Unified Communications Featured Article

Microsoft Unveils Plans for Communications Server '14'

March 25, 2010

Microsoft’s Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Office Communications Group, demonstrated the company’s latest unified communications software, code-named, Communications Server “14” during his keynote address at VoiceCon Orlando 2010.

Pall said Communications Server “14” will help make communications simpler, more open and more cost-efficient.

In his keynote address, Pall predicted that technologies such as Communications Server '14' will usher in a new chapter in business communications, the rise of 'connected communications.' He predicted that, in the next three years, more than 75 percent of new business applications will include embedded unified communications, and plain business calls will become outdated with more than 50 percent of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) calls incorporating more than just voice.

'With software at the center, innovation in this industry has accelerated, leading to the introduction of new capabilities that leapfrog traditional hardware-bound communications systems,' Pall said.

Pall showed how Communications Server '14' helps people find colleagues based on their expertise through a new skill search feature; understand when their colleagues are available to collaborate and, with a new location-awareness feature, where they are available; easily initiate collaboration; and bring together the content, resources and people needed to work together.

Communications Server “14” is designed to work with Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePointServer and Microsoft Exchange, and allows customers to embed communications in applications. In addition, customers will be able to use instant messaging, presence and other capabilities of the software both on-premises and in the cloud with Microsoft Office Communications Online.

Earlier this week, 12 Microsoft partners also announced new products and services that enhance Communications Server '14.' These include low-cost Internet protocol phones, branch office survivability solutions, call accounting software, and enhanced 911 solutions that augment Microsoft's enterprise telephony offering.

These partners join a broad ecosystem of thousands of partners delivering solutions for Microsoft's unified communications software, including applications, voice services, session initiation protocol trunking, and interoperable private branch exchanges and gateways.

'Customers and partners have flocked to Office Communications Server since its introduction in October 2007, because businesses are quickly seeing cost savings and productivity gains,' Pall said.

'Office Communications Server offers us the features we need out of the box, without requiring additional licenses, and we expect to save 20 percent or more in costs each year,' said Kevin Rice, global network architect for A.T. Kearney. 'The interoperability with Office and SharePoint Server also gives us the ability to 'click to dial' colleagues from these applications, and we've avoided the cost of hardware and licensing required by other vendors, since everything from conferencing to VoIP comes in one package.'

Alice Straight is a unified communications editor. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Alice Straight

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