Early Queue for Lync 2010 Communications Server

Microsoft Lync Server 2010, previously known as Communications Server "14", is already proving popular with a queue of early adopters forming.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: "More than 20 partners and over 100 customers have enrolled in early adoption programs to get an experience of the enhanced Lync features. And at least 20,000 seats will be active before the final product launches."

The product is at its final stage of testing with a Release Candidate now available for download.

Kirk Gregersen, senior director for Microsoft OC, said: "Lync 2010, previously known as Communications Server "14", will unify enterprise voice and allow instant messaging as well as video, web and audio conferencing all within the same back-end infrastructure."

Recently Microsoft has partnered with unified communications vendor Polycom, to offer VoIP and IP-based solutions as an alternative to PBX-style voice communications.

Microsoft will ship the final release of Lync Communications Server 2010 by the end of the year. They are renaming many of their products:

- Office Communications Online is now Lync Online
- Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 is now Microsoft Lync 2010
- Office Communicator Web Access is now Lync Web App.

Communications Server becomes Microsoft Lync

Right time for me to eat humble pie, my previous post about Communications Server "14" remaining nameless is wide of the mark.

Now I know that one of the beauties of blogging is that I could just change it or add an update. But I have decided to own my mistake - I feel it is only appropriate given the confusion that has surrounded CS14.

So we have Microsoft Lync 2010 and all of its benefits of IM, Enterprise voice, meeting capabilities and presence. The name Lync is meant to be a synergy of 'Link' and 'Sync' which reflects its ability to connect people in any way and from anywhere.

I just talked to an industry expert and he told me that this was an attempt by Microsoft to get back to the top of the tree as far as OS office and associated products are concerned.

He felt that the arrival of Communications Server is a return to the days of having fully reliable Microsoft products that do exactly what they say on the tin.
Many people in big business has been forced to drift away from MS products and then lose time and money learning how to use them.

And yes he believed that office workers will be weaned off expensive and time-consuming conferences now that web, audio and video-conferencing will be so easy.

There is more information about Microsoft Lync 2010 and how to download the release candidate here.

Communications Server Cancels Meeting

I saw this post recently which suggested that Communications Server by Microsoft would bring about the end of the face-to-face meeting as we know it.

Because it acts as a unified conferencing client which can deliver perfect audio, VoIP and video quality as well as presence information, many people are excited about the release of communications server.

It is the ultimate unified communications product can coexist with Office Communications Server and route all of your communications to one inbox.

There is a single number for Office Communicator and your mobile phone, Instant Messaging with Windows Live, Integration with third party PSTN audio conferencing services and common call controls such as Unified voicemail.

But I would be interested to see if anyone thinks that communications server will mean that meetings are no longer necessary?

Communications Server Keeps Donald Duck Waiting

This morning I had a look at one of my favourite Communications Server sites by Chris Norman to find a very handy guide to web conferencing straight from your browser with Communications Server "14".

The picture above shows how you can have someone waiting (in this case Donald Duck - I bet he's getting mad) but ready to join a meeting even if they are not an administrator. This is known as lobby functionality and it gives you complete control over your web conferencing.

Now DD is in the conversation, though it is always hard to understand a duck, even with crystal clear audio and video. Notice all the nice options on the right hand side for sharing Powerpoint presentations and more.

The web conferencing is taken one step further in this shot as Chris is actually sharing his screen with DD, as evidenced by the arrow.

Finally DD is opening firefox to check out audio meeting options. Fantastic stuff VoIPNorm!

Microsoft Communications Server "14" Remains Nameless

The speculation as to what the eventual name of Microsoft Communications Server "14" might be has refused to go away.
A blog post by TMCNet got excited about Microsoft Lync 2010. Could that be the new name for Communications Server "14"?

Although it is very similar to Communications Server "14", Microsoft Lync is the new web-based attendee meeting application which works from a browser to compliment your full Windows-based Communicator app. The obvious benefits of this are that you can host your own meetings because it acts as a client for online conferences.

Installing this application also allows non administrators to enter the conversation using communication tools such as audio VoIP, instant messaging and video.

Like Microsoft Communications Server "14" it also offers collaboration tools such as screen sharing, application sharing, attachments and PowerPoint presentations for multiple users.

But there is a new set of videos released to preview Communications Server "14":

IM and Presence for CS 14

Conferencing for CS14

Enterprise Voice for CS14

Platform Extensibility for CS14

High Definition for CS14

Client Extensibility for CS14

Sangoma Compatible with Communications Server "14"

Sangoma Technologies has released the NetBorder Express VoIP Gateway 3.0.

NetBorder is a unified communications solution for Windows products such as Communications Server "14", and Office Communications Server.

