Microsoft is reportedly readying to release a beta version of the next component in their Unified Communications 'Wave 14' suite. Wave 14 includes Exchange Server 2010, Office 2010, Sharepoint Server 2010 and Office Communications Server 2010.
Communicator and Office Communications Server provide instant message and audio conferencing capability within organisations, with the Enterprise edition also supporting video conferencing and real-time collaboration. Communications Server can also be extended to integrate with public instant messaging services such as Microsoft's Live Messenger service, while allowing administrators the ability to log and filter traffic.
According to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, Microsoft are gearing up towards the first public demonstration of the Communicator 2010 which will be part of UCExpo 2010 at the Olympia in London. The webpage detailing the events at the seminar states that "This will be the first showing outside the US and two weeks earlier than the official public beta launch."
It is expected that Communicator and Office Communications server will tightly integrate with Exchange Server 2010 to include improved unified messaging features, as well as providing developers with the ability to more easily extend its presence, voice and video features into their own products.
The latest version of Office Communications Server is currently OCS 2007 R2, which was released in December 2008. It is not clear whether Microsoft also intend to release a preview of Office Communications Server 2010 around the same time as the Communicator 2010 beta.