Soon, when your co-worker needs your help, they will no longer need to come to your office, but will appear instantly on your computer desktop. Collaborative conversations will no longer include telephone calls down the hall or across the country. And quick computer chats will no longer be a novel way of staying in touch but a required way of doing business. No, this isn't your teenager's Instant Messaging software.
Microsoft revealed more details this week about its move to leverage the business applications of Instant Messaging. And if it is successful, Microsoft will move way ahead of the competition in harnessing this next "killer" application.
Enterprise instant messaging (IM), developer tools, SIP protocols, PC-to-PC voice and video integration and other features will be included in Microsoft's newly-dubbed Real-Time Communications Server (MS RTC Server) software, due out later this year.
Currently in beta form and known as "Greenwich" (the basis for Real-Time) Technologies, a subsidiary of the Greenwich technologies will be a tag along part of the Windows Server 2003. Microsoft believes companies will use the tool to blend their IM and presence abilities into customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Presence is being able to tell when another user is available to communicate online.
Microsoft plans to incorporate SIP protocols from Greenwich into Microsoft Software Developer Network, which subscribers receive along with a software developer kit.
"This will allow developers to build applications that take advantage of presence and presence-based router capabilities," said Ed Simnett, lead project manager of Microsoft's Real Time Collaboration business unit.
Microsoft released Greenwich beta about a month ago, on the heels of much discussion about how the Redmond, WA-based software giant would make its mark in the enterprise IM arena. Microsoft has not yet disclosed what the new software will cost.