Tomorrow, Tuesday December 4, marks the last stop of the Unified Communications Launch Tour. If you have not yet registered to attend the event, although registration has closed we can still take a few more folks so come down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre - South Building and learn about how to enable your organization to enhance productivity and enrich the experience of communicating (and save some money too) by taking advantage of presence, software-based VoIP, on-premise and hosted web-conferencing and more.
During the four other stops of the tour we had a number of questions about the technology, how it works, and how to best implement it. I thought I'd share a few of the more common questions and their answers here:
Q: Where can I find additional technical resources on the Unified Communications technologies to help me learn more quickly?
A: Your best bet is to start with the Technical Resources page on the Unified Communications web site. There you will find webcasts, virtual labs, whitepapers, and some free e-learning to get you started. We will also have additional in-person events in the March/April timeframe in the cities where the Unified Communications Launch events took place.
A: You can install and configure OCS in a Small Business Server 2003 domain and it will provide all of the functionality of on-presence conferencing, software-based VoIP, and so on. Because SBS 2003 does not include Exchange Server 2007, not all of the unified communications elements, such as an integrated inbox for voicemail and email, will be available. When the next release of Small Business Server (codenamed Cougar) ships in 2008, because it will include Exchange Server 2007, you will have the full unified communications experience but will still need to install OCS on a separate server.
Q: Is running any of the Unified Communications servers (Exchange Server 2007, Office Communications Server 2007) in a virtualized environment supported?
A: We do not currently support running either Exchange Server 2007 or OCS 2007 using any virtualization technologies.
Q: What clients and browsers are supported by the web conferencing (LiveMeeting) component of OCS?
A: Web conferencing supports both a web-based and Windows-based installable client. The Windows web conferencing client software can be installed on Windows 2000 Professional with SP4, Windows XP SP1 or later, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2003. The web-based conferencing client support IE 6 SP1 or later, Firefox 1.7 or 2.0, and Safari 1.7 or 2.0. The specific versions of Firefox and Safari supported depend on the Java runtimes and operating systems running. For full details on all supported clients, go to the OCS clients system requirements page.
Q: Which instant messaging clients are supported/available for OCS?
A: OCS instant messaging supports the Office Communicator 2007 client, which runs on a Windows platform, has a web-based version (Communicator Web Access), as well as a mobile version that runs on Windows Mobile 5 or 6 devices (Communicator Mobile). For those of you with an existing RIM/Blackberry infrastructure, there is talk of RIM releasing an updated client that will work with OCS 2007 in the near future.
Q: With the Communicator Phone Edition device, can I simply plug it into any high-speed Internet connection and have my phone ring where I am?
A: The Communicator Phone Edition devices allow you to take your organization's phone with you. Because it connects to the VoIP elements of Office Communications Server 2007, it can be used anywhere you have a high-speed Internet connection and connectivity to the OCS infrastructure in your organization. In fact, at the Unified Communications Launch events, our entire infrastructure is operating across a public Internet connection using DSL to connect back to our OCS infrastructure at Microsoft, so attending the Launch event is a great way to see this in action. Bottom line - the phone rings where you are located, and it even uses Power over Ethernet (PoE) if it is available.
I know you probably have more questions so come to the Launch event tomorrow and get them answered. See you there!!