Microsoft has licensed its RT Audio Codec for IP (Internet Protocol) voice calls to major hardware vendors including Intel, Texas Instruments, and Polycom, the company is set to announce Tuesday at the VoiceCon conference. It joins several vendors using the event as a showcase for IP telephony advancements.
Also during the show in San Francisco, Microsoft will announce an Oct. 16 launch event for Office Communications Server 2007, its next enterprise telephony and collaboration platform. OCS 2007 has already been released to manufacturers. The official launch event will take place in San Francisco, said Clint Patterson, a Microsoft director of product management.
Microsoft is moving in on the IP telephony market from the software side while Cisco Systems approaches from the data network end. The CEOs of both companies said Monday morning that the market is quickly shifting to so-called unified communications and they will make sure their products work together even as they continue competing in some areas.
Research backs up that sense of rapid change. Not including phones, 39 percent of revenue in the worldwide enterprise telephony market went to IP instead of traditional circuit-switched infrastructure in the second quarter, according to Dell'Oro Group analyst Alan Weckel. That's up from 31 percent in last year's second quarter.
Small and medium-sized businesses, latecomers to IP telephony, are now joining in, he added. Looking for big-company features such as the ability to have employees make calls from anywhere in the world using a software phone on a PC, these smaller players installed one IP line for every three traditional connections in the second quarter, Weckel said. A year earlier, only 19 percent of the lines they installed were IP.
IP telephony makes voice calls, video and conferences into a series of data packets so only one network is needed and those functions can be integrated with other applications.
Microsoft developed RT Audio Codec and uses it in Office Communications Server, the PC-to-PC calling feature in Windows Live Messenger, and the voice-calling features in the XBox Live online gaming platform, Patterson said. The software compresses digital speech samples into packets and then decompresses them. Now third parties are licensing the codec and building it into products such as chips and phones. Other licensees include AudioCodes, Dialogic, and LG-Nortel, a communications joint venture of LG Electronics and Nortel Networks.
RT Audio Codec has security built into it that is missing in other codecs, and it can adapt to poor network connections so users can communicate in more places, Microsoft's Patterson said.
Also at VoiceCon, Microsoft will unveil the Office Communications Server 2007 Quality of Experience Monitoring Server, software that watches voice and video quality. It can be used with other Microsoft performance monitoring software such as Microsoft System Center, so administrators can set up alerts for particular problems, Patterson said.