Microsoft demos unified communications

Written by Brett Thomas

June 28, 2006 | 11:17

Tags: #communications #conferencing #email #im #live #office-2007 #pda #skype #strategy #unified #video #windows

Companies: #microsoft

MS wants you to work smarter with Office 2007 and Vista, and the Redmond boys have released the next MS branded, Borg-reminiscent piece of technology: Unified Communications.

For those of you scratching your heads as to what I'm talking about, let me explain the problem Microsoft sees. When you go home, you load up an e-mail client. You might then open up a calendar program (perhaps GoogleCal?). Then, you have to open up your IM client of choice, and sync up your PDA. If you have access to work e-mail at home, you might also load that up, and let's not forget Skype... and so on, and so forth.

When all is said and done, the average person has 4-5 programmes open, all to facilitate basic communication, but each consuming its own resources, saving its own files, and many not talking to one another.

Enter Microsoft's Unified Communications Strategy, which is set to debut along with Office 2007. The key elements of the product plan revolve around video conferencing, telephony, IM, and e-mail/scheduling, all in an open standard (Microsoft said open standard, seriously!) for other producers to add to.

The goal is to make the data and services accessible for you anywhere, by saving it to one directory that could possibly move with you via PDA (details on this are cloudy, at best, aside from the "each user has one directory"). This would eliminate the need for multiple user files on multiple computers, instead synching your data up with you.

Though this technology would have many benefits, it could potentially have many pitfalls, as it seems your one directory is the source of all your identity and info. However, in the digital age, one has to think that people simply need to learn to take better care of their data as a whole, and the convenience of such information at your fingertips (especially fully-functional on PDAs) is hard to ignore. Oh, and props to MS for not naming it "Live" anything.

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