It allows connection with software-based PBXs and also acts as a VoIP and SIP Gateway solution. Developers can use NetBorder gateways to enable SIP-based applications such as IVRs, conferencing servers and IP-PBX.

NetBorder resides in the same server as the PBX system so it can be integrated with other telecom apps.

Frederic Dickey, Sangoma's director of Marketing, said: "The NetBorder Express Gateway 3.0 combines a high level of integration and functionality yet is easy to manage. It displays our commitment to developing solutions for the IP-PBX industry and meeting the needs of customers."

New features

Transport Layer Security (TLS)
Secure Real-Time Transport (SRTP)
Management Information Bases (MIB)
Foreign Exchange Station (FXS)
Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)

Communications Server "14" Site Resiliency

I just read this useful blog about how Communications Server "14" provides Site Resiliency. The new component means you can protect against site failures and offer multiple user locations.

- Small or medium sized remote offices where a Survivable Branch Appliance is installed are defined as a Branch Site. For these clients there is another pool in a central site in the event that the SBA fails. However, the SBA is simply a Registrar and not a full pool

- Main offices and data centers with full Communications Server "14" deployments are defined as a Central Site.

Each Enterprise VoIP enabled user is associated with a primary site and secondary backup site. This is done automatically or by registering with the primary site.

Meanwhile the Registrar service handles Communicator connections and end-point login to Communications Server "14". The Registrar is found in the Frond-End server role.

In the event that the primary host is unreachable, then Communications Server "14" end-points can perform automatic SRV lookup and leverage multiple responses. This gives clients the ability to look for services on another host.

The feature provides highly-available services to users with the back-up of disaster recovery protection or a secondary pool in the same site.

In the event of a major failure such as as WAN outage, users will remain signed in to their Communicator client.
But they can only access Enterprise Voice features and peer-to-peer communications between users in the office that is affected by the outage.

Communications Server “14″ set for Bing Translate

An app is now available which allows you to use the Communications Server “14″ platform with Bing Translate. Using the Bing search engine you can translate web pages and other web based info from one language into another.

You can also have instant messaging conversations in more than 30 different languages. Therefore this app is ideal for Microsoft Communications Server “14″ as it ties into the whole aim of the product by helping to facilitate collaboration. For global commpanies this is a huge benefit, and even small to medium sized entreprises will be able to operate on a multinational basis thanks to this technology. Translate for Communications Server “14″ will allow them to venture into international markets with confidence.

It could also be used for Multi language helpdesk to enable website support. That means that customers of all nationalities can be dealt with on a cost effective basis. This applies to emergency services calls as well so problems can be addressed quickly and efficiently.

All in all Communications Server “14″ is delivering a unified communications experience which streamlines business across borders and the Bing app will further improve this service.

Meeting Microsoft Communications Server "14"

Among the most anticipated features of Microsoft communications server "14" are the web conferencing/online meeting capabilities.

With that in mind here is a well presented and easy to understand (if a little dull) video on how to deploy your meeting settings with advice on migration for various attendees and users.

This is all part of the 'connect and collaborate' aspects of communications server "14" which involves finding the right people at the right time.

I also notice that communications server "14" is now mainly being referred to as office communicator 2010. It is definitely the most exciting Unified Communications product to be released on the market.

Microsoft Communications Server "14" Compatability

I noticed an interesting forum in Microsoft technet about the compatibility of Communications Server "14".

User Toreven said that his organisation was currently running Live Communications Server 2003, but wanted to know if it was possible to migrate or coexist with Communications Server "14" as a pilot with designated users.

However Tim Harrington at Catapult Systems told him this would not be possible.
He wrote: "You will need to be at OCS 2007 or OCS 2007 R2 to coexist with Communications Server "14". Not even LCS 2003 will coexist with OCS 2007, you need at least LCS 2005 SP1."

This exchange highlights the problems for people who want to change their office solutions to Communications Server "14", how to install it and how to phase it into the work environment. The product will be released in the next couple of months.

The Microsoft forum has answers to these questions and many more.

Communications Server "14" provides presence, VoIP, skills search and many other amazing features to the office environment to make collaboration and remote work that much easier.

Microsoft Communications Server “14” Momentum

Customer event support is now available for those who are excited about Microsoft Communications Server “14”. I presume this is everyone?
You can start coversing with people about the benefits of Microsoft Communications Server “14”, and even any drawbacks you think it might have.
Just use the Launch in a Box (LIAB) kit, which can be downloaded here. Check in regularly for more info about Microsoft Communications Server “14”.

