The launch of Microsoft’s Office Communications Server (OCS) today has been viewed by some as the death knoll for the telco industry, as Microsoft bids to capture your telephone in the way it has captured your desktop.
Microsoft OCS – the embedding of unified communications tools such as IM, presence conferencing and voice into one platform – is moving directly into territory previously thought of as the domain of telco companies, and Microsoft’s long-term aims are surely to make their version of the telephone as inseparable from the desktop as Microsoft Internet Explorer is from your PC.
But Matthew Finnie, CTO at Interoute feels that there will always be a prominent role for the network provider within unified communications:
“Microsoft itself has admitted that it knows nothing about the infrastructure of telecoms and the mechanics of making a call, so this is hardly a compelling starting point for a company with designs on the telco space.
“In fact, OCS is just a decent unified comms software package, nothing more and nothing less. Without a sophisticated network provider, skilled in the engineering of International VoIP calls, a telephony system will be at best an internal tool and at worst a shambles. A company like Interoute makes Microsoft OCS work, providing the telephony without which the software is extremely limited.”
“21st century business communication is not about the software interface, it’s about the intelligence and sophistication of the network that carries the content, and crucially, it’s about having an extensive network with an integrated Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) platform to deliver clarity and speed.”
Earlier this year Interoute launched its own integrated communications platform, Interoute One. This service enables corporate customers to manage voice calls as easily and cost effectively as email, and without the need for complex integration or upgrades to their existing telephony infrastructure or even acknowledging it exists. Interoute enables companies using OCS to form the world’s biggest business community, sharing secure Instant Messaging (IM), presence and voice and video calls across corporate networks.
Matthew Finnie concludes: “Unified communications is going to have as big an impact on business communications now, as email did in the 90s. With a European-wide, high capacity network we are in pole position to be the provider of choice for large enterprises seeking to benefit from unified communications.”