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(20)10 Days of Techness: On the Second Day of Techness IT Gave to We…Productivity Apps

December 01, 2010

Welcome to the (20)10 Days of Techness. This is the second installment of a 10-part series of postings that will discuss prevalent trends during past year. Happy Holidays!

2010 was the year that Microsoft made a splash in the PBX and UC space.

First we saw Microsoft’s introduction of PBX functionality within its Office Communications Server 2007 R2 product. While the software giant in unveiling this capability didn’t put the emphasis on the fact that it could ultimately kill off the PBX as we know it, that point was not lost on many news organizations and industry analysts.

This quote, which Tom Keating of TMC/INTERNET TELEPHONY delineated in his blog earlier this year, puts that possibility in stark relief: "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 exchangeand with much less cost."

The potential savings should make this solution interesting not only to the large enterprises for which Microsoft has noted the product is targeted, but also to small and medium businesses, according to analysts. The fact that the solution is all software based also should help usher in a new age of unified communications.

Zeacom President Ernie Wallerstein Jr., says that’s great news for companies like his that are working to push IP technology and UC forward.

“Microsoft getting in now will make the industry much more application centric,” he adds, opining that the entrance of Microsoft in this space will have an even more earth-shaking impact than did Cisco’s move before it.

Indeed. With that comment earlier this year Wallerstein seemed to foreshadow the late September unveiling of Microsoft Lync. Lync is the new family brand for the products formerly known as Communications Server, Communications Online and Communicator, and it also now includes Lync Web App, and Lync Online. It was designed from the ground up to work with Microsoft Office, SharePoint and Exchange, which Microsoft says helps reduce end user adoption hurdles and increase return on investment.

“Over the past five years we have been on a journey to transform communications with the power of software,” Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Unified Communications at Microsoft, said in announcing the new brand. “Lync delivers on this vision by unifying enterprise voice, instant messaging and web-, audio- and videoconferencing into a new, connected communications experience.”

He recently predicted that in the next three years UC will become the norm in business communications, with more than half of VoIP calls at work including more than just voice, “and your communications client will enable UC with more than 1 billion people.

“Three years from now, new applications written by corporate developers, system integrators and software vendors will be communications-enabled by default,” he added. “We predict that three out of every four new business applications will include embedded communications.”

CLICK HERE to check out day one of the "(20)10 Days of Techness"

Edited by Stefania Viscusi