Microsoft's Communication Server 14 at TechEd

8 Jun 2010

At TechEd, Microsoft's IT Pro developer conference, additional features of Communication Server 14, formerly OCS Wave 14, were announced, with more announcements expected at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference-including a new name for the product.

With a dozen tracks going into depth on Communication Server 14, as well as a mini-keynote by Gurdeep Sing Pall and a "shout out" during Bob Muglia's keynote, the product got its fair share of attention at the conference.

Many of us have already heard about CS 14's new features and capabilities at VoiceCon Orlando, but TechEd was an opportunity for the developer community to hear about it.

During a pre-briefing with Microsoft, Yancy Smith noted that Microsoft did hundreds of hours of focus group sessions and interviews with information workers and people to find out about how people work, and this input went into the latest Communication Server 14 release. The findings showed that people feel overwhelmed because of the communications experience and challenges from dealing with distributed teams, partners, and customers, as well as the lack of integration and high cost of communications. People want tools that let them be connected, and Communication Server 14 will focus on connecting people in new ways, anytime, anywhere.

Smith notes that the latest release will drive adoption through ease of use and integration with Microsoft Office. It will reduce costs through converged communications as it works with existing solutions and can replace solutions where appropriate. Microsoft recognizes that "most companies won't rip out what they have, but for a large percentage of info workers, this is a great solution on its own."

Some of the new features in 14 include:

- Search - pictures & titles in search

- Skills search

- Unified Contact Store

- Activity Feed - social networking

- Integration with Office and Sharepoint, making it easier to see presence information and launch communications from within those applications, and will let users to search for people and resources in the company based on keywords and tags in their contact card descriptions.

- Contact card changes

- 720p HD webcam video over Communicator

- Location services integration

Microsoft states that it is also focused on making user adoption easy and ensuring the voice experience is simple. The new release lets users view the dial pad on the screen, and recording will be built into the user experience. It will provide a "converged communications experience," with a single client experience for IM, voice, video, and data sharing. Data sharing is all realtime based, including desktop sharing and application sharing, and session can be ad hoc or scheduled. The new release will also offer full high def audio and video with Windows Live Messenger and Communicator. There is still no release date for the new product, which is expected sometime later this year.

During day one of TechEd, I went on Twitter to see what attendees had to say about the announcements and what they thought were the important points. Most of the comments were positive. Here's a sample:

· Office Communicator 14 gets social with SharePoint integration

· OCS 14 fully integrates with SharePoint 2010. Auto history for each contact. Client will be a complete software phone.

· Ok new version of OCS is flippin sweet. MSFT hosts 93% of conferencing traffic on ocs/mcs.

· Now seeing non-NDA OCS 14 features and client. Positioning as complete PBX replacement. Tight integration w/SharePoint 2010.

· Tag-based searching from SharePoint 2010 integrated into OCS "14" demoed here at #TechEd 2010

· MCS/OCS 14 learns your skills based on your documents, etc

· I see OCS "14" changing the face of online training

· So other than the better voice / SharePoint integration I really didn't see anything new from OCS 14.

· Big play on cloud and integration across SharePoint, Win 7 Mobile and OCS 14

· Full structured live meetings, ad hoc meetings, and instant messaging...whiteboarding, sharing apps & more. All one integrated app.

· Bottom line for OCS 14: client experience better, servers more scalable, but still missing key features that prevent mass adoption.

· Officially announced today - Live Meeting conference functionality rolled into Communicator 14 - one client now!

Based on these comments (none of them were from Microsoft employees as far as I could tell), the developer and general community is pretty excited aboutthe upcoming release. Personally I'm anxious to hear what the new product name will be - will it be Communication Server 2010, or perhaps Collaboration Server?


There are currently no comments on this article.

You must be a registered user to make comments

Related Vendors