Microsoft Communications Server "14" Call Attendant

The automisation of industries is certainly a problem as far as job creation is concerned. With Microsoft Communications Server "14" Call Attendant, receptionists could become a thing of the past.

This product combines the best aspects of Microsoft Communications Server "14", such as finding the right contact skill-set within a company and routing calls to them.

Furthermore it:

Can prioritize calls for you by working out which have been waiting the longest and also flagging up repeat callers so they can get urgent attention. Call-routing is done with presence technology on Microsoft Communications Server "14".

As well as conversation queues, directory search and contact lists all come up on a full screen unified interface. Meanwhile all your contact history is kept in organised folders.

Everything is on one-click for ease-of-use and you can communicate without having to copy or paste addresses and Instant Messaging details.

Conference calls could not be simpler with the ability to save multiple contacts into a conference template and drag-and-drop conference setup.

All these features may spell the end of receptionists as we know them, though arguably people will always prefer a human touch/voice.
Besides someone is needed to make sure that the Microsoft Communications Server "14" Call Attendant runs smoothly!

prairieFyre Center for Microsoft Communications Server "14"

prairieFyre has just released a new Contact Center for Microsoft Communications Server which will also support Microsoft Communications Server "14" when the product is released.
Malcolm Teasdale, the Executive VP for prairieFyre Software, said: “We expect Microsoft’s leadership in unified communications to be a major factor in transforming the enterprise voice market."
In a press release about the product Marketwatch said it will provide VoIP and Unified Communications capabilities for all of your call centre solution needs.
"Microsoft UC applications enable real-time collaboration and information flows by combining presence-aware telephony, conferencing and messaging in an easy-to-use interface. The prairieFyre Contact Center leverages and combines these capabilities with a full-featured Automatic Call Distributor (ACD), enabling agents to provide superior customer service through instant access to experts, support teams, and enterprise business intelligence."
Meanwhile the Only Software blog stated: "With its broad functionality and modular design, prairieFyre Contact Center for Microsoft Communication Server "14" can be tailored to fit any size of business."

Deploying SIP trunking for Communications Server “14”

Microsoft Office has released details on deploying SIP trunking between Communications Server “14” and Service Provider SBCs using Acme Packet SBCs.

Microsoft Communications Server “14” allows you to connect to Internet telephony service providers (ITSP) using an IP-based SIP trunk. This makes it easier to extend enterprise telephony outside of network borders while reducing costs. Acme Packet Net-Net Session Director (Net-Net SD) Session Border Controllers (SBCs) are vital for SIP Trunking as they are used by many ITSPs as part of their SIP trunking infrastructure.

You can read the full guide on how to configure SIP trunking between Communications Server “14” and Acme Packet SBCs.

The guide is intended for telecommunications engineers in order that they can configure the Communications Server “14” Mediation Server and the Net-Net SD SBC. It explains Acme Packet Command Line Interface (ACLI), TCP/UDP, IP/Routing, and SIP/RTP.

Polycom teams with Microsoft to bring Communications Server "14"

Polycom and Microsoft have formed an expansive Unified Communications partnership which will include delivering Communications Server "14". Communications Server "14" is a powerful presence and collaboration office tool which includes elements such as VoIP, skills search and the ability to allow workers to operate remotely.

Polycom is set to develop systems for Microsoft Communications Server "14" for the foreseeable future in a multi-year contract.
ZDNet reported that the deal would be good for Polycom: "As one of the last independent video conferencing companies, the Microsoft partnership gives the company marketing heft in the battle with Cisco/Tandberg."
ZDnet also listed the outcomes of the partnership -

•Polycom will develop UC systems for Microsoft Communications Server 14 and beyond.
•Polycom CX systems will be optimized for Microsoft UC.
•Room-based systems from Polycom will be able to integrate with Microsoft Communications Server "14".
•The two parties will work on other interoperable systems.
•Polycom and Microsoft will partner on sales and training, marketing, channel partners and demonstrations.

Meanwhile Telcom News talked about the cost saving benefits of the partnership. Not only will the deal improve customers’ business productivity, but: "under the agreement, Polycom plans to develop and market standards-based UC solutions to span the enterprise, SMB, and government markets. It will encompass hardware, software, networking and services, and will enable customers to reduce telecom, travel and IT operating costs." The site also has a video interview between Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Unified Communication at Microsoft and Andrew Miller, Polycom president and CEO.

Research by the companies shows that 70% of the comapnies which are considering UC are thinking of using Microsoft Communications Server "14".

Guide to the beta refresh version of Communications Server "14"

The Powershell software for the beta refresh version of Microsoft Communications Server "14" has recently undergone some changes. While there are too many to mention them all here are a few of the important ones.

