Siemens and Microsoft have joined forces to develop enterprise instant messaging, video conferencing, and converged voice and data communications products.
The partnership is based on a variety of new and existing products including Microsoft Office Live Meeting and Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005, Microsoft's enterprise instant-messaging and presence-enabling platform.
Office Live Meeting is Microsoft’s web conferencing service which provides a way for staff to participate in interactive meetings and share documents via the internet connection.
The partnership will also support the latest addition to Microsoft Office codenamed "Istanbul", an integrated communications client that provides real-time collaboration.
Designed as the preferred client for Live Communications Server 2005, Istanbul will bring instant messaging, presence capabilities, PC-based voice and video, and telephony integration on a single desktop, Microsoft said.
The main Siemens technology involved in the agreement is HiPath OpenScape, a presence-enabled collaboration portal built on Live Communications Server 2005 and Istanbul. This allows users to discover where other users are located and the functionality available on the access device they are running.
OpenScape is designed to improve enterprise connectivity with both device and user presence controls across multiple media and devices, including instant messaging, e-mail, work phone, mobile phone or home phone.
"The alliance demonstrates forward thinking by each company about the future of converged voice and data leadership," said Brent Kelly, an analyst at Wainhouse Research.
Kelly believed linking Live Communications Server with voice and presence collaboration and existing workflow tools - would benefit users looking to move to the next generation voice over IP (VoIP).