Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Communications Server “14” – TechEd Day 1

Since VoiceCon Orlando 2010, news about the Wave 14 release of Communications Server has been trickling out. At TechEd New Orleans this changed with a number of sessions focused around the Communications Server “14” release.

This also coincided with information being released on the Microsoft Product Pages.

This post will detail the information discussed in the Day 1 sessions, at a high level. My aim is to build on this as more information becomes available.

No dates were given for CS14, only that it would be this Calendar Year, also it is not clear if all the functionality mentioned would be available at RTM or if some would come at a later date.


  • Photos Displayed within Communicator, can be from Active Directory, SharePoint or User Specified URL. Can be restricted by Administrator. Along with the user being able to choose not to show their picture and hide pictures in their contact list.
  • Photos downloaded from AD using a new Web Service Address Book Service Web Query (ABS-WQ) and Cached locally.
  • ABS-WQ used for Distribution List Information and Hierarchy along with an alternative to downloading the Address Book everyday.
  • Option to use Address Book (same as R2) or Web Service, set on per User or Pool Level.
  • Exchange Web Services used over MAPI, functionality such as Conversation History will be via EWS.
  • New Contact Group – Frequent Contacts. Dynamically managed includes 10 most frequent contacts along with Team members and Pinned contacts.
  • New Presence State “Off Work”.
  • Time zone and Location published in Contact Card, Location Publishing can be disabled.
  • Enhanced Privacy, enabled at Pool Level. Only show presence to people on the users contact list. Users can opt out and display presence to all.
  • Ability to place a test call within Communicator.
  • In Call feedback of call Quality.


  • Will use ABS-WQ for searches.


  • Enabled via Inband Provisioning.
  • Client connected directly to SharePoint.
  • SharePoint 2007 or later supported.
  • Provides Expert Search, both specified on a user’s MySite but also inferred based on documents users post etc (Unclear if this is SharePoint 2010 only).
  • Phonetic Search for Users and Skills when using SharePoint (Unclear if this is SharePoint 2010 only).


  • Support for redundancy across Datacenters.


  • LiveMeeting client is no more, the functionality is built in to Communicator “14”.
  • Attendee Console to provide full fidelity access to conferences by external participants.
  • There will be a Silverlight client to provide access to conferences where participants can not install the Attendee Console. It was inferred that this would not have all of the features of the Attendee Console.
  • Conferences can be recorded, these recordings record everything that happens within the conference, IM, Voice, Video, Sharing.
  • Recording are played back using the Recording Manager and including Handouts.
  • Recordings can be “published”to a WMA file, with the ability to publish all or parts of the recording such as only the Voice and Active Speaker Video for example as well as been able to specify a time window.
  • When creating meetings, options are available to specify who is allowed in automatically and who should be granted access by a Leader. Also settings on who should automatically be granted Leader Status.


  • E911 support, this is provided by routing calls via a SIP Trunk to a PSAP who in turn will route the call to the correct Emergency Call Center based on location of the caller.
  • Branch Office Survivability, if the connection to the OCS Server is lost, calls can be routed via local PSTN Connections.
  • Support for Call Access Control, allows administrators to specify if WAN links can be used for Voice and Video along with limiting the number of concurrent calls.
  • Media Bypass for PSTN calls, allows calls to bypass the Mediation Server if the client can route the RTP traffic direct to the Gateway. It is unclear if this is G711 only or if the Gateways will support RTAudio.

Cloud Support:

  • Communications Server “14” is designed to work in the cloud.
  • Support for some users on site and some in the cloud with shared namespace.
  • Support for Exchange in the Cloud and OCS on site, along with the same support for SharePoint.
  • No dates were provided as to when this will be available only that they are working on it. I also assume it will be staged.
  • Voice in the Cloud will be via Partner Solutions.


  • Ability to build Silverlight applications in to the “Conversation” Pane. Allowing developers to provide context based information such as Contact Center Functionality to users.


  • Supported, but within specified boundaries.
  • Will include support for Voice and Video.

Mobile Client:

  • Improved functionality.
  • Support for more devices.


  • Support for Voice and HD Video Federation with Windows Live Messenger.

At a high level, I think I have covered off most of the “New” items, hopefully more information to come.

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