iPhone Client for OCS

December 2011 Update: Microsoft has released the server-side components and accompanying documentation for the new Lync mobility clients that will be available shortly. See Lync 2010 Mobility Service and Documentation Available for more information.

November 2011 Update: Microsoft has publicly announced and is still on track to release a Lync client for the iOS (iPhone/iPad), Android, and other smartphone’s by year end 2011.

November 2010 Update:  Microsoft announced at the Lync Launch event that a Lync client for the iPhone will be available within the next year.

Several readers of my blog have asked about the availability of an OCS client for the iPhone. I recently tried iDialog from Modality Systems (http://www.modalitysystems.com/idialog/) and wanted to share my experience. iDialog is an iPhone (and iTouch) application providing OCS contact list presence information and 2-party instant messaging (see here for the full list of features including the ability to search the corporate GAL).

In general, it worked as advertised, and I love getting OCS presence on my iPhone! In addition to seeing Presence and IM, it is useful to see current free-busy information for several of my contacts (e.g. “Free for the next 2 hours”) and having access to GAL details.

There were some minor nuisances such as initially having to manually expand the “All Contacts” group to see my contacts, and a periodic small delay when typing in an IM session.

Here are some other key notes:

  1. There is no ability to do VoIP audio calls (aka Communicator calls). I didn’t really miss this though because I am on a mobile device and can call through the cellular network. I could see some users wanting to take advantage of a WiFi connection and do a VoIP call though.
  2. It works for OCS 2007 and OCS 2007 R2 (corporate and hosted) via the OCS Communicator Web Access server, so an external facing OCS 2007 CWA must be available for it to work.
  3. Given that presence can be a chatty protocol, one of the first questions I had was “How much data does it use?”. Modality Systems told me that approximately 1.2 kpbs is used over a 5 minute interval of “normal” usage. This is not broken down into presence and IM, but it gives a ballpark approximation.
  4. It does not support running in the background, so having persistent chat’s while you do other things on your iPhone is an issue.

iDialog can be purchased via the Apple iTunes Application Store. I purchased mine for $9.99 Cdn (from the Canadian App Store). I have been told that an update is coming shortly which address some outstanding issues (including the IM typing delay).

All-in-all it was an iPhone application worth purchasing but I would like to try a couple of other options to get the run-in-the-background functionality.

You can read more about OCS mobility options in my “Mobile Options for OCS” blog post.

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8 comments to iPhone Client for OCS

  • Vasanth Ram

    try fuze messenger its free on ios 4

  • iMOC

    iMOC does not support running in the background, it just support fast switch. When press home button, make a call or answer a call, it will just suspend not running in the background.

  • iDialogPro is the same client; it is just volume licensed. So when you launch it, you need to enter a valid corporate volume license code.

    iDialog not running in the background is an issue; I wish they would support that.

    There are 2 others available that I want to try out:
    1) iOCS (MariCarmen Fernandez)
    2) iMOC Pro (iMOC is the corporate version)

    iMOC Pro looks like it has some nice features, but no mention of whether it supports running in the background.

  • Michael Swift

    iDialog does not run in the background. we’re looking for an ocs app that has the basic functionality that is present on the Blackberry application. So far I’ve been unable to find one.

    iDialog has 2 versions:
    iDialog – $9.99 – does not support push technology
    iDialogPro – Free – seems to require a subscription to a 3rd party service?

  • Curtis Johnstone

    The client requires an OCS Communication Web Access Server (CWA). After that is installed and configured, the user just needs to enter their SIP address and password. You’ll need the web address (URL) of the CWA server from your IT department.

  • Ian

    Hi,

    Did you require any server side setup to access this, or just your username (email address?) and password?

    What information may I need from my IT department in order to set it up?

    Thanks

    Ian

  • Curtis Johnstone

    Hi,
    No – iDialog does not reflect your availability in the same way. It has no ‘OCS-related’ call functionality, so any call you make is a regular iPhone call and iDialog just exists when the call is initiated (which apparently is Apple’s ‘rules’ and not iDialog’s).
    Curtis

  • alasdair

    Hi Curtis, there isn’t actually any VoIP capability in the MMOC client either. I’ve always considered this a shortcoming however MSPs are renowned for blocking activity that erodes their own revenue streams. When you initiate a call in WinMo MMOC the OCS server makes a call to your handset over the cellular network and a makes a second call leg to the called party.

    The advantage is that MMOC R2 now reflects that you are busy in a cellular call (whether MMOC or manually initiated) so other MOC users can see your presence.

    does the idialog client reflect your availability in the same way?

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