Microsoft: The New Efficiency


At today’s “New Efficiency” launch event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke about Windows 7 deployments and how customers can save money with the latest OS. He particularly mentioned that Windows 7 “will bring $90-$160 saving per pc per year”.

He also discussed the “Consumerisation of IT”, where users bring/force change in Corporate IT via their expectations from using software at home. He said that it isn’t a new phenomenon (it just has a new name) and that it will continue to be a huge driving force in the way that software is designed and used-such as the extra social networking features being added into Office, Exchange & Sharepoint.

This all led to the launch of a new website:

http://vepexp.microsoft.com/thenewefficiency

which contains dozens of videos from MS execs covering topics such as:

  • Discover Windows Optimized Desktop
  • Learn about Optimized Server
  • Experience Unified Communications
  • Explore Business Ready Security

There are a bunch of videos on Exchange 2010 such as:

  • Upgrade & Deployment
  • High Availability
  • Mobility & Active Sync
  • Email Archiving

and more. These are a great source of information on Exchange 2010, some of which I’ve collected here.

The banner below is a great representation of the products & ideas behind the New Efficiency.

image

There are way too many sessions to list here but MS have put together some suggested sessions listings for:

  • Enterprises
  • Mid-Size
  • SMB’s

They contain links to the videos on the New Efficiency site and can be downloaded from my SkyDrive here.

Microsoft OCS 2007 R2 Released


Microsoft OCS 2007 R2 has officially been Released to Manufacturing (RTM’d) as of 19/12/08 so in plenty of time for the Virtual Launch on 13/02/09.

It’s still on course to add a whole host of new features to the OCS platform which will make it even more of a contender in the UC arena.

I really feel that MS OCS 2007 coupled with the Roundtable is a winning combo when it comes to Unified Communications.

Jabra/Microsoft Unified Communications Headsets


I was talking to our account manager at Jabra today about their latest range of headsets and they’re really impressive.

Jabra were the first, and I believe still the only, company to have their headsets certified by Microsoft as “Optimized for Microsoft Office Communicator” which is a nice badge to have :-)

I’ve got the M5390at work and it’s a great bit of kit, especially now I’ve worked out how to use it properly! I’ve always held out against headsets, always said I “need to have a phone in my hand”, always thought headsets were a little bit “Posey” but not any more.

I’ve had the M5390 for about 4 months and find it to be great…the best thing is being able to type properly whilst on the phone, particularly during webcasts, conference calls etc. As the headset is wireless with up to 70M range, I can wander off from my desk to pick up a fax, make a brew, buy a Wispa and all sorts of things, that extra bit of freedom really does help increase productivity.

Also, I’ve got it paired to both my desk phone and my PC “softPhone” so it can hook into Microsoft Office Communicator really well. It also means that you can use it to listen to internet radio, Youtube etc during your lunch hour (of course!) and then webcasts and the like during work hours without bothering any of your colleagues.

Jabra OCS headsets

Sorry the text is a bit small, I’ll try and rectify that ASAP :-)

Microsoft OCS 2007 R2- More Info


Microsoft OCS 2007 R2, the new version, was recently (14/10/08) announced at VoiceCon. My other posts talk about the features that were expected to be included and can be found here.

BrettJo has got some links with extra info over at his blog, and some of the info from those is below.

The “Communicator Attendant” is a PC Client that adds a whole host of traditional operator features to OCS 2007; it’s advanced features allow you to transfer IM’s (Instant Messages) and/or typed notes along with a phone call <–that’s pretty cool :-)

Also, ACD Response Group includes a set of workflow and routing rules, IVR and queuing, agent presence, Music on Hold (MOH), and inbound call context.

NoJitter.com also says:

“Other new telephony features include Delegation (assistant/executive support capabilities), Call Monitoring (call records, call voice quality, usage reporting, and ROI analysis), and SIP trunking direct from the OCS 2007 Mediation Server to the ITSP (PSTN and Cellular networks) without need for a premises SBC.”

Video Conferencing sees a number of improvements including VGA as standard with an HD option and one click screen sharing from Office Communicator, with Polycom & Tandberg endpoints being supported.

Dial-in Conferencing (scheduled or ad-hoc bridging) with VOIP or PSTN access is do-able and the Conferencing Attendant enables you to see the call roster, drop callers from the conference and more.

Another new feature that could lead to some really cool things is the ability for developers to add presence information to other MS AND 3rd party applications such as CRM. So if you’re in Finance and you’ve got a question about the latest order on the Jenkins account, you could see the presence of the customer account manager and contact them via chat…still within that application!

The guys over at TechWorld.nlhave got a video which includes an interview with Senior MS Director Eric Swift and a great demo of the new OCS 2007 R2 features:

If anyone can translate the Dutch article over at Techworld that’d be cool :-)

Microsoft Roundtable Unboxing-Pics!


