Thursday, September 18, 2008

Unified Communications will Transcend the Language Barrier

There is an interesting new bot available for Windows Live Messenger that provides translation between English and several other languages.

Simply add "mtbot@hotmail.com" to you Windows Live Messenger contacts, then send a message to Tbot.

Tbot will ask you what language you want to translate from and to and then respond with translations when you type.

image Now, you can always invite another person to the conversation, who writes in the language you are translating to and then chat back and forth.

This is very cool, even though it is still a bit clunky.  However, I can see a time in the not too distant future where the translation service will be server side in the corporate instant messaging products.  Imagine a US based employee chatting with an employee in Spain, with both parties typing in their own language.  Or an English speaker collaborating with a business partner in China via instant messaging with real time translation.  It does not seem that far fetched, does it?

Now ask yourself - what about speech?  Today we can turn speech into text with a fair degree of accuracy.  We can also translate text from one language to another and we can synthesise text back into speech.  How far away are we from two people having a real time spoken conversation in which each participant speaks their own language and hears a translated version of the other party?

I believe it will happen one day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quick Tip: Testing DNS SRV Records with NSLookup

Office Communicator relies on Service Location (SRV) records in DNS for auto-configuration.  Frequently you can't create the external DNS record yourself so you need to ask your ISP or DNS provider to do it for you.

So if the service provider is swearing black and blue that the records have been created correctly but your external client is not finding the server checking your DNS configuration is a great place to start.

There is a tool in the OCS Resource Kit called SRVLookup that will fetch and parse the SRV records for a given domain for your review.

However if you are out and about and don't have the resource kit handy there is a quick and dirty way to check SRV records using NSLookup.exe in interactive mode from the command line.  The screenshot below shows the sequence of commands needed to test for the _sip._tcp SRV record for the mycompany.com domain.  Click for a bigger view....

nslookup

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sydney UC Kicks off tomorrow

Johann has posted up on the Sydney UC blog the details for the kick off meeting for the Sydney UC Group.

The first Sydney UC meeting will be held at the Harbourside Pie Cafe at 2:15pm on Thursday the 4th of September.

Come along and have a gourmet pie and a cold beverage, and meet your peers.  This meeting is an informal meet & greet so we can catch-up and get to know each other over lunch.

Check out the full post for more details.  See you there.

venuemap