There are new Cmdlets:

- New presence policy cmdlets to manage your subscribers.

- New audio conferencing provider cmdlets to assign and unassign audio conferencing providers to your users.

- New Kerberos cmdlets which help you to avoid password expiration problems.

New Look for the RBAC Cmdlets

RBAC (Role Based Access Control) has been introduced in Communications Server "14" as a way to help delegate administrative control of the software

Renamed Parameters

- The LocalStore parameter has been deleted from most cmdlets.
- The Tenant parameter has been deleted from most cmdlets.

New Uses for the Force Parameter which

- Suppress the confirmation prompt when you try to remove a per-user policy currently assigned to one or more users.
- Allow you to remove something even if it’s still being used elsewhere.
- Suppress the display of any non-fatal errors that might pop up when you run a cmdlet.

New Names: Get-CsPstnUsage and Set-CsPstnUsage

The CsPhoneUsage cmdlets have been given new names in the beta refresh version of Communications Server "14":

BT and Polycom develop enterprise services for Microsoft Communications Server "14"

BT and Polycom have enhanced their suite of end-to-end services and solutions for the forthcoming Microsoft Communications Server "14".
The BT unified communications products will be launched this week at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 will include voice and professional services as well as networked IT on a global scale.
Meanwhile Polycom is introducing its new CX IP phones which integrate with Microsoft Communications Server "14".
These products are designed for system interoperability in and outside of the cloud. BT has created reference architectures to deploy and manage server and software platform solutions with full network impact and utilization.
BT also has global SIP networks which have just been certified for Microsoft Communications Server "14" so that customers can gradually migrate to the new unified communications technology.
Neil Sutton, the VP of BT Global Services global portfolio, said: "Delivering services and solutions to large enterprise customers is demanding and complex, but the key is to give users a set of simple and convenient tools."
He added: "BT is well-positioned to do so as we offer a breadth of networked IT Services, extensive integration experience, a clear investment roadmap and accredited professional services."

The cost savings of Communications Server "14"

How Communications Server "14" can save you half a million dollars on your on mobile roaming charges plus info on the E911 feature and Skills Search.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Integrated social media products like Microsoft Communications Server "14" are the future

Social media is the way of the future according to new research. The findings show that more and more people are using social media along with their VoIP phones and unified communications solutions, factors which should drive up interest in the forthcoming Microsoft Communications Server "14" product.
The Yankee Group study found that both consumers and workers want an element of social networking in their business communications, with 70% of consumers wanting to access company experts through social media.
Those surveyed said that they would become more loyal to a company if they could access the right sectors. It is also big on the wishlist of workers, despite the fact that 30% of companies have not formulated relevant policies. Products like Microsoft Communications Server "14" fulfill this social networking role within businesses. They offer a skills search set that makes locating the right person within a company framework that much easier.
Zeus Kerravala, a research fellow at the Yankee Group, said: "Businesses can improve customer service as well as employee productivity and collaboration by integrating social media within their contact centres."

Brocade IP Networking for Microsoft Communications Server “14”

Microsoft Partner Brocade has validated its IP networking technologies for Microsoft Communications Server “14”, the presence and PBX replacement product which is out later this year.
The director of Microsoft Communications Server, Moz Hussain, said: “Communications Server "14" will enable full enterprise telephony, thus opening up a world of possibilities for customers who want increased collaboration."
Brocade IP networking products such as the Brocade NetIron for Layer 2-3 switching will provide interoperability and a network infrastructure as part of a comprehensive Unified Communications (UC)solution. This is part of making the transition to VoIP on Communications Server “14”, while maintaining the high standards which are expected in business.
The VP of Data Center and Enterprise Networking Technology at Brocade, Jason Nolet, said that ensuring this quality of service was essential during the huge migration of customers to UC products as they looked to save costs.
He said: “Brocade open standards-based networking technologies ensure reliable voice, video and data traffic and enable a seamless experience for users.”

Communications Server "14" HD video-conferencing through ClearOne

Offerings are being produced all the time in anticipation of Microsoft's Communications Server "14" presence and PBX replacement product. One of the latest is High Definition video-conferencing through ClearOne.
This is a certified Microsoft Communications Server "14" offering which can provide HD audio conferencing for up to 15 people.
The INTERACT AT-OC offering means that you can share data over high quality voice and video functions in conference environments. By using it you can teleconference easily with the minimum of set-up time.
The ClearOne product management VP for conferencing, Darrin Thurston, said: "Our offering maximises all of the collaboration features of the Microsoft Communications Server "14" for any group environment. It gives a truly unified experience which combines HD video and audio with the full Microsoft app suite.
He added: "By combining a PC, USB camera and display with the INTERACT AT-OC you can create a low cost video-conferencing solution."

