Microsoft launches new online conference feature

Microsoft unveiled the 2007 release of Office Live Meeting, a version designed to improve online meetings, events and training, at its annual TechEd conference.

The new version of Office Live Meeting, scheduled to be available in Fall 2007, is designed for organizations of all sizes to experience the benefits of Web conferencing, whether people are conducting simple ad-hoc collaboration sessions, formal Web-based meetings, advanced online training or large communication events.

The enhancements included in the 2007 release of Microsoft Office Live Meeting resulted from more than 10 years of Web conferencing operating experience and customer feedback.

The 2007 release also supports multiple communication channels, such as two-way phone or VoIP, live Webcam video, and embedded flash, video and audio files.

For organizations seeking a conferencing solution that is deployed and managed on-premise, Microsoft will also offer conferencing capabilities - built on the same conferencing technology as those in the 2007 release of Office Live Meeting - in the upcoming release of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, now in public beta.

"The 2007 release of Office Live Meeting is a prime example of Microsoft's software-plus-services in action," said Kim Akers, general manager, Unified Communications Group, Microsoft Corp. "It's important for us to offer our customers choice and flexibility between software that is hosted, such as the next release of Live Meeting, or software that is deployed and managed on-premise, such as the conferencing capabilities in Office Communications Server 2007."

Customers can access video demonstrations of Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007 and materials about other products such as Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 at http://www.microsoft.com/uc. Current Office Live Meeting customers can also register on the site for a private preview of Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2007, which will be available later this month.

A recent Gartner Inc. report says companies "are increasingly positioning Web conferencing functionality as another form of collaboration alongside instant messaging (IM) and email, open to all employees, rather than something needing special justification and provisioning."

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