Microsoft demonstrates Office Communicator 14

Microsoft demonstrated the future version of Office Communicator at Tech-Ed, New Orleans today.

Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Unified Communications Group, took the stage at Tech-Ed on Monday and explained the release is very big for Microsoft. "Communicator 14 is all about communication and collaboration and of course enterprise voice." Singh Pall demonstrated several new features including activity feeds, contact card changes and 720p HD webcam video over Communicator. Office Communications Server is used at large businesses and corporations for employee internal instant messaging. It's the business version of Microsoft's popular Windows Live Messenger. New improvements include:

  • Location services integration - users location can be auto detected from the subnet where the user is wired or the nearest wireless access point. Users can also set custom locations.
  • Activity feeds - Users can update their status and have the status displayed in the contact list.
  • Dial Pad - Option to use dial pad interface for calls. Users can dial by name or click to call others from their contact lists. Voicemail messages are also available from the dialing tab.
  • Voice Mail improvements - Voice mail is now recorded and transcribed to text in real time.
  • Device Selection - Users can select their audio device directly from the Microsoft Communicator interface
  • Simultaneous Ring - Users can forward inbound calls to specific numbers, straight to voice mail or ring at multiple numbers simultaneously.
  • Contextual calls in real time - Users can enter a subject immedialy before placing a call allowing recipients to see the call subject
  • Contact card changes- Newly designed contact card with just the basics similar to Outlook 2010 and an extended card to display full information from Active Directory.

Microsoft confirmed Office Communications Server (OCS) has grown by double digits every year for the last three years and is one of the fastest growing servers at Microsoft. Today, more than 70% of the Fortune 100 companies are using OCS internally.

Microsoft did not confirm exactly when Office Communications Server "14" will be available apart from that it will be released "later this year".

Image Credits: Long Zheng (Flickr)

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