OCS & Keynote Thoughts

by Dave Michels

I posted a three part series on OCS at UCStrategies.com. Well, not so much OCS as the Microsoft Keynote presentation at VoiceCon. You can read it here.

But I wanted to add a couple more thoughts on the VoiceCon Keynotes in general.

Each of the four keynote speakers presented a strong view of how their products and services fit into the present and future of unified communications (UC). They all included a demonstration of their technology. Now remember, this is UC/phone system technology – geared for all of us. Yet not one of the keynote executives did their own demonstration – each called up a staff employee to perform the demo. If UC is to deliver on its promise of simplified technology – which they all stressed – then why can’t a corporate executive do their own demos? Consider Steve Jobs who for years has demonstrated cutting edge consumer technology – he concurrently conveys the superior design and simplicity of Apple’s products. When an executive needs assistance to demonstrate technology for all of us, we aren’t there yet.

Specifically regarding the Microsoft Keynote, I thought it strange that the Microsoft ResponsePoint solution was never mentioned. Microsoft actually has two telecom solutions – OCS and ResponsePoint (RP). RP is geared for small business and is totally separate and in fact incompatible with OCS. Unlike OCS, there are actually RP branded phones made by multiple partners and many of them were on the show floor. It would have been nice if they had discussed it a bit – for example, OCS uses Exchange for its message store – and ResponsePoint doesn’t. But Exchange is actively marketed to small business so why not? The RP solution includes (from multiple vendors) RP/MS branded phones – but none of these phones are supported on OCS – why? RP includes some voice recognition capabilities, OCS doesn’t; why? If these two product divisions don’t want to talk to each other that is fine with me, but I think a reasonable explanation or even a joke about it would be reasonable. That would be a good question to ask at the booth if they had one.

Which brings me to my final point. Why didn’t Microsoft have a booth? Microsoft was a Platinum level sponsor for VoiceCon. How does one become a platinum sponsor, and keynote presenter without having a booth on the exhibit floor? Yes, it’s true, Microsoft chose not to exhibit. Instead they booked several meeting rooms downstairs by “invitation only”. This stunt caused quite a bit of confusion and frustration as the booth is the traditional means to both demonstrate and communicate at a conference like this. To be fair, OCS was effectively being demonstrated in multiple booths as so many UC solutions now offer an OCS component, but it was pretty darn hard to get Microsoft information.