Mino – The UC Guy

Microsoft Unified Communications Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft UC’

Microsoft UC Voice Pilot Program

Posted by Mino on May 13, 2009

If you have heard allot about UC and you are interested to implement in your organization and you don’t have the knowhow and you don’t have the money to outsource someone to do this …then this is for you.

Microsoft is offering a full paid UC Pilot to have UC Solution  implemented in your organization running for 25 pilot users from your organization….all you have to do is ask you Microsoft Account Manager for a Voice Pilot and here is what you will get also for free

A Voice Pilot is defined as an OCS 2007 deployment with the following characteristics for at least 25 users:

  • User has been enabled for IM, Presence, and Enterprise Voice
  • User is relying on Office Communicator 2007 or Office Communicator Phone Edition for their daily business telephony needs – OCS is managing incoming and outgoing call routing
  • The OCS Voice Pilot implementation must be connected to the customer’s existing production PBX with the Pilot Users’ primary number managed by OCS
  • The OCS deployment has to be on Physical servers and not virtualized ones
  • Customer willing to become a public reference case in FY09 (i.e. press, analyst, or customers reference, case study, etc)
  • Complete a validation questionnaire provided by Microsoft

Besides the free implementation and the buisness presentation , you will also get for free the Voice Pilot kit box below  which includes the following gifts J

 Voice Pilot Kit

Posted in 1-What is UC, OCS 2007 R2 | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Mino on March 4, 2009

Any Post starting with this disclaimer means that this post was not written by me however I have liked it and added to my blog. I will also include the link to the original or Similar post to provide credit to the original author.


There’s a showdown brewing between Microsoft and Cisco in the UC space. Both companies offer a lot of different products, some overlap and some don’t. I made a chart below to show where the products that do overlap stack up.

If you believe that the future is based on a software-powered universe, you’d have to put your money on Microsoft

Feature  Cisco Product  Microsoft Product 
Telephony / Call Control  Unified Communications Mgr.  OCS 2007 R2 
A/V Conferencing  MeetingPlace / MeetingPlace Express
Web Conferencing  WebEx / MeetingPlace
Presence / IM  Cisco Unified Presences (CUPS) 
IVR / Speech Applications  Cisco IPIVR / IPCCX
Softphone  IP Communicator 
Video Calling  Unified Voice (formerly VT Advantage)
Voice Mail  Unity / Unity Connections  Exchange 2007 

One of the other major things MS has going for them is price. It’s not fair to Cisco to tally up all the licenses in the table above and compare it to an OCS ECAL per user, although that’s how you had to buy those products until recently. They’ve taken another cue from MS and unified the licensing.

Cisco have changed the licensing structure so customers can buy the above products in a unified bundle (CUWL) per user, so the pricing is much easier to swallow. Here’s how this breaks down:

Features  Cisco CUWL Pricing  Microsoft ECAL Pricing 
Voice, Presence, AV, Etc 






Required Maintenance*



Total (MSRP)



*CUWL requires 3 years of maintenance @ $125 a year

This is all list price and subject to great variance

Posted in 1-What is UC, Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Microsoft UC Virtual Technology Solutions Professional ( TSP )

Posted by Mino on February 4, 2009


Today We have Passed Microsoft assessment and Became officially UC Voice Partner  to be listed on Microsoft website http://www.microsoft.com/uc/partners/voice.mspx

Yes Officially on Microsoft UC Page along with Nortel , Siemens ,Gold System and other Big Boys

We are also officially now part of highest UC technical program, Microsoft Technical Adoption Program (TAP).

More Info here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/isv/bb190413.aspx

Also our team has been selected by name from Microsoft MEA to become some of few virtual resources within the Microsoft Virtual Technology Solutions Professional (TSP), to deliver on the same level of quality on critical workloads within the MEA region.

Special thanks for Katherine Green and Keith Hanna from Microsoft for their time and support

Let Everyone Know …They are playing with the Big Boys now

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Speech Server Scoop on OCS 2007 R2

Posted by Mino on October 15, 2008

The GotSpeach Guy Wrote on his Blog

Ok the word is getting out now about Office Communications Server 2007 R2 so I thought I would give you some details on how this will affect Speech Server developers.

First let me say that there are no changes for Speech Server in OCS R2. It will still be a separate install and the bits will be the same. You will still use Visual Studio 2005 and all of the development tools are the same.

Now for the cool news about the R2 release.

R2 will include the new UC Managed API 2.0. The API shows the new approach for developing Speech Applications going forward: speech technology will be an integrated developer capability in the whole of the UC platform. The UCMA 2.0 API does consist of 3 API major pieces – Core (including a SIP signaling stack and a media stack), a managed server Speech API and UC Workflow Activities that are built on top of both the core and server speech managed APIs. All together make the one UC Managed API 2.0.

The UCMA 2.0 Server Speech SDK will support 12 languages with both ASR and TTS: US English, Canadian French, Mexican Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, UK English, German German, French French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin (simplified/mainland plus traditional Taiwanese), Korean.

