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A Closer Look At Microsoft’s Real-time Communication Suite

Chris Richardson
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-03-10

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This week marked the launch of Microsoft's complete revamped enterprise-level communications package. The expressed goal of the real-time collaboration suite is to offer vast improvements over the current state of enterprise communication.

The real-time collaboration suite is in fact 2 separate packages, which will support complete integration with each other. The first software package is Microsoft Office Communicator 2005, a real-time chat client built from the framework of the popular Windows Messenger.

According to Microsoft, Office Communicator provides an "enterprise messenger that integrates communications capabilities (including instant messaging, rich presence, PC-based voice and video, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and enterprise telephony) with productivity and other communications applications."

Microsoft was certainly considering the on-the-go worker when designing Office Communicator. The ability to stay connected with remote workers makes communication a much easy proposition. Office Communicator also routes incoming messages to other platforms like mobile phones based on availability and preference.

The enterprise instant messenger is also capable of switching between modes of message delivery, offering IM, audio, video, Web conferencing, and traditional telephony and conference-calling capabilities.

Surprisingly, having a message client being so robust was not the high point of Microsoft's introduction. The jewel of the real-time collaboration suite is the ability to converse, instant message-wise, over a wide variety of platforms and messaging clients. Armed with an official service pack update, the Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005 allows just that.

Armed with what Microsoft calls Public IM Connectivity, the server software suite enables users to "connect their existing base of Live Communications Server-enabled users to public IM (MSN, AOL and Yahoo!) service providers." Simply put, with an updated LCS suite, users can converse with others who use different instant message clients.

Not only that, but using Office Communicator in conjunction with LCS also offers the necessary encryption to keep these instant messages safe.

Jeff Raikes, group vice president of the Information Worker Group at Microsoft, had these thoughts concerning Microsoft's approach to enterprise communication:

"Communicator and Live Communications Server demonstrate how we are bringing integrated communications to life for our customers as rich presence and multimodal communications become an integrated part of the Microsoft Office System. Users now can view rich presence information for colleagues, partners and customers; select the most efficient mode of communication, whether it's IM, a phone call, a Web conference or e-mail; and instantly share ideas and information."

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About the Author:
Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.

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