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Microsoft announces Communications Server "14" for UC and telephony

At VoiceCon Orlando, Microsoft unveiled Communications Server "14." Communications Server "14" is a holistic telephony solution and extensible, interoperable unified communications platform.

Leigha Cardwell, Site Editor

At VoiceCon Orlando 2010, Microsoft unveiled plans for the latest version of its unified communications software, code-named Communications Server "14." Microsoft's Communications Server "14" offers a holistic enterprise telephony solution on an interoperable and extensible platform.

The average worker spends only about 40% of the workday at his desk. When Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Microsoft's communications group, opened his VoiceCon Orlando 2010 keynote with this statistic, my knee-jerk response was ... Really? Really? In the time it took for him to complete the second half of his sentence -- the part where he spelled out that 60% of the time we're working elsewhere -- it clicked. Really!

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With a gentle but decisive shove, Singh Pall pushed an entirely pedestrian desk layered with what may have been a laptop, desk phone, etc., (to the best of my recollection) across and off the stage. A desk so commonplace, it was all but invisible -- and certainly went unnoticed; hence my poor recall of it -- up until the moment the sound and movement of the desk rolling offstage registered with my senses. A desk that within mere seconds morphed from a static, utterly familiar, methodical component of our day-to-day workflow to a dust-covered relic -- not literally, mind you. Maybe I'm slightly enervated from attending such thought-provoking, back-to-back VoiceCon sessions, but to me the symbolism was as potent as a literal, visceral display.

Is Microsoft's unified communications innovation enough?
Microsoft has earned notoriety for touting its vision(s) rather than delivering technology that can be used today. In defense, I offer a well-known quote from Albert Einstein: "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,

Microsoft's vision for next-generation UC solutions is Office Communications Server "14," its updated version of the Microsoft Office Communications Server product.
while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."

Regardless of one's appraisal of Microsoft, the company is and has always been a preeminent innovator. As Singh Pall pointed out, Microsoft is a software-based company, and this position affords the company creative license. Unencumbered by the demands and constraints of manufacturing hardware or PBXs, for example, Microsoft has the autonomy to be inventive with unified communications solutions without regard to preserving existing hardware.

Codename: Communications Server "14"
It appears that Microsoft has again synthesized what the company knows and understands with imagination to embrace global communications and collaboration. Microsoft's vision for next-generation unified communications solutions is its updated or reinvented version of the Microsoft Office Communications Server product, currently dubbed Office Communications Server "14."

Continued: Look inside the new features of Microsoft's Communications Server "14"

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