A to Z of Microsoft and its Partners

A to Z of Microsoft and its Partners

Maren Bennette

With regard to Microsoft disrupting the market, this very apposite example from Dave Greenfield’s blog on Techweb’s networking pipeline illustrates the point, ‘’Microsoft will finally clarify its plans next month to turn Live Communications Server (LCS) into a next-generation telephony server. Details are to be released at a Microsoft unified communications event in June, presumably the upcoming Tech-Ed 2006.

Perhaps the disclosure of just how far down the IP PBX path Microsoft intends to take LCS will clarify the company’s position vis-à-vis its PBX partners. Those relationships have long been tactically cooperative, but strategically competitive. Tactically, Microsoft needed the voice switching capabilities of the infrastructure vendors, Cisco, Avaya, Siemens etc., to tie LCS into the corporate voice system. They in turn needed Microsoft’s desktop and application footprint.

 

Strategically, however, LCS is a fully functional SIP server, which means it can switch and route phone calls as easily as it can IM sessions. Once everyone has an LCS client there is little need for the IP PBX’.

The expression ‘stick that in your pipe and smoke it’ comes to mind. Now here are the last four sets of submissions on interworking from Microsoft’s PABX vendor partners:

 

Mitel Networks

Mitel’s Live Business Gateway (LBG) combines telephony integration with the presence and availability of Microsoft LCS. It can be used alongside any Mitel application, including NuPoint Messenger and Customer Interaction solutions.

LBG enables users to transform a two-way instant message session into a phone call at the click of a mouse to both internal and external telephone numbers. Users can set up ad-hoc eight-party audio conference calls, via the internal conference bridge, which can be transformed to video or a collaboration session at the touch of a button.

Within any Microsoft Office application each user’s status is displayed and calls can be made by simply clicking on a name. If a colleague is busy on a call, they can be ‘tagged’, and a notification is provided to indicate their availability when the call is completed. Any missed calls are flagged in the users’ inbox.

The Live Business Gateway is shipping now.

 

NEC Philips

“NEC Philips Unified Solutions is collaborating with Microsoft to enable further integration between the business telephony infrastructure and the rich collaboration environment on the PC, allowing customers to more effectively communicate in real-time using all available media.

The collaboration provides enhanced integration between the NEC Philips UNIVERGE SV7000 IP telephony portfolio (including servers and application suite) and Microsoft’s real-time communications platform, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005.

The combined solution provides customers a truly unified, seamless and collaborative environment for business applications and (IP) telephony control, giving users access to real-time, multi-directional information independent of device and location.

Installations are already being undertaken with customers throughout Europe, America and Japan.”

 

Nortel

“The Nortel Converged Office solution delivers a realtime communications solution that enables enhanced communications for Enterprise workers. The solution includes two components defined as Remote Call Control with SIP CTI (TR/87) and Telephony Gateway and Services. In addition to Microsoft convergence, the SIP CTI which is introduced with this software release can be used to provide connectivity to other applications that comply with the subset of ECMA International ‘SIP CTI (TR/87) Protocol’ standard.

“Nortel extends voice services to the Microsoft Communicator client. Calls can be originated from the Office Communicator client to access the PSTN, as well as others on the local network and Least Cost routing applicable to calls originated from the Office Communicator.”

The Nortel products are shipping now.

 

Siemens

“Siemens HiPath OpenScape integrates seamlessly with the Microsoft Live Communication Server to deliver a class-leading Unified Communications tool that can greatly enhance the productivity of project teams and information workers within any business.

“By integrating with a wide variety of communication platforms, devices, and technologies, it provides an aggregated ‘broad spectrum presence’ view on all key team members and co-workers. Within a single view, users can see the status of their colleagues, and can call, communicate and collaborate simply and effectively. By utilising this aggregated presence, users can be confident that they will reach their colleagues first time, on the users preferred device. You no longer have to be a communications detective, trying to guess which device a particular person is using at the particular point in time.

“By utilising OpenScape, decisions can be made faster, and processes completed quicker, driving productivity within the business and providing better service to your customers. The products are shipping now.”

 

So there you have it. Is Microsoft going to become the dominant player in Unified Communications as they are in operating systems, server software and desktop applications? Some say that an enterprise customer will never trust their dial tone to a Windows platform… but then they said the same when Cisco introduced CallManager – which runs on Windows 2000. With nearly 40,000 customers using over 7.5 million IP phones, Cisco has proven that Windows-based IP telephony is reliable. But now they, and the other PABX vendors face what is perhaps their greatest challenge. In our opinion Microsoft has the technology, the money and the marketing clout to do just about anything they want. Let’s see if they want to be number one in voice, too.