And get this – it will support Visual Studio 2008! Actually the UC Workflow Activities support both activities for speech as well as for IM automated agents (a.k.a. bots).

More info –

  1. You can develop Speech Server (2007) applications just like you have in the past (using VS 2005)
  2. You can now develop speech “bots” using the new Workflow Activities on top of the UCMA 2.0, or in managed code only using the Core and Speech APIs, if you are really hard core.
  3. The UCMA Speech SDK will be missing some of the tools that you are currently used to having. For example there is no grammar tool but SRGS grammars are still supported and you can use the existing Grammar Editor (in VS2005) to create grammars, or use your favorite XML editor.
  4. Conversational grammars may or may not work due to changes in the way the engine works.
  5. OCS 2007 R2 has no VXML support on top of UCMA 2.0. This might change for the future ’14’ release. SALT definitely is dropped from the roadmap.
  6. The UCMA is much closer to SIP but will still be familiar to you. It will be able to manipulate the SIP stack and the media stack as well.
  7. In the next ’14’ release (the one after R2) Speech Server will no longer be a standalone install but will be an integral part of OCS.

You are probably wondering how you can get your hands on Office Communicator 2007 R2?
The official Launch Date will be early February. Till then there only is a very small private beta.

There however is a Developer program called Metro (http://www.discovermetro.net) for managed Microsoft accounts.

Managed ISVs and Corporate developers just need to get in touch with your Microsoft (Partner) Account Manager asking if you can be admitted to this Metro program. The Metro program gives access to Hyper-V images of a complete developer OCS 2007 R2 setup, including speech, training across the world in the complete platform, and a (email only) help desk, in exchange for a commitment to build applications on the UC (OCS 2007 R2 and Exchange) platform.

I am really excited about this as it will allow us Speech Server developers better access to the core OCS components and will give us a new way to develop speech applications. For now the best approach will probably be to keep developing the way you have in the past and start experimenting with the new stuff before settling on it for all of your development. Or at least that is the approach I plan on using.

Gold Systems (the company I work for) has OCS R2 up and running in production and we are very excited about the new release

I’ll blog more on the UCMA later.

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

What is UC ?

Posted by Mino on October 1, 2008


The computer starts to work like a phone

To call someone, you just click on his or her name. The computer places the call. It doesn’t matter whether you see their name in e-mail, inside Microsoft Office Word, or on a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services site: their contact information and the ability to reach them is always present.

Presence is one of the key benefits of unified communications because it unites all the contact information stored in Active Directory with all the ways people communicate: phone, conferencing, instant messaging, e-mail, calendaring. People’s availability, their contact information, and the ability to communicate with them are integrated and always just a click away.


The phone starts to work like a computer

Try this with a standard office phone: call someone, then add someone else to the call. Okay, now add ten people. Now, turn it into a live video call. Could you do it? Is it even possible?

With Microsoft unified communications technologies, you click to call. Click again and you can launch a conference call. Need video? It’s a click away. It’s that easy.


Voice mail becomes e-mail

Voice mail arrives in your Microsoft Office Outlook inbox, right beside your e-mail. That might not sound impressive, but have you ever tried to forward voice mail using the touchtone keypad on a telephone? When voice mail becomes e-mail, you can forward it just like any e-mail: to one person, a work team, or an entire department.


On the back end, things are even better

Change like this usually means a lot of new hardware, extra work for IT, and a vastly more complex infrastructure. But not with Microsoft unified communications technologies.


VoIP as you are

You don’t need a forklift to install Microsoft unified communications technologies because Microsoft uses software instead of hardware. Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007—the server that delivers presence, instant messaging, and audio- and videoconferencing—integrates smoothly with your existing telecommunications infrastructure, including your current PBX.


Unified communications streamline infrastructure

Microsoft unified communications technologies use Active Directory to unify the entire corporate directory—names, PBX extensions, e-mail addresses, and logons. This simplifies IT administration.


Use speech technology for self-service via the telephone

Voice portals offer callers an easy way to get to information they need using naturally spoken language from any phone, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The powerful speech-enabled Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Speech Server, which is a part of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, can help businesses deliver significant value through speech-enabled self-service applications via the telephone at a very attractive price.

Such applications can be both inbound, like the above mentioned voice portals, as well as outbound applications, like quality surveys or notifications via the telephone.


Phone calls become digital assets

Just like e-mail. Which means they can be logged, reviewed, published, and archived. Having a complete record and recording of every phone call is increasingly critical as businesses struggle to comply with stricter federal and international regulations.


Flexible and future-ready

By using a software solution to deliver unified communications, your business can stay flexible and embrace innovations as they come. The Microsoft unified communications platform of powerful APIs enables developers to extend that software solution with security-enhanced and productivity-enhancing applications that span all modes of communications. When emerging technologies and changing business needs require your communications infrastructure to adapt, all you have to do is extend or upgrade your software, not your hardware


Posted in 1-What is UC | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »