Microsoft's marriage of easy communications
The combination of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 brings voicemail to the in-box, and speed and flexibility to how Windows workers communicate
Once the conference starts, it can happen entirely on the Web, with users joining from their desktops, or a few folks could gather in a RoundTable-equipped conference room, while others tune in from other locations. RoundTable brings all attendees in the conference room into a videoconference through a special extension to the Live Meeting client, projecting the entire conference room in a ribbon-style view at the bottom of the screen (so folks logging in from the outside can see everyone) while presenting the active speaker in a larger view on the side. The new LiveMeeting client even enables meeting managers to record entire meetings or just snippets, both audio and video, to an external server hosted by Microsoft or an internal one should you have a friendly IT administrator with a lot of spare hard disks. All of the communications options are just a few mouse clicks away, and the results are very, very slick.
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Active Directory integration is, frankly, crucial. Accessing OCS features without Active Directory is likely possible, but you’d lose most of the slickness that makes OCS so attractive in the first place. With Active Directory running in the background, OCS administrators can quickly assign OCS capabilities to users and groups, manage federation between organizations, map IP to POTS settings, and more. The nice part is that most of these management features can be accessed via a new Communications tab that suddenly appears within the Active Directory screen once OCS rears its head in the server farm.
Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging allows that sexy integration of voice and e-mail. On the Exchange side, administrators only have to define a unified messaging mailbox policy and then enable the users who are affected.
On the desktop, it’s all about Office Communicator 2007, though Outlook 2007 and the rest of the Office 2007 suite are a good idea, too. Someone running a call via Communicator, for example, might pop open OneNote to jot down some notes. OneNote will automatically grab the OCS call information from Communicator, including the subject, date and time, and even the other users on the call. All of a sudden you have to try to lose your meeting notes.