Maybe theres hope for mainstream inter-enterprise collaboration afterall
I have been frustrated since the beginning of the Internet at the difficulty of collaborating inter enterprise. The current techniques don’t work for me. They frequently depend on too much inter-enterprise coorperation, expensive client software, too many firewall ports opened etc. Well it seems that a mainstream solution is finally on the horizon with Microsoft’s LCS 2005 product. Here are a few snipits to get you started:
The product, formerly code-named “Vienna,” is expected to be available in beta sometime in June or July. Microsoft is looking for customers to test the product in beta, leading to a general availability release of LCS 2005 by the fourth quarter.
and it allows inter-enterprise connections:
Chief among the new features in this version will be support for federation of IM and presence so that customers can extend the technology to their partners, suppliers and customers. This will allow users to see presence information across, not just within, enterprises, from other applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Excel and SharePoint Services.
fairly firewall friendly:
Users from outside the network will use the Windows Messenger client and tunnel into the network using Session Initiation Protocol over firewall port 5061, Microsoft officials said. Full encryption and authentication is supported, officials said.
and for a bit more money, will allow integration with mainstream internet services:
Microsoft on Thursday is announcing a deal with America Online Inc. and Yahoo Inc. to allow its enterprise IM server to interconnect with the companies’ IM services.
The capability will be available in Live Communications Server 2005 for an additional license fee, which has not yet been set, said Dennis Karlinsky, lead product manager for Live Communications Server. LCS 2005, which is in beta, is due out in the fourth quarter of this year.
and they have big ideas to extend beyond chat to voice and video as well as application sharing:
What’s the idea behind Microsoft’s new Live Communications Server client—”Istanbul”—at the recent Voice on the Net show? An IP-based, enterprise software end point that knows which of your friends and colleagues are available at any given time, and on which devices. This upgrade of the Windows Messenger instant messaging client also improves its voice and video delivery and offers APIs to vendors that want to add their endpoints, conferencing bridges, media servers and application servers.
and Microsoft seem to be focussing on what they do best:
By planting its IM and presence platform in the middle of an enterprise communications network and offering APIs to others’ legacy or IP PBXes, gateways and media servers, as well as its own VOIP clients in “Istanbul,” I can see Microsoft continuing in this tradition. In doing so, it will be offering its partners a huge user base in the form of users of its dominant desktop.
Several companies have already jumped on this invitation: At VON, Radvision announced that it would integrate its multipoint audio/video conference unit and gatekeeper with LCS. Broadsoft announced its intention to integrate its advanced call-feature server and GUI. Jasomi networks its PeerPoint session border controller for endpoint-to-endpoint control over encryption, call logging, and firewall transversal.
and finally good news for enterprise agreement and software assurance holders:
LCS 2005 will be covered by Microsoft’s Software Assurance program, so that existing LCS 2003 customers who signed up for Software Assurance (which was used to speed migrations from Exchange 2000 IM to LCS 2003) or customers on LCS 2003 or Exchange 2003 Enterprise Agreements will have rights to the 2005 release.
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