The coming together of voice and data technologies was in the spotlight last week as telecoms vendor Mitel agreed to develop a signalling and media gateway for Microsoft's Live Communications Server (LCS).
A voice element will be included into LCS, a product of Microsoft's Real Time Collaboration business unit. The gateway will complement a communications client from the software giant code-named Istanbul.
"Microsoft is one of the few companies where you can safely assume that a part of its technology is in almost every business in the world," said Jim Davies, Mitel's chief technical officer. "This is about end-user collaboration along the lines of our Your Assistant product, but the operation is much bigger."
Your Assistant is a Windows application that ties a user's PC into their Mitel phone system, Microsoft Outlook and instant messaging platforms. "LCS does instant messaging at the moment, but this will add a voice client," said Davies. "It will control the Mitel PBX directly, just like Your Assistant does now."
Mitel is not the first vendor to bond with the software giant. Siemens linked its OpenScape unified messaging platform to Microsoft?s Live Communications SME server last year.
Davies predicted there will be more opportunities for voice vendors and ISVs as LCS nears the mass market. He claimed it is likely Microsoft will develop the product so that it fulfils the needs of between 80 and 90 per cent of the potential market, and then let ISVs extend LCS's functionality.
Rachel Power, analyst at Canalys, agreed. "Other telephony vendors will be involved in Microsoft's push," she said.
"To be the first vendor to partner [in this way] with Microsoft gives Mitel a competitive advantage. But it will be important to see how long the first deployment takes to happen."
Infrastructure provider says international sales now make up 51 per cent of its revenue
Suzanne Chappell of TMS plans sailing venture after selling Oxfordshire-based TMS to acquisitive Chess
Withdrawal of credit insurance by some providers a 'reflection' of current challenge facing IT sector, according to MD Steve Soper
SMART's UK managing director joins Lenovo to boost SMB business