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Microsoft Brings Software-Powered Videoconferencing to Desktops Everywhere


Customers and partners embrace Microsoft’s open unified communications platform to reduce travel, preserve existing investments and increase productivity.

ORLANDO, Fla.— Today at VoiceCon Orlando 2008, Microsoft Corp. announced broad availability of its conferencing solutions and continued customer and partner adoption of its unified communications platform. Partners are embracing the platform to provide interoperable conferencing solutions, and today Polycom Inc. announced that it will make its videoconferencing systems work with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. Microsoft also outlined continued customer adoption of its unified communications solutions and demonstrated some new technologies, such as low-cost high-definition videoconferencing.

“I am excited at the enthusiastic customer and partner response to our unified communications launch,” said Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president for the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft. “In the last six months, we have seen some amazing customer testimonials, triple-digit business growth and widespread adoption that are bringing the power of face-to-face, high-quality videoconferencing out of the boardroom and to the broader organization.”

Enhanced Videoconferencing Only a Click Away

As of today, Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007 now work with conferencing systems from Polycom and TANDBERG — which constitute more than 60 percent1 of worldwide existing business conferencing systems. This openness means customers can get more value from existing conferencing systems while still benefiting from Microsoft unified communications software for instant messaging, presence and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP).

Customers are also embracing Microsoft’s innovative, low-cost videoconferencing solution, Microsoft RoundTable. In the last six months, more than 350 companies have deployed the 360-degree videoconferencing phone, and 55 resellers have taken it into 17 countries.

“Office Communications Server and RoundTable allow us to improve collaboration and communication while traveling less; we know that has a positive impact on the planet, and that’s important to us,” said Robert Fort, vice president of information technology and CIO at Virgin Entertainment Group. “With an entry point of $3,000 per device and simple plug-and-play operation, we can widely deploy devices to make conferencing available to everyone.”

Customers Benefiting From Unified Communications

More than 140 companies have shared their success and published case studies about their Microsoft unified communications deployments since Microsoft launched its platform last October. Details are available at Companies such as Dow Corning Corp. have deployed the system to thousands of users for VoIP, webconferencing and videoconferencing, e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging and presence. These companies are reporting cost and travel savings as well as dramatic productivity gains.

“Office Communications Server 2007 delivers the next-generation communications capability to provide instant presence information that reduces contact latency. Then people have rich functionality — IM, webconferencing, VoIP — to have engaging conversations,” said Steve Hershauer, IT architect and engineer at Dow Corning. “As such, this fundamentally changes the way our internal peers and business partners communicate, and increases overall productivity for everyone and has a macro-productivity effect on the processes they touch.”

Partners Innovating With Microsoft’s Open Unified Communications Platform

GE Healthcare’s imaging collaboration will also demo a conceptual prototype being built using Microsoft’s Office Communications Server. This technology, when available, could provide physicians with communication features channeled directly through a unified device, for radiologists this being the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS).

“We continue to look for opportunities across adjacent areas to optimize productivity, quality and innovation within the clinical setting,” said Prakash Mahesh, global manager of Advanced Technologies, GE Healthcare IT. “The concept prototype from Microsoft and GE Healthcare IT, when available, could bridge an important industry gap for physicians and radiologists, providing improved productivity, enhanced collaboration and reduced interruptions.”


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