Communications Server “14” more than just a PBX replacement

The soon-to-be-released Communications Server “14” product by Microsoft will be more than just a PBX replacement and will have far-reaching Unified Communications properties.
Not only will enterprise Voice be among its key features but it will also offer integration with Microsoft SharePoint, conferencing and real-time collaboration. There will be a presence-based search facility too.
Furthermore Communications Server “14” will be easy to deploy. As well as having numerous servers including a front-end server and a back-end server, there will be a Director role which configures director server. The overall effect is to simplify the topologies of Communications Server “14”.
In Communications Server “14” a Central Management Store makes it possible to configure data from one location. Then there is the Microsoft Silverlight version 4 Web application - the Communications Server Control Panel. This new management interface replaces the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) as used in previous products.
In terms of VoIP capabilities, call resiliency, call park and E911 are some of the standout features.
There is also Media bypass which allows media traffic to bypass the Mediation Server and flow directly from Communications Server "14" to the IP-PBX or gateway.
These features and many more make Communications Server “14” more than just a PBX replacement.

Confused about Communications Server "14"?

Confused about Communications Server "14"? I am. There's been a lot of different information put out there and even when it comes from reputable sources it can be hard to understand. Luckily the Microsoft team have put out a series of videos recently where you can hear about Communications Server "14" right from the horse's (read expert's) mouth.
Tech gurus and partner coordinators John Durant and Jaime Stark are the latest aficionados to give us a view on Communications Server "14" features and phew - it is easy to comprehend! In this video they talk about apps and easy ways to develop Communications Server "14". They also explain the skills search presence thing. It's easy to find someone in an office who you do know but what if you know nothing about them? Basically Communications Server "14" is the future of Unified Communications for the office so you would do well to have a listen.

Set up an IP phone with Communications Server "14".

How to set up a low cost IP phone with Microsoft Communications Server "14".

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And here's the new PBX features for Microsoft Communications Server "14".

Quality calls with Communications Server "14"

VoIP technology can take up a lot of bandwidth, especially if you are using videoconferencing aspects. However the Call Admission Control (CAC) in Communications Server "14" can help to negate this problem. Deploying Microsoft Communications Server “14” can save costs on the expensive alternative of upgrading your IP networks. With Microsoft Communications Server “14” CAC you can still have to same high quality calls despite working with a limited bandwidth. This is because Communications Server “14” has adaptable video and audio codecs so that whatever your network capacity they can adjust. Call admission control basically cuts out any calls that would be of a less than full quality. You can also avoid call spiking and generally direct your calls with all the flexibility needed.
Before the network link can become overloaded, CAC can re-route new calls through the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or transfer the media end of the call over the Internet. The signalling path takes place through a WAN Link. This means more calls can be handled without connection failures.

Geomant Contact Expert to support Microsoft Communications Server 14

Geomant has released Contact Expert, a multi-media contact centre solution. Contact Expert delivers full unified communications features and cost savings to organisations such as contact centres and customer service teams. Whether you are using it for a large or a small company it can greatly increase your ROI.

The Contact Expert is integrated for the OCS desktop with presence capabilities, voice, email and SMS services in order to improve productivity. There is also instant messaging and the ability to route calls wherever you want to improve call resolution. There is also the self service IVR option as well as real-time for all of your call recording needs.

The Contact Expert solution is designed for Microsoft Server and will support Microsoft Communications Server "14" when it is released.

The Director of Product Management for Microsoft Communications Server, Yancey Smith, said "Organisations are looking for business solutions to maximise OCS enterprise telephony capabilities.
"Geomant's Contact Expert is such a solution and its extends Microsoft Unified Communications to the contact centre.
She added: "We're delighted that Geomant is developing applications today for OCS and is continuing that support for Communications Server 14."

Microsoft Communications Server "14" audio guide

A useful audio guide to Microsoft Communications Server "14" which covers deployment, central management and software and hardware requirements.

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How to deploy Communications Server 14

Communications Server 14 is nearly here, the new presence and office collaboration tool from Microsoft. Doubtless some people will get in at tangle trying to work out how to deploy it so here are some handy tips from the senior IT consultant for PointBridge, Jeff Schertz.

Central Management Store

The server configuration data for Communications Server 14 is now in a Central Management Store. This simplifies Edge Server deployment so that configuration data is pushed to workgroup Edge servers.

Operating systems

The main Operating Systems for Communications server 14 are the Server 2008 R2 64-bit and the Server 2008 SP2 64-bit


For A/V conferencing on Communications Server 14 you can either use a single consolidated server for SMEs or a
consolidated Front-End servers for large companies. The front end server can also be used for archiving.
If you are using Direct SIP or SIP Trunking, SIP traffic will instead work on DNS load balancing.


