Saturday, April 19, 2008

Communicator 2007 Phone Edition update

There is a new update for the Communicator 2007 Phone Edition devices (aka Tanjay).

This update addresses a number of issues.  Here's a list of the fixes.

A call to a mobile number does not go through correctly for an Outlook contact who has an invalid instant messaging (IM) address.
If the IM address is not understood, callback uses the e-mail address to index the contact.

A call to an Outlook contact from the voice mail screen does not go through correctly.
Calls to the highlighted contact on the voice mail screen were made to the IM address. Calls now use the same method as the contact list. Calls to Outlook contacts from the voice mail screen are made to telephone numbers and not to IM addresses.

User credentials are lost if the network connection is lost after the user signs in to Microsoft Office Communicator.
The condition that causes this issue has been fixed.

The voice mail count may be incorrect for users who have long contact lists.
The sequence of retrieving the voice mail count from Exchange has been adjusted.

Calls to Outlook contacts do not go through correctly if the contact does not have a work telephone number listed.
The preference order for IM and e-mail has been changed to work telephone number, home number, and mobile number.

Office Communicator 2007 does not retrieve a mobile number for an Outlook contact that is also a global address list (GAL) contact.
The contact indexing mechanism on the telephone now processes x400/500 e-mail addresses.

Off-hook dialing fails when the location profile is unavailable.
The condition that causes this issue has been fixed.

Kerberos fails when an Active Directory server that has multiple network adapters installed has only one network adapter connected to the network
Make sure that all provisioned Active Directory network adapters are connected to the network.

Communicator Phone Edition stops responding when you try to end an unestablished call.
The condition that causes this issue has been fixed.

Communicator Phone Edition stops responding when it is in an on-hook state.
The condition that causes the unintended watchdog activation has been fixed.

The date of items that are in the call log view is one day earlier than the actual date of the call log item.
The leap year condition that causes this issue has been fixed.

The update also includes all the fixes from the previous update.

Download the package from Microsoft.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Interact08 Keynote

It's day 2 now at Interact08 and it's my first opportunity to post my thoughts on the keynote delivered yesterday by Gurdeep Sing Pall - Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Unified Communications Group.

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Gurdeep talked about the acceleration in technology adoption rates, pointing out that it took 100 years from the time that the telephone was invented to get 1 billion people using it, but it has taken just 10 years or less to get the same number of people using technologies like email, instant messaging and mobile phones.

He then talked about Microsoft's view of what UC is and emphasised that identity and presence are at the core of Unified Communications. 

Gurdeep also used Maslow's Hierarchy of needs - which is a model used to describe a theory of human motivation. 

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In brief Maslow's theory states that unless a persons most basic needs are being taken care of they are not going to be in a position to give any thought to creative or abstract concepts.

He drew a parallel to IT Managers in that if an organisation's most basic needs are not in a good state they are not going to be in a position for proactive re-architecture.  If the phones don't have dial  tone they are not going to be in a position to communications enable business processes.

There followed a great demo of the real value of UC. what was great about it was that it was not run from Office Communicator or from Outlook. It was a demo of a Point of Sale application that had been "Communications enabled" and it was run from a Tablet PC.

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The demo scenario was a customer asking a staff member if they had a particular product. From their tablet pc the employee can check stock in other nearby stores.  He could then see who in the other store was online and available to take a call.

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The call was then initiated from within the PoS app using the tablet's speakers & microphone. On the receiving end the incoming call had a subject indicated that the call was a stock enquiry for a particular product and the app automatically displayed info that was contextually relevant - their stock level for that product. This means that at the time the call is answered the person already knows what it is about and has the information required to help at hand. A very compelling demo.

OCS Support Coming to the Mac

I just attended a blogger's lunch at Interact08 that was hosted by Eileen Brown.  In attendance were a number of influencial bloggers who blog about Unified Communications and some very senior Microsoft people from the Exchange, OCS and Office Communicator teams.  There was some great conversation and I think both sides gained from the conversation.

They also broke some interesting news for us.  There is a new version of Mac Messenger client that will support Office Communications Server, in addition to the Windows Live Messenger service.

The Mac client will support some, but not all, of the features of the Office Communicator client today including:

  • Rich Presence
  • Instance Messaging
  • Peer-to-peer voice and video
  • GAL Search

In addition the Mac Messenger client will support dual login - so the same client can be used with both OCS and the hosted service.

This closes a gap that exists today that I know  some of my customers will be very pleased to hear about.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Great joke from the Exchange Team

LOL - happy April Fools Day from the Exchange Team Blog.  I cracked up when I saw this post - good to see that the Exchange team know how to have a laugh with us (even at themselves a bit).

In order to help our customers configure their servers better, we have been working on a tool that you will be able to run from a workstation and configure your Exchange 2007 servers easier. Some of those options are not easy to configure otherwise, and some of the problems that you might have seen in your environments could be explained by those being turned on accidentally. The scheduled release of the final version of this tool is February 29, 2009. Have a look and give us your feedback: are there any other options that you find hard to configure, or you find that it is easy to inadvertently turn them on?

- The Exchange Team

Passed the OCS Exam

I sat and passed the MCTS exam 070-638 Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, Configuring today.

I have to say I was pretty disappointed.  The question were not at all hard as they were more along the lines of "What component do you need to deploy to achieve this" rather than actually testing to see if you know how to configure particular features. - which is more what I would of expected given the title. 

I had one question on phone  number normalisation rules and one that involved the required ports, but I'd have to say there was a lot left untested.

Hopefully MS evolve this exam to include more real world skills in the near future, but as it stands today it is not a realistic indicator that one actually has the skills to configure OCS.  Of course I hasten to add that I do have said skills, which is why I know they were not tested ;)

Heading to Interact 2008 in San Diego

Next week I'll be packing my bags and heading off to San Diego for Interact 2008.

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Interact 2008 is:

...an exclusive event for leaders in unified communications held April 8-10 in San Diego, California. This inaugural technology event provides a special opportunity for you to develop deep technical knowledge about Microsoft’s unified communications products, build powerful new connections with leading professionals in the industry, and gain insights into the future of converging technologies.
This exclusive, invitation-only event is aimed at IT professionals who are evaluating and deploying unified communications in enterprise organizations. INTERACT2008 will provide one-on-one interaction with the product teams and leaders for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communicator, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1, Microsoft Round Table, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Exchange Hosted Services.

I was invited to attend by Microsoft and, as it happened I was planning to be in the US anyway the week after the next for the MVP Summit in Seattle.  I changed my flights so I could go via San Diego.  I am very much looking forward to the event and to catching up with some Exchange and OCS MVPs who will also be at the event.  Should be a great time.  (It might even give me a fair bit to blog about and revitalise this poor neglected little site a bit.)