Jeff Raikes, President of Microsoft's Business Division, is giving a presentation today on "The Power of Unified Communications". He is talking about the future of unified communications and Microsoft's future release of new products.
The next release of LCS has been officially announced with availability in Q2 2007. Talk about exciting! The next version of LCS will be called Office Communications Server 2007 or OCS 2007. It will include voice and video conferencing capabilities in addition to the existing capabilities of instant messaging and presence. In December, I attended a special invitation airlift that demonstrated some of the capabilities. Unfortunately, we were under NDA. Now, most of this information has been released to the public.
Point to Point video is already available in LCS 2005. The next version adds multi-party video conferencing and better audio experience. The video conference device, called Roundtable, will also be available next year. Roundtable provides 360 degree video in a meeting room. Roundtable switches the view based on where the audio is coming from. Using multiple cameras on the device, it switches views very quickly instead of panning the lens that we see in traditional devices.
One demonstration included viewing presence information of colleagues on a desk phone. Another demonstration showed a person making a phone call to an automated user provisioning application. The application asked her questions about the new employee. She responded over the phone and theoretically, a user account was created. A really cool feature demonstrated receiving a phone call on a smartphone with the call containing a subject line scrolling across the screen as the phone rang; thus giving you contextual information to help you decide whether to answer the call. I'll have more information after the presentation.