/presence and web conferencing have now "officially" gone mainstream.

By Richard "Zippy" Grigonis, Editor's Notes


Microsoft has always "owned" the desktop and so it's not surprising that the client part of the software, Office Communicator 2007 (included in Office Professional Plus 2007 and Office Enterprise 2007), will offer users a full sampling of UC capabilities, such as telephony, IM and video for PCs web browsers and mobile phones.

In an effort to cement the cosmic importance of what was happening, there were testimonials from 155 companies that have beta-tested OCS. IDC predicts a $17 billion UC market in 2011 and Forrester Research was quoted to the effect that 15 early adopters over three years should enjoy more than a 500% return on their investment. Heady stuff.

No one can deny that Microsoft's launch of Office Communications Server 2007 should certainly bring the power of UC to even the most humble user of Microsoft's Office Platform (at least to a greater degree than its predecessor, Live Communications Server 2005). Not-so-humble users may be interested in the $3,000 RoundTable videoconferencing device, with its 360-degree view. Indeed, their new Office Live Meeting 2007 webconferencing system should finally turn boring conference room dwellers into a nation of shameless hams. As you'd expect, Office Live Meeting can integrate with RoundTable.

Microsoft naturally extolled the wonders of UC, along with the tremendous productivity gains and cost savings that could be had by consolidating lots of PBXs into just a couple of servers. Moreover, many of Microsoft's carefully nurtured telecom partners in the ecosystem also made scores of related announcements, which served to add a weighty feeling of inevitability to OCS 2007, that your organization would be foolish not to install it immediately.

They may have a point! UC

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