Microsoft said it plans to bring unified messaging to its Windows NT, Windows 2000, Exchange Server and CE platforms in conjunction with Lucent Technologies, Nortel Networks and Active Voice.
The announcement Tuesday highlighted the unified messaging features of the next release of Exchange Server, which includes a high performance Web Store and support for the Voice Profile for Internet Messaging (VPIM) standard.
Unified messaging is a component of the four knowledge worker initiatives Microsoft recently announced. The four initiatives include the digital dashboard, the Web Store, mobile and wireless access and intelligent interfaces.
Eric Lockard, general manager of the Exchange product group at Microsoft, pointed out that the next release of Exchange Server, codenamed Platinum, will include the Web Store, which extends Exchange Server's support for voice and data messaging and adds integration of Web content, documents and applications.
"The Super Long Value (SLV) database format will provide streaming of large voice data files directly in and out of the Web store," Lockard said. "And the support for the VPIM standard will provide interoperability between separate voicemail systems."
Platinum will have built-in support for wireless access to Exchange data.
Lockard also said Microsoft will partner with key ISVs and third parties to enable access across a wide variety of devices including PCs and telephones.
"This is a key part of Microsoft's vision to deliver anytime, anywhere access to a single location," he said.
Nortel Networks general manager of messaging, John Myers, said Nortel will extend Callpilot's multimedia messaging capabilities to support the Microsoft architecture for unified messaging, based on the single store directory and point of administration of Exchange Server.
Vincent Deschamps, general manager for Lucent's unified messaging, added that, "Lucent chose to develop Unified Messenger on Microsoft Exchange Server because it is an optimal platform for enabling unified messaging solutions."
Deschamps added that a recent study by the Radicati Group claimed Exchange based unified messaging lowers the total cost of ownership while increasing productivity.
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