Polycom has announced the third phase of its strategic alliance with Microsoft Corporation involving tighter integration of its MGC conferencing bridge with Microsoft Office Communicator 2005. With the Polycom MGC, Communicator users have conference control and are able to invite attendees through Microsoft Outlook on any device to participate in a rich media conference, escalate multiple instant message participants on the fly to a multipoint video conference, and interactively initiate and control conference functions such as mute and disconnect.
Microsoft Office Communicator is an integrated communications client providing users with a single place to create and manage real-time communications. Communicator provides users with a single user experience for presence, Instant Messaging, PC to PC voice and video, application sharing, data collaboration, and integration with other Microsoft applications.
The new interactive functionality comes only a month after Polycom’s delivery of embedded support for Microsoft Office Communicator and Live Communications Server 2005, enabling users to add Polycom desktop and group video systems as “contacts” in Communicator and to conduct multipoint calls connecting any type of endpoint over any network for a unified conferencing experience. In last month’s second stage of integration, Communicator users were able to utilise existing On-Demand conferences already established on the MGC bridge by the IT department.
This announcement simplifies the operation and passes control of conferences back to the meeting manager who, through a single mouse click, can invite multiple users or schedule a future conference using Microsoft Outlook. Outlook then schedules users and populates the meeting across participants’ calendars. The latest integration also takes advantage of Communicator’s support of multi-party instant messaging chat sessions to escalate up to 32 participants in an IM chat to a video call through the single click of the Conference button. Invitees are asked not only if they wish to join a conference; but also, which device they want to use. The MGC bridge then sends the conference number to the chosen device.
“Working together, Polycom and Microsoft are providing our customers a fully unified, enterprise-grade, real-time collaboration solution linking communications devices with desktop applications and making it easier than ever to instantly see, hear and talk with colleagues around the world,” said Marc Sanders, senior product manager, Microsoft Real Time Collaboration Group.
Polycom MGC 7.5 software upgrades are available November 14, 2005 through Certified Polycom channels.