The Communications Server 14 Director uses SQL Express instead of a Pool server. No SQL back end database, is required.


PowerShell is a new management tool for the Communication Server Management Shell. The Communication Server Management Shell has replaced the The MMC-based management shell (LCSCMD).


If you are taking the Communications Server 14 server offline it can be drained and moved to another node in the pool.

If you need more information check out the full blog.

5 benefits of Communications Server “14”

Communications Server “14” is almost here and we are gradually finding out more and more about the product, save for what name Microsoft might eventually name it – maybe Communications Server 2010?
Whatever name they come up with, hundreds of hours of research have gone into making Communications Server “14” a fully collaborative product which connects employees, partners and customers at any time and in any place.
So here’s a look at the top 5 features of Communications Server “14”, as were outlined at the recent TechEd 2010 conference.

1) The Activity Feed - social networking is very much the future of the internet experience and many people have seized on the Facebook like nature of Communications Server “14”. The activity feed tells you what your colleagues are up to and whether they are available to work.
2) Integrating Communications Server “14” with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Sharepoint uses presence information to search for people and resources in the company.
3) The converged communications experience gives a single client experience for video and voice capabilities, data sharing and instant messaging.
4) Special search features. Not only can you search for colleagues using pictures and titles as part of your queries but you can also search for certain skills that you need, for instance to help complete a project.
5) Expect absolutely crystal clear video and voice throughout the office thank to the 720p HD webcam video over Communicator.
Not long to go now before Communications Server “14” will start shipping, are you as excited as I am?

Communications Server 14 features revealed

Microsoft has revealed the features we can expect in Communications Server "14"
during the recent TechEd 2010 conference in New Orleans, USA.
These include Office document and application sharing, expert search, and one-click meeting access from SharePoint, Outlook and smartphones. Microsoft says that the main benefits of Communications Server 14 are instant messaging, complete presence, enterprise and conference voice capabilities through an easy-to-use interface.
Microsoft expects to deliver Communications Server 14 by the end of the year.
Microsoft Server and Tools President, Bob Muglia, said: "We give customers the tools to take advantage of cloud computing on their own terms.
"Although some competitors would have you believe that you must move everything into the cloud now, don't be misled. All the investments you have already made can help to enable the full promise of cloud computing."
He added: “We are providing the most comprehensive set of choices available to customers."
Microsoft has also updated its Windows Azure software development kit which will support NET Framework 4, IntelliTrace and the final version of Visual Studio 2010.

Microsoft gives Communications Server 14 demos

Microsoft is giving a Unified Communications seminar where the company explains the benefits of the soon-to-be-released Communications Server 14 product.
Communications Server 14 can either enhance or replace your existing PBX, adding to the many capabilities it offers. These include video-web-audio conferencing, low-cost/high quality VoIP calls and instant messaging.
One of the main advantages of using Communications Server 14 is that it incorporates location awareness so that you always know where your colleagues are and what they are working on, enabling easy collaboration.
The interactive session will take place on Monday, July 12, between 4-5pm at the Business Productivity track at the Walter E Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.
There will also be breakout sessions which give more information about the Exchange online and Exchange Server 2010 products.
The main speakers will be the Senior Vice President of the Information Worker Product Management Group, Chris Capossela, and the President of the Microsoft Business Division, Stephen Elop.

HP will use Microsoft Communications Server 14 to unify communications

Computer company HP will use Microsoft Communications Server 14 to unify communications.
The company is banking on the release of Microsoft’s new product in order to increase office productivity and cut down costs at the same time. HP and Microsoft originally agreed a collaboration agreement in May 2010 and so HP has now created a number of offerings.
Alaa AlShimy, General Manager of HP ProCurve for the Middle East said: “Organisations are facing the growing challenges of having a mobile workforce, which makes doing business more complicated and increases pressure.
“But with these new offerings, we are enhancing interaction, so that people can conduct business more efficiently, especially remote employees.”
HP has already created products which will be used with Microsoft Communications Server 14. They include the HP Survivable Branch Communication zl Module. It combines Microsoft Communications Server 14 and HP ProCurve software within HP ProCurve Switch 8200zl and 5400zl series products. HP has also optimised PCS so that they will provide perfect voice and video quality when used with Microsoft Communications Server 14.
This has all been done with an eye to reducing operating costs when Microsoft Communications Server 14 is released.
Corporate VP of the Office Communications Group Microsoft Corp, Gurdeep Singh Pall, said: “Today’s increasingly mobile workforce means that end-users have to become self sufficient.
“By combining HP’s Survivable Branch Communication zl Module and the other offerings with Communications Server 14, they will get a high quality experience.”

