Thursday, March 23, 2006

Notes from Office Developer Conference 2006 Part 1

Today was the last day of the Office Developers Conference 2006 which covered mainly the next version of Office - Office 2007. I will comment on what I learned from sessions in a future post but want to comment on an Ask the Expert's lunch session with Gurdeep Singh Pall. Gurdeep is the Corporate VP of the new Unified Communications Group. With the conference not under NDA, I can share what Gurdeep had to say.

Gurdeep talked about Real-time collaboration and focused on Communicator and LCS. He even talked about the next version of Communicator and LCS. He gave us a couple statistical and personal tidbits I found interesting including:

  • 7 out of 10 phone calls at work go to voicemail.
  • The LCS growth trajectory is higher than Exchange.
  • Microsoft's RTC investment is double that of the next version of Exchange
  • Sales teams don't know how to sell the value of telephony because they are never in the office having that need.
  • Calling people on a cell phone is an intrusive and many times inappropriate action. For example a sales person could be in an important meeting with a customer and gets interrupted by a phone call. Better presence functionality will alleviate that issue.
Gurdeep discussed how a user will be able to start an IM thread from an email using embedded presence. This can be done in Office 2003. In the new version, when you use the "send to email" function of the next Communicator, metadata will be added to the IM history thread email that will tie it back to the email thread. Fantastic.

He spent alot of time on AJAX that will allow developers to add the presence gumdrop to .Net applications and web applications without requiring office or communicator to be installed locally. The future version of LCS will provide each LCS user their own "presence document". This is an XML file where the user can ACL their presence effectively allowing the user to show different levels of presence to different contacts. There were 2 other sessions on RTC and Office 2007. I hope to share that information in a future posting.