‘Good Afternoon, I am calling from…’ ‘I don’t care, I’m very busy!’ Have you ever been in this situation? You are drowned in work, there is an on-going crisis, and the printer is on fire. Then you get a sales call (once you pick up the phone you are doomed). What if you could set your ‘phone’ to Do not disturb and have all calls forwarded to your voicemail? Sounds like a plan to me.
Web Applications likes to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new technologies. We provide consultancy services for many of the new products hitting the market, especially when it comes to your office communications.
Unified Communications is not a service limited to Microsoft; Cisco has its own range of UC solutions as well. Cisco also seems to have cornered the market on having their goods on display during TV shows (24, CSI, Heroes), well played. Cisco TelePresence which is often featured in these shows is not actually included in the Cisco UC package as TelePresence is more of an Enterprise-sized business solution (e.g. the White House [US Government], the New York Police) whilst Cisco’s UC 500 range is a solution directed towards smaller businesses.
The Cisco UC 500 series can accommodate 8 – 104 users and is an excellent choice for small businesses. The UC 500 series combines voice, data, security, video and wireless capabilities and integrates with desktop applications you already have like Email and CRM programs.
In contrast to the star studded advertising of Cisco we have Microsoft OCS 2007 R2. The name is not glamorous but the next iteration of Microsoft’s UC solution is called Lync which is a definite improvement (especially for the Zelda fans out there). Let’s start with OCS 2007 R2. OCS stands for Office Communications Server and can accommodate thousands of users through it’s expandable design. The OCS 2007 R2 capabilities include Voice, Audio, Video and Web Conferencing, Group Chat, IM and Presence, Mobility, Operations, and Platform Extension.
This is a flexible option as the solution can accommodate working with applications/products already installed, specifically messaging and telephony infrastructure.
Microsoft Lync Server is the latest Microsoft UC solution, launched in November 2010. Lync builds upon the UC platform and adds several new features and improvements to pre-existing features. Lync includes an enhanced experience with high-definition video conferencing and expanded contact cards which allow for pictures to identify contacts and additional information in contact cards. Would a personal statement from Bill Gates help? It just so happens there is one, watch it here. What’s a Microsoft Product without a personal statement from the Gates anyway? In his short interview Mr Gates says that the impetus for putting so much time, effort and money behind UC was that office telephones, PCs and mobile phones were not working together like they should. Microsoft wants to fix that. Many people will spend a significant portion of their life in an office, consumer technology is great but advances in enterprise technology will still play a large role in people’s lives.