Replace or enhance your PBX with Communications Server 14

The new Microsoft Communications Server 14 product can replace your Phone Branch Exchange (PBX), but if you don’t want to upgrade it can also enhance the existing system.
In fact the Communications Server 14 benefits of audio/video web conferencing, instant messaging and VoIP telephony can all be added as unified communications solutions to your current infrastructure.
With its special interoperability, Communications Server 14 is easy to integrate into Microsoft Office and simple to deploy.
One option is for Communications Server 14 to be connected directly to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) via SIP Trunking or through a gateway. To do this your phone number is simply transferred to Communications Server 14.
Alternatively Communications Server 14 can be connected to your existing PBX. Using Communicator your system will then ring whenever the PBX rings. This is ideal for mobile or remote workers.
There is also a new Join From” feature where the user’s PBX phone is automatically rung to invite then to join a conference call.
However Microsoft has just seen some 70,000 customers use Communications Server 14 in place of their PBX. With its partners Aastra and Polycom Microsoft is also starting to roll out IP desktop phones as well as optimised USB devices.

5 great partner solutions for Microsoft Communications Server “14”

We can hardly wait for Microsoft Communications Server “14”. In the meantime loads of companies have come up with cool partner solutions. Here's a look at the top five.

1) IP phones

Specially optimised IP phones for Microsoft Communicator “14” have been released by Polycom and Aastra. These products can provide multimedia calling and a streamlined setup with desktop phone control.

2) Integrated PSTN gateway functionality

This allows you to use a variety of products and services with Microsoft Communications Server “14”. These third party gateways will be qualified through the Microsoft Unified Communications Open Interoperability Program.
3) Remote working

For remote working there are local telephony services that could even compensate in the event of a wide area network failure. Check out Dialogic, AudioCodes, Ferrari electronic AG, HP, and NET.

4) Enhanced call resolution.

Aspect Unified IP can enhance first your call resolution while providing additional contact channels. There is also a single interface for bill reports.
5) Real-time analytics

The Nice Systems SmartCenter allows Microsoft Communications Server “14” customers to benefit from real-time analytics so that you can gear your work according to the overall performance of the business.

Microsoft made to pay for OCS patent infringement

Operating systems impresario Microsoft has this week shelled out $200 million for patent infringement.
The lawsuit against Microsoft was brought by the VirnetX Holding Corp, which makes real time communications security technology.
VirnetX Holding Corp alleged in a 2007 lawsuit that Microsoft had infringed upon two US patents in its Microsoft's Office Communication Server and Microsoft's Windows products. The patents were for virtual private network (VPN) technology, among other things.
Although Microsoft dragged out the proceedings by requested a re-examination last year (2009), a jury recently found that they must pay the VirnetX Holding Corp $105.8million. That breaks down as $71.75m for infringing the VPN patent and $34m for infringing a patent for using a secure domain name service to set up a VPN.
When VirnetX also pushed through patent infringement claims for Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 that figure hit the magic $200 million mark.
Since its big win VirnetX Holding Corp shares have doubled.
Microsoft deputy general and counsel corporate vice president Tom Burt said: "We’re pleased to work with VirnetX to settle these cases successfully. Microsoft looks forward to VirnetX's continued progress as it develops more technologies."
Microsoft will soon be releasing the new Communications Server 14 technology.

Microsoft starts Developer Technology Adoption Program for Communications Server "14"

Among the 15 worldwide companies to be chosen for the program is West at Home, which creates home-based customer contact solutions.

West at Home will now incorporate Communications Server "14" technologies into its product such as presence, VoIP integration with softphones, instant messaging and chat. This will improve company communications while pinpointing each office worker at a specific location for convenience.

That means West at Home clients can benefit from huge cost savings and increased network security, while it also allows to company to easily manage its remote workforce.

Director of Communications Server product management, Yancey Smith, said: "Based on the innovation West displayed using Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, Microsoft chose West at Home to participate in the Technology Adoption Program for Microsoft Communications Server '14'.
“We are eager to see how the company will incorporate our newest product into their successful home-based customer contact solutions."

Microsoft and Nokia release mobile app

Microsoft and Nokia have brought out the Microsoft Communicator Mobile for smartphones.
This free software allows you to use Microsoft Communication Server on Nokia's E series for phone calls, instant messaging and video conferencing.
You can even see whether someone is busy or free to talk just by looking at your contact list.

