The Microsoft brass believes real-time collaboration means a lot more than just instant messaging.
To push real-time technologies into the business applications space, the Redmond, Wash., software vendor is making available to Visual Studio developers a set of controls and code samples that can be used to build presence directly into their applications.
Microsoft officially unveiled on Thursday its Presence Controls for Microsoft Office Communicator 2005 (originally known as the Real-Time Collaboration Presence Toolkit). At the same time, it rolled out an accompanying sample implement of role-based instant messaging and presence, as well as a custom-alerting application sample.
Office Communicator is Microsofts instant messaging client for business users. It is the front-end complement to Microsofts Live Communications Server instant-messaging server.
Also on Thursday, Microsoft went public with names of some of its third-party partners who are embedding these controls in their applications. Those companies include BrightWork, K2.net, Meridio, OSIsoft, Siebel Systems and Singularity. These companies are using the Microsoft controls to add presence to CRM, workflow, electronic-records-management and other types of business applications.
The Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) division also is embedding these controls into future releases of its various CRM, ERP and supply-chain-management products, acknowledged Marc Sanders, a senior product manager with Microsofts Real Time Collaboration business unit.
At the Microsoft worldwide partner conference in July, Microsoft announced it would field a set of visual controls that developers could access via Visual Studio in order to embed presence, instant messaging and call-control functionality into their applications. At that time Microsoft offered no specifics, in terms of when or how it planned to make the toolkit available.