Microsoft has sealed a global alliance with Siemens Communications Group to develop integrated video, web conferencing and collaboration offerings for enterprises.
The deal, which follows on from a relationship the companies have built over the last two years, will see the partners integrate Siemens hardware with Microsoft software including Office Live Communications Server 2005, Office Live Meeting and the newly deleloped Microsoft Office integrated communications client code-named Istanbul.
The alliance has enabled the production of Siemens HiPath OpenScape collaboration portal built on Live Communications Server 2005 and Istanbul, which combines instant messaging, extensible presence, PC-based voice and video, and telephony integration into a single package.
The companies also confirmed that plans are underway for an enterprise system that will allow users of Microsoft's Istanbul to perform tasks such as click-to-call, control functions of Siemens and other vendors' PBX or IP-PBX connected desktop phones, and receive notification of calls coming to their desktop phones. As with instant messaging, presence technology will be built into the offering.
"The alliance of Siemens and Microsoft demonstrates forward thinking on behalf of each company about the future of converged voice and data leadership," said Dr Brent Kelly, a senior partner at Boston-based Wainhouse Research.
"While Live Communications Server allows voice and presence collaboration to be integrated with existing workflow tools - all interfacing with legacy switches - this is a smart move that can help a very broad customer base transition smoothly to next generation Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions."
"Siemens and Microsoft have agreed on an aligned roadmap of presence-based, real-time communication objectives to help erase the communication gaps that remain between the personal computer and the office telephone," added Bernd Kuhlin, president of Enterprise Networks Systems at Siemens Communications.
Anoop Gupta, corporate vice president for Real-Time Collaboration at Microsoft said that the two partners were committed to developing products based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) standards.
The PC and IP-PBX/PBX phone interface - the Siemens HiPath OpenScape Telephony Control Link (TCL) ? is being designed to integrate with the Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 and the Istanbul integrated communications client, and is scheduled to be available during the first half of 2005.
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