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Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005: Hub for Unified Communications


Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, Mitel, NEC, Nortel and Siemens are extending telephony call control capabilities to Microsoft’s unified communications platform, improving real-time business communications.

ORLANDO, Fla. — March 6, 2006 — Today at the VoiceCon Spring 2006 conference, Microsoft Corp. announced growing industry support for Microsoft® Office Live Communications Server 2005 as a hub for unified communications solutions that provide rich capabilities to allow people, teams and organizations to communicate simply and effectively while integrating seamlessly with business applications and processes. Microsoft is focused on extending the rich capabilities of presence and people-centric communications to encompass voice and apply the power of desktop software and software platforms to improve and advance communications.

To this end, Microsoft is collaborating with telephony companies to enable further integration between business desktop phones and the rich collaboration environment on the PC, allowing customers to more effectively communicate in real time. Microsoft is working with Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, Mitel, NEC, Nortel and Siemens to enable Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based interoperability between voice communications solutions and Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 and Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile, the PC and mobile phone unified communications clients for Live Communications Server. The solutions will enable business customers to launch and answer private branch exchange (PBX) and Internet protocol-PBX (IP-PBX) phone calls and view phone presence state from within Office Communicator. They also allow customers to seamlessly switch between instant messaging and voice sessions.

“Our vision for unified communications breaks down today’s silos of communication and brings them together into an intuitive experience that puts people at the center,” said Zig Serafin, general manager of the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft. “By ensuring interoperability with business-grade communications capabilities from leading providers, we can extend the power and flexibility of software to improve phone-based communications.”

Microsoft’s interoperability with Alcatel, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Mitel, Nortel and Siemens is based on the industry-standard SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE). SIP is a signaling protocol for Voice over IP (VoIP), telephony, conferencing, presence, events notification and instant messaging. The companies are using the SIP and SIMPLE protocols to enable the federation of telephony, presence information and instant messaging (IM) that can be encrypted and authenticated. SIP and SIMPLE provide a rich set of solutions for computer and telephone interaction. Microsoft and its partners are jointly supporting the SIP and SIMPLE effort, demonstrating their commitment to developing standards-based communications solutions built on methodologies that can be broadly adopted and integrated.

Alcatel and Microsoft Solution

Alcatel OmniPCX, Alcatel OmniTouch and MyTeamwork and Alcatel Genesys Enterprise Telephony Software (GETS) interface with Live Communications Server and Office Communicator to deliver voice collaboration for enterprise users. The combined solution allows customers to collaborate with colleagues, access availability and presence information, and manage phone calls and conferencing among computers and desktop phones using TDM and/or next-generation IP networks. Alcatel OmniPCX will be integrated with Microsoft Live Communications Server through standards-based SIP interfaces, and Alcatel OmniTouch MyTeamwork complements Live Communications Server for advanced voice conferencing. In addition, Alcatel GETS enables converged communication applications to be deployed on multisites and heterogeneous infrastructure environments, due to the inherent interoperability of Genesys Enterprise Telephony Software with leading PBX and IP telephony vendors.

Mitel and Microsoft Solution

The Mitel Live Business Gateway provides seamless integration with Live Communications Server 2005 and Office Communicator. Live Business Gateway seamlessly integrates voice and user or device presence capabilities into the powerful real-time collaboration that Live Communications Server and Office Communicator bring to business applications such as the Microsoft Office system. The Live Business Gateway allows Microsoft applications to access Mitel’s IP-based call control devices and applications, and allows Office Communicator to connect users external to the enterprise through the public network, while invoking telephony and presence features from within Mitel applications including Mitel Customer Interaction Solutions and Mitel NuPoint Messenger IP. It also enables eight-party ad hoc conference-calling among Office Communicator clients, further utilizing businesses’ investment in Microsoft and Mitel communications solutions.

“Mitel is taking the lead in providing multiple commercially available presence-enabled applications on the Live Communications Server platform,” said Don Smith, chief executive officer at Mitel. “Our solution provides for a full, rich, standards-based federated collaboration environment that supports in-the-moment business decisions and improved customer interaction.”

The solution that enables Microsoft applications to access Mitel’s IP-based call control devices is currently available.

NEC and Microsoft Solution

NEC Presence (telephony call control solutions) software will interface with Live Communications Server and Office Communicator to deliver telephony collaboration for enterprise users. The combined solution allows customers to collaborate with colleagues, access availability and presence information, and seamlessly manage phone calls among computers and desktop phones, using either existing PBX or next-generation IP networks. NEC Presence will be integrated with Microsoft Live Communications Server through standards-based SIP interfaces, enabling full functionality of true unified communications. In addition, the NEC Presence solution drives truly unified real-time collaboration capability in the real-time voice switching environment.

“Microsoft Office Live Communications 2005 embraces a host of applications that enables single users and corporations to participate in seamless real-time communication,” said Riaki Tanaka, managing director at NEC Business Solutions. “NEC, through its shared commitment to provide its customers across major corporations with the ability to embrace technologies of significance and achieve outcomes which deliver positive results, makes it and Microsoft the perfect partners.”

Nortel and Microsoft Solution

The Microsoft-Nortel Converged Office solution integrates Nortel IP telephony systems with Live Communications Server 2005 to provide SIP-based, business-grade desktop call control. The integration between Office Communicator and Nortel Communication Server (CS) 1000 enables end users to determine when colleagues are available and access communications from the desktop phone or from Office Communicator.

“The ability to provide access to applications in a collaborative environment, regardless of where users are physically located, is important to business success,” said Alex Pierson, vice president and general manager of Enterprise and SMB Communication Systems at Nortel. “The result of our relationship with Microsoft has yielded the convergence of business-grade telephony with applications in the Converged Office solution, allowing people to improve the exchange of information in a meaningful way, and enabling them to share ideas and respond to customer needs instantly. This, in turn, enhances simplicity and efficiency, resulting in a winning solution for businesses.

The solution providing interoperability between Office Communicator, Live Communications Server and Nortel Communication Server 1000 is currently available.

Siemens and Microsoft Solution

Siemens and Microsoft will deliver a comprehensive family of enterprise-grade, presence-enhanced calling, video and Web conferencing, and collaboration solutions to customers throughout the world. The companies share a common vision of presence-enabled communication that integrates voice, video, instant messaging and Web conferencing into a comprehensive tool suite to help improve worker productivity and team collaboration.

“Siemens and Microsoft have agreed on an aligned road map of presence-based, real-time communication objectives to help erase the communication gaps that remain between the personal computer and the office telephone,” said Thomas Zimmermann, president of Enterprise Systems at Siemens Communications. “Together we’ve aligned Live Communications Server, Office Communicator and the HiPath OpenScape product family to deliver a shared vision of communication tools that are standards-based and presence-enabled, so enterprises can gain strategic advantages from real-time collaboration. Now we’re cooperating closely in the field to bring the benefits of that shared vision to customers.”

The solution for interoperability between Office Communicator, Live Communications Server and the HiPath OpenScape product family is currently available.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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