Microsoft Business division president, Stephen Elop, said: "It is so useful to tell whether someone is in a meeting or contactable just by looking at your phone. If they are in a meeting I can just instant message them instead."
The two companies became partners last year in order to bring out Office software on Nokia handsets.
The software is supported on both the E52 and the E72 models. So far Nokia has shipped more than 10 million smartphones.
For those already on Office Communication Server, using the new app does not require installing new software.

Five great benefits of OCS 14

Microsoft is looking to develop its expertise in the field of unified communications with the forthcoming OCS 14 product. Here are five ways in which OCS 14 will make your life easier.

1) Don’t want to subject people to awful renditions of Greensleeves on panpipes when they are on hold? Try the new call parking feature. This transfers the call to an unused line outside of the phone system, from which it can then be retrieved quickly and easily.
2) In emergencies the enhanced 911 feature of OCS 14 is bound to come in use as it allows emergency services to pinpoint your exact location. In times when you might find it hard to describe where you are, this is invaluable as the caller’s location and information is directly transmitted to the response team.
3) Ever get tongue tied on the phone? With OCS 14 that could be a thing of the past as you can enter contextual information on the caller ID, for instance ‘Nick calling to discuss latest marketing strategies’.
4) The simultaneous ring feature is very useful, as you can have the call ring on a number of phones so that you can pick it up at whichever is easiest. No more coffee spills as you run into the office to take that important call, it will ring on your mobile too.
5) If your eyes are getting tired and you don’t feel up to reading any more documents, then the voice-recognition software might well be your favourite feature. It allows you to transmit voice mails into an audio file which can then be accessed in your email or outlook folder, and listened to/or read.

Microsoft conference outlines benefits of communications server

The latest Microsoft unified communications software is being released this year - Microsoft communications server “14”.
The product streamlines communications to make them more cost effective, but more open at the same time.

At a conference in Orlando, Florida, the corporate VP of Microsoft’s Office Communications Group, Gurdeep Singh Pall, gave a keynote address.
He predicted that Microsoft communications server “14” would lead the way in a future of connected communications.
Mr Pall said: “We have used software to leapfrog traditional hardware-bound communications systems and accelerate innovation in this industry.
“Office Communications Server has been very popular since it was introduced in 2007, allowing businesses to save costs and increase productivity. Microsoft communications server “14” will build on these attributes.”
Microsoft communications server “14” has a number of exciting new features. For instance, users can find colleagues based on what skills they have, know whether or not they are available to collaborate and bring together content and resources in a simple fashion.
Microsoft communications server “14” works with Microsoft SharePoint Server, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Exchange. It will have full enterprise telephony and allow communications to be embedded in applications. Another feature is Microsoft Office Communications Online which works in the cloud and on-premise to deliver presence and instant messaging.
Microsoft communications server “14” will be available from the second half of 2010.

Google vs Microsoft

To take on the forthcoming Microsoft OCS 2010 product, Google has come up with business docs which it says are cheaper and easier to use.

Speaking at a conference on cloud computing, Google was forthright in suggesting their apps suite could do a better job than Microsoft.

Anil Sabharwal, the product manager of Google Apps, said: "When Microsoft comes knocking to say that you need to upgrade to the OCS communications server, you should know that you now have an alternative choice. Our apps suite is a viable replacement for the majority of users."

Google's software will only cost about £30 per year, which they expect to be much lower than what Microsoft charges for Office 2010. The Apps suite will offer opportunities for collaboration between colleagues, including better support for imported documents.

However, a Microsoft spokesman said they were confident they could offer something that Google couldn't in the field of cloud computing.

"Basic features like auto fill, document fidelity, the ability to share content across applications and cut and paste are all essential. It is very revealing that only after three years in the marketplace is Google adding the type of functionality that most people and businesses require."

Microsoft vs Google

The competition between Microsoft and Google will come to a head this year when the new OCS communications server technology is released.

Microsoft has planned to create a product where multiple documents can be viewed by multiple users, and in which all updates are current and visible to all. Of course the benefits this could have to business are numerous.
While Google docs also performs this function, Microsoft claims that its product will offer more opportunities for collaboration. Central to this is the new Social Connector feature which adds personal profiles and 'presence awareness' so that you can work on Office, SharePoint, and Communications Server all at the same time with a smooth transition of data.
While Google is the unchallenged king of search engine capability that is now turning its attention towards various other products, Microsoft aims to keep control over the applications and operating systems market.

Along with Office 2010, part of the Microsoft plan to increase its power is the Office Communications Server 2010, known as OCS. This will use SharePoint and Office to deliver VoIP technology .
Kurt DelBene, senior VP of Microsoft's Office group, said: "Because the notion of presence is central to the collaboration experience, we are of the opinion that you should be able to move easily between different modalities of communication."

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