Ever looked at the Microsoft's Unified Communications product line to understand the possibilities it can bring to your applications? The core is Office Communications Server 2007 which brings a rich platform for instant messaging, VOIP, and audio and video conferencing. On top of that platform is a set of rich developer APIs, including the Unified Communications Managed APIs.
Here are a few workloads that are worth highlighting:
- Presence/IM/Telephony – Integrate user presence and launch instant message conversations or phone calls directly within LOB applications. For example, Outlook integrates user presence and offers the ability to start IMs or phone calls.
- Contextual Conversations – When launching IM conversations, bring context to the conversation by linking back to data or screens in LOB applications. For example, Reply with Instant Message in Outlook provides a link to the email that is being discussed.
- Business Process Optimization – Utilize presence to detect approvers that are signed in and available to review and approve a transaction. For example, a bank teller may need authorization to cash a check over $1000. Instead of calling a manger over, the teller can ask the banking system to find an available manager to seek that approval. The system would find a signed in manager who is available and initiate an IM conversation seeking approval from the manager.
- Automated IVR – Have UC drive voice interaction over the phone with users or customers. Examples like phone banking, automated prescription refill, automated appointment reminders …
If you would like to learn more about developing on Unified Communications, check out the Office Communications Developer Portal.
And if you’re going to the PDC…
This year's Professional Developers Conference has a few sessions on Unified Communications. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Office Communications Server 2007 platform and what is coming in future releases. A couple of sessions to watch for:
- Office Communications Server 2007 R2: Enabling Unified Communications - Learn how UCMA 2.0 and Unified Communication Workflow Activities provide a powerful communications arsenal to build Presence, IM, and voice-enabled services that can be leveraged from any application.
- Office Communications Server and Exchange: Platform Futures - Learn how applications and services can add presence, IM, VOIP, and Video using the Unified Communications Platform. Also, see the roadmap for the future of Microsoft Unified Communications (UC) products and the new UC Platform SDKs.