Microsoft upgrades Office Communications Server

Microsoft is upgrading its Office Communications Server 2007 to support audio conferencing, provide a receptionist console and support more mobile phones.

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Microsoft is upgrading its Office Communications Server 2007 to support audio conferencing, provide a receptionist console and support more mobile phones.

Called OCS R2, the software release allows audio conferencing with displays that show all the participants and with tools that let them launch side instant messaging or application sharing.

To support OCS's VoIP capabilities, R2 includes an attendant's console that displays the presence status of workers and allows for customization and extensions. For instance, a person's presence state might be listed as "traveling in Europe" rather than standard available, unavailable or do not disturb.

The OCS client options for mobile phones have been expanded to include a Java-based client that runs on Nokia phones. This is in addition to clients made for Windows Mobile and Research in Motion phones. The upgraded client also supports integration with OCS so calls initiated from a cell phone can be represented in caller ID on the receiving end as coming from a business phone number.

OCS R2 supports persistent group chat so if someone comes in late to a chat session, they can review what has already happened. Completed chats are archived, which could be valuable in call centers where chat discussions may be helpful in resolving issues with a later caller.

Microsoft has improved its developer application programming interfaces so it is simpler to embed voice, IM and e-mail into other applications. Before the APIs were more difficult to work with and didn't include voice.

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