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Six problems with Office Communications Server 2007

Analysis: our doubts about Microsoft OCS 2007

As the years of hype around Office Communications Server 2007 show, when Microsoft launches a product, everyone wants to hear about it. But we have our doubts about OCS 2007. Here are six examples:

5) Well, I AM interested in unified communications. But Office Communications Server 2007 seems to lack features we need.

That's very well possible. Perhaps the most well publicised is Office Communications Server 2007's lack of support for E911 (which gives out a caller's physical location during an emergency call - 911 in the US).

VOoIP systems, because of the multiple, complicated ways that data traffic can be routed, are not inherently able to do this as regular landlines do.

Although consumer VoIP services such as Vonage are required to offer E911, enterprise VoIP software is still largely exempt, although some IP PBX makers are offering it.

Microsoft is working on E911 and is deciding whether to introduce it in a Service Pack to Office Communications Server 2007 or wait until the next release, Akers said.

To get around the lack of E911, Lionbridge plans to maintain at least one non-VoIP line in each office for emergency calls as it phases out its PBXes, Kaldestad said.

Office Communications Server 2007 also lacks a fixed-mobile convergence feature that allows users of Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phones to make free VoIP calls.

NEC plans to roll out this feature in its UniVerge mobile client by the end of the year, Lopez said.

"Do I really want to carry my laptop around to make a phone call?" he asked.

Office Communications Server 2007 also integrates well only with BlackBerries and Windows Mobile smartphones. Smartphones running the Symbian operating system make up 75 percent of the market, according to research firm Canalys. But Akers said Microsoft has no plans to extend presence support to them.

PC Advisor's Mobile Advisor website is the online resource for all your mobile-computing and communications needs.

Another feature that Office Communications Server 2007 lacks, according to Kaldestad, is a virtual receptionist that can answer and direct incoming calls.

Office Communications Server 2007 also doesn't remove the need to maintain conventional fax lines, as Kaldestad found that employees still strongly prefer to fax hard copies of documents requiring signatures, for example.

"It's not a PBX replacement yet," he said.

  1. Should I entrust my telephone system to a software vendor?
  2. Can I really expect some Microsoft software running on a Windows box to be as reliable as a PBX?
  3. If I'm not getting rid of my PBXes for a while, why go to Office Communications Server 2007 at all?
  4. Do I even really need unified communications?
  5. Well, I AM interested in unified communications. But Office Communications Server 2007 seems to lack features we need
  6. Why go to OCS if we're not a Microsoft shop?

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