At TechEd North America 2010, New Orleans, Microsoft showed off a new build of Office Communicator “14”, the enterprise-equivalent of Windows Live Messenger. Full feature set being shown for the first time. Communicator is a “major new Office application, broadly adopted by customers.” Basically enterprise IM. “Activity Feed” sort of like “What’s New” feed in Windows Live. Complete “soft phone.” (VOIP) 74,000 users at Microsoft headquarters, not using PBX anymore. New features. Search for people in organization by name, but also by “skill.” Fly-out contact card, also available throughout Office 2010. Full-screen video chat in 720p HD. Real time Office document sharing inline inside Communicator. Whiteboarding, etc.
Although this is a tool built with internal communication within company in mind, it’s interesting to note the new focus on VOIP and video which appears to set this application on-par with Skype in the context of richer communication.