My Microsoft Roundtable arrived today-yey! It made what was turning out to be a pretty boring, not so brilliant morning into a pretty awesome morning!

I took a load of pics of the Unboxing (on my HTC Diamond) a few of which are below, and the rest can be found here..

Typically, we’re just about to embark on installing a new PBX at work so I’m not going to be able to hook this bad boy up for probably a couple of weeks! It’s just going to be sitting next to me mocking me :-)

Microsoft OCS 2007 R2-Features Released


Microsoft OCS 2007 R2 has been officially announced today at VoiceCon over in Amsterdam.

R2 is classed as a “minor” release and will not go to public beta, but should be with us in December 2008 (so only a couple of months to wait).

Stephen Elop, president of the Microsoft Business Division at Microsoft said “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.”

Key new features of Office Communications Server 2007 R2 include the following:

Next-Generation Collaboration

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.

* Blackberry client does not include Single Number Reach.

 OCS 2007 R2 has it’s official virtual launch on Feb. 3rd 2009 (03/02/09) and you can register to participate here.

 The word is that the OCS team will be sticking to a rough 2 year release cycle, which adds more weight to the Office 2010 release date.

I think that these new features make OCS an even more viable option in the workplace, especially for enterprises..I think the number of companies forgoing traditional PBX’s completely will increase as a result of this.

Mary Jo Foley over at ZDNet has got the full scoop here.

Microsoft Tanjay-Polycom CX700 OCS 2007 Phone


The Microsoft Tanjay is now known as the Polycom CX700 IP Phone for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007..nice and snappy! :-)

**Update** I’ve seen now that Tanjay is actually a product range, which as well as the CX700 also includes the LG-Nortel 8540. I’m sure there will be more to follow too..

I heard about the Tanjay a while back but it’s taken me some time to track it down in it’s new incarnation and for that I must thank Frankarr. This thing is seriously cool in my opinion..

First off, it includes a “fully embedded Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 Client” allowing access to all the features via it’s built in touch screen!!

You can “Click to Call” from the user list via the touch screen.

You can set /change your presence status through the touch screen and the LED on the front shows your presence status too.

It includes a biometric fingerprint reader for recognition and to provide personalized preferences.

I’m not 100% sure if this is available in the UK yet..I’ll check with Polycom at work on Monday. For now, here’s a pic:

For those of you that have a Tanjay phone, here’s an excellent blog post on how to get it set up, configured and working in your OCS environment – Configuring Tanjay for OCS.

To see my other posts about OCS 2007, go here.

Microsoft Unified Communications Demo


Microsoft’s Unified Communications portfolio contains some brilliant products and when they’re all used together, the results are amazing. However one thing I know first hand is that an actual demo works infinitely better than any number of .ppt slides and presentations so courtesy of Technet Edge, here’s a demo of:

Exchange Server 2007, Office Communications Server 2007 and Roundtable

OCS 2007 Blackberry Client


The CrBlackberry is pretty prevalent in the corporate world these days whether we like it or not, so Microsoft have just released a Blackberry client for OCS 2007-their brilliant Unified Communications software.

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 for your BlackBerry Smartphone

BlackBerry® Client for use with Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007 allows you to engage in immediate interactive communication while you’re on the go. Exchange text messages with other Microsoft® Office Communicator users on your BlackBerry® smartphone*, whether they’re using a desktop computer, BlackBerry smartphone or other mobile device.

Enjoy Familiar Features Wirelessly

Enjoy a desktop-like experience on your BlackBerry smartphone, with features and functionality you’re already familiar with from Microsoft Office Communicator. There’s no need to compromise just because you are away from your computer.

  • Initiate and manage group chat sessions of three or more participants from your smartphone
  • View the presence status of contacts, such as online, busy, do not disturb, be right back, away or appear offline and set your own status to inform others of your availability
  • Enjoy a synchronized contact list, with the same contacts available on your BlackBerry smartphone and your computer
  • Find contacts quickly with the quick find function and picture association
  • Receive alerts when team members become available
  • Communicate more effectively with emoticons
  • And more

Integrates with other BlackBerry Smartphone Applications

You will also enjoy tight integration with other applications on your BlackBerry smartphone:

  • Set your presence status from your home screen icon
  • View the presence status of contacts directly from your address book
  • Check your spelling and edit autotext on your instant messages
  • Initiate phone calls or browser sessions directly from phone numbers or URLs embedded in instant messages
  • Voice integration with ‘Click to Call’

Download or get more info at:

http://na.blackberry.com/eng/services/server/exchange/ocs2007.jsp

I discovered this via http://blogs.technet.com/jkruse/default.aspx - check it out!