Hosted Pilot for Microsoft Unified Communications – Features

As promised here is a post looking in a little more depth at the features of the Hosted UC Pilot from Microsoft.

Firstly I will look at some of my favourite features and then will take a look at what is not available.

The first thing that strikes you as you log into Outlook Web App, is that you now have a fully fledged Exchange 2010 mailbox.

This is accessed using the URL.

One of the nicest things here is that you can start sending IMs immediately by using the integrated IM functionality. Obviously this is not as feature rich as Office Communicator or even Communicator Web Access but it gets you started. Another new addition is the ability to see presence within OWA as can be seen in the email and top right of the screenshot below:


In my previous post on this subject I showed the process of logging into Office Communicator. Having done so I started poking around, and the first thing I tried was adding a federated user.

This gave me the following error:


The link for more info pointed here:

I then tried to add a friend at Microsoft – Brett Johnson

Surprisingly this worked as can be seen below, the globe icon shows up next to Brett which means that Federation is working for users at Microsoft but not external domains.


I then tried a bunch of other UC functionality such as desktop sharing, and peer to peer voice calls. Everything worked well! Sadly, one thing that is not available is Enterprise Voice which means that you can’t go making phone calls on the system.

One major thing that is really important to understand is that this is a multi tenant system on which you can see all the other accounts that people have created! There is NO segregation at all!!

So all in all this is a great service for anyone wanting to test out the full range of Microsoft UC functionality minus of course Enterprise Voice.



Hosted Pilot for Microsoft Unified Communications

Whilst at Dimension Data there has long been a point of discussion about how we could offer a hosted pilot for the various Microsoft UC end user features. We were hoping to setup a multi tenant OCS and Exchange 2010 system by doing some segmentation work on the Address Book system and by using FaceTime IMAuditor to ensure that only people on the same trial from the same company could communicate.

However, it would now appear that Microsoft have gone and done it for us and the rest of the industry.

Here is the information from Microsoft

You and your colleagues are invited to experience first-hand how Microsoft’s Unified Communications solution can help you harness the power of software to streamline communications between people anytime, anywhere, free for 60-days.
Register for the Unified Communications Virtual Experience today at
The Virtual Experience allows you to test drive the end user capabilities delivered by Exchange Server 2010 and Office Communications Server 2007 R2 for 60-days, you will discover how you can:

Connect with the right person, right now from within familiar, easy-to-use Microsoft Office applications—with one click

Bring people together quickly and easily—anytime, anywhere

Break down communication silos—whether people are down the hall, across continents, or constantly on the road

So my plan is to try and trial this at home and then let you know all about the process.

Stay tuned for more!