New capabilities of Office Communications Online

I’m quite a fan of Office Communications Server (OCS) and have been for many years. So much so that I was one of the first 250 people in the world to be certified on it. While I love that Office Communications Online (OCO) gets the technology into more organisations I have been disappointed by the limitations imposed by having it hosted in the cloud. However with the release of Office Communications Server ’14’ impending, we will see some key functionality rolled out to OCO:

  • Audio/video across firewalls
  • File transfer across firewalls
  • Presence with pictures
  • Federation (!!!)
  • IM with Windows Live
  • Co-existence with OCS
  • Server-side IM archiving
  • Office Communicator is the unified client for conferencing (bye bye Live Meeting!)
  • Application & desktop sharing
  • Content presentation
  • Integration with 3rd party PSTN audio conferencing services
  • Client-side recording/playback

There are a few pieces of advanced unified communications functionality that will also be released, however these will only be available through select carriers and will have limited worldwide availability. In any case, these features are:

  • Single number for Office Communicator and your mobile phone
  • Common call controls
  • Unified voicemail

What’s coming in the next version of BPOS

A blog post from the Microsoft Online Services Team Blog:
Some of the exciting features are:

  • Office Web Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote)
  • Exchange 2010 features (unified messaging, archiving, retention policies, transport rules, multi-mailbox search, free/busy between cloud & on-prem, native migration tools, remote PowerShell, etc.)
  • SharePoint 2010 features (portal site templates, extranet & anonymous access, Office 2010 integration, tagging and social networking, better search, improved features & functionality, Visio & Excel Services, sandboxed solutions, improved workflows, SharePoint Designer 2010 access, better control of FQDNs, etc.)
  • OCS 2010 features (P2P audio/video & file transfer across firewalls, presence with pictures, federation, IM with Windows Live)
  • General updates (single sign-on, identity federation, redesigned admin interface, more administration and access control)