Category: OCS Online Trial

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 https://mail.uctrial.com 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:

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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:

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The link for more info pointed here:

http://office.microsoft.com/client/helppreview.aspx?AssetID=HA103556171033&ns=COMM2007R2&lcid=1033

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.

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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.

Cheers

Nathan

Hosted Pilot for Microsoft Unified Communications – Setup

Hi,

As promised here is more info about the new hosted pilot for UC from Microsoft.

On clicking the register link, some basic info is required, but all relatively simple stuff, like number of PCs, company name and phone number.

Having filled the form your account is created and then you are prompted to add other users. At this point I created one for my wife too!

Next you are redirected to the resources page – http://www.microsoft.com/uc/en/us/try-it.aspx

The relevant section is towards the bottom of the page and gives a link to a Silverlight based app which shows various mini videos outlining key features and functionality.

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This information is actually pretty good! It is a reasonably clear and easy guide to the key elements of Unified Communications according to Microsoft!

So having got this far, the next step is to get the Microsoft Office Communicator client installed on a few machines, for this purpose the confirmation/information mail points you to the evaluation version of MOC here – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=535637af-d92f-41b1-bf0c-54a526a88247&displaylang=en

Once MOC is installed update it with the latest MOC patch as shown in my blog post here:

http://nathanwinters.co.uk/2010/04/20/updating-microsoft-office-communicator-april-2010-patch/

Once MOC is fully installed and patched fire it up from the Start menu and login using the credentials provided:

One thing to note is that when I first opened MOC it was set to the default log in name and wouldn’t let me change it! So to do so I clicked the drop down menu in the top left of the sign in window next to the MOC icon and selected Connect / Change Sign-in Address

I then entered the correct address as shown:

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At this point, clicking OK takes you back to the sign in window:

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Now that the sign-in address is correct click Sign In

Enter the details as instructed using the sip/email address for the username and then click Sign In again.

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At this point you will be signed in and can start using OCS!

Have fun!!

In a while I will post again detailing some of the features which are, and more importantly are not available in the online pilot.

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