** Sept 13, 2010 Update **: Microsoft has announced that OCS is being rebranded as Microsoft Lync, and a public Release Candidate is now available. Read all about it here: OCS Renamed to “Microsoft Lync” & Public Release Candidate Available.
In the spirit of a new year, here is a glimpse of what to expect from OCS in 2010.
The next release of Office Communications Server and Communicator together with Exchange 2010 is currently referred to as UC “Wave 14″ (code-name). The latest publicly available release date is in “late 2010”.
March 22, 2010 Update: more details were released at VoiceCon on March 22nd, 2010 – the recap of what was announced is here.
Few details exist on new stuff coming on the server-side, but here is a recap of what is publicly known:
1) A new version of Office Communications Server (likely to be called Microsoft Communications Server 2010). Here are the highlights:
- A full software powered communications stack, including capabilities intended to make a PBX unnecessary.
- Enhancements to the resiliency and reliability capabilities of OCS 2007 R2.
- More branch office survivability options.
- There will likely be re-routing capabilities depending on the network or PSTN outage.
- Remote Call Control (RCC) will still be supported in Wave 14, though the future beyond that is uncertain and Microsoft generally recommends other integration options.
- Location Awareness:
- The ability to provide location information via a new server role: the Integrated Location Information Server (ILS).
- Location information can be sent on the SIP channel and used in the E.911 scenario.
- Location information will be integrated into the next release (W14) version of Communicator.
- Call Admission Control:
- The ability to use bandwidth information and policies to allow or disallow if a video call can be initiated.
2) A new version Office Communicator (code-named “14” right-now).
- Will likely be called Office Communicator 2010.
- Many new features nicely summarized in this Microsoft Showcase video: What’s New in Microsoft Communicator “14″.
- The Communicator Tabs extensions will likely be deprecated.
- SharePoint Integration:
- New Communicator “skill search” functionality built into the next release of Communicator that searches SharePoint profiles to find people with the skills you are looking for.
- Initiate audio and video communication directly from SharePoint search results.
- Phonetic based search in Communicator to locate associated SharePoint information.
- Voicemail Features:
- Visual voicemail capabilities directly integrated into Communicator 14.
- Multi-language translation capabilities (with Exchange 2010 voicemail integration).
- Ability to jump to a specific point in voicemail.
- Test Calls: the abilility to place a test call directly from the Communicator client will likely be added.
- Music On Hold (MoH): this functionality will likely move to the client.
3) New OCS Server and Client Development SDK’s:
- A set of fully supported (not just samples) Communicator controls in WPF and Silverlight.
- UCMA 3.0 will be a server-side API with workflow activities.
- Much more information is available in Chris Mayo’s PDC session (see below).
- An Early Adopter Program is available if you are interested in getting an early look at the SDKs (see the UC 14 Metro link below).
References and More Information
PDC 2009 Sessions:
- Integrating and Extending the Microsoft Office Communicator Experience with Windows Presentation Foundation and Microsoft Silverlight
- Microsoft Unified Communications: Developer Platform Futures
PBX killer, Voice CAL coming to OCS (Network World’s early summary of the next version of OCS)
Microsoft drops new hints on next Communications Server Release (ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley does a write-up)