Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tanjay phone firmware -version 2009

Just a quick update on what's coming with the new Tanjay phones:
  • Full integration with the PC via USB (existing port)
  • When a call is made on the Tanjay, the MOC client will also show that you're in a call. Call control from the MOC client affects the Tanjay and vice versa. This means that if you put a call on hold with the PC, it will do the same for the phone. Also when you lock/unlock your PC, the Tanjay does as well.
  • Redial!!! We now have a redial button on the screen.......finally!
  • The icons for the contacts show you quickly which type of call (PSTN or Communicator) that will be made if you click to call via the touch screen. This was a big complaint for many people who expected to to a PC call by clicking and assuming the phone would be "intelligent" enough to make sure the call went out via the cheapest method possible.
  • ...and much more to come!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Office Communications Server 2007 R2: Communicator Attendant

The following video demonstrates the new Communicator Attendant feature in OCS 2007 R2. The video shows how the new console will allow call queuing and handling of many incoming phone calls from both internal and PSTN-based users.

What I find most impressive is how they've thought of every angle in terms of how the caller and callee know about where the call is going and where it came from. By adding presence information, Microsoft has improved the overall experience for the person handling the call.

Video provided by Microsoft. More available at

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2

Well it has been publicly released.....well maybe not yet....but Microsoft has given us a glimpse into the next version of their next version of OCS 2007.

Highlights of OCS 2007 R2:
  • All server roles will be based on 64-bit code meaning you will be able to scale to more users and more roles per server with less hardware.
  • Conference bridge capability! This will allow an internal or remote user to call an OCS conference bridge resulting in a substantial cost savings. To expand on this more, Microsoft has done a fantastic job of making the experience easy to use and seamless to the end user.
  • A new version of the MOC client will allow application (and desktop) sharing which is similar to MSN Messenger today. This is a welcome feature as the previous version required you to install the Live Meeting 2007 client to share apps/etc.
  • Support for Mac/Linux via web interface
  • A completely new feature is the ability to set up and participate in "Persistent Group Chat" sessions. These seem somewhat similar to IRC-style chat sessions where you can invite others and collaborate in a persistent real-time chat environment. This could be perfect for those "SWAT" teams that get called together in critical situations to solve a production issue (both IT and non-IT staff). The chat sessions are searchable and can be filtered as well.
  • For those people who manage incoming calls such as administrative assistants a new "Attendant Console" gives the power of call routing, managing conferences, and setting up workflows for high volume call environments.
  • Direct "SIP Trunking" is a long awaited feature which eliminates the need for a physical voice gateway. In my blog I talk about using a similar SIP trunk connection for my software PBX and OCS but this is officially supported now. Apparently there won't be a method for authentication so the SIP trunks would typically be for organizations who have a dedicated MPLS link to a telco. This opens up new possibilities for branch survivability in that you could route traffic through an ISP in case a site VPN link went down.
  • A long awaited feature is the ability to define "hunt groups" and set basic call routing features for a collection of users. This is called a "Response Group" in OCS 2007 R2. This feature is similar in nature to an ACD in a legacy PBX. Basic features should include Music on Hold, ring-no-answer to voice mail (Exchange UM/etc), and call routing/escalation. I've heard they have included the same Microsoft Speech Server engine in Exchange UM into OCS R2.
  • If you're a Nokia, Motorola, or Blackberry user you may now be in luck when it comes to the Office Communicator Mobile client. Support for these phone manufacturers is coming with a new "single number reach" feature. More on this to come...

So that's it for now....there is even more to come but I can't say much other than this!



Moving the OCS database

I couldn't have written it any better:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And now for something completely different....

I've enjoyed listening to Metallica for many years now but stopped some time after high school (in 1992). I wasn't alone and most of my friends agreed the new self titled album was rubbish....well most of it was. The next decade was dissapointment over and over again until only just recently.

Fast forward to the fall of 2008 and the guys from Metallica along with Rick Rubin have put together a masterpiece. Death Magnetic is as close to the 'real' Metallica we've all grown to love.

Maybe it was the death of the hair metal bands of the late 80's and early 90's that caused them to re-think their format but someone smarter than me knows for sure. All I know today is that this latest album freakin' rocks.

So far my favorite track has to be All Nightmare Long.