Microsoft has released a private beta of a new enterprise voice communications server to 2,500 IT professionals.
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 is designed to allow businesses to integrate voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology into their existing telephony infrastructure.
The voice server will also allow users to instantly launch a phone call from Office 2007 applications, by clicking on a colleague’s name to determine his or her availability and initiate a person-to-person or multi-party call.
Microsoft said the new server included native support for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and would be interoperable with products from other suppliers, including Nortel Networks, Cisco Systems, Mitel Networks, NEC Philips Unified Solutions and Siemens Communications.
This would allow businesses to support VoIP using their existing desktop phones, data networks and time division multiplexing (TDM) or internet protocol (IP) private branch exchanges, the software giant said.
The private beta will test a set of functions including placing and receiving voice calls, advanced call routing, streamlined integration with the new unified messaging capabilities in Exchange Server 2007, multiparty conferencing, call holding, forwarding and transferring, and compliance capabilities.
The latest Computer Weekly CIO Index survey, published earlier this month, found that uptake of VoIP services is increasing. The survey showed that 23% of enterprises now have fully deployed VoIP, up from 15% in June and 10% in April.
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