Greenwich Renamed Again

Only months after giving the Office Real-Time Communications Server 2003
(formerly Greenwich) its official
moniker
, Microsoft switched things up with a new
name for both it and the recently
acquired
PlaceWare Conference Center.


Both products, which make up Microsoft’s Real-Time Collaboration Business
Unit, have added the word ‘Live’ to their names, which Microsoft said
better communicates the value of the products to its customers. Office
Real-Time Communications Server 2003 will now be the Microsoft Office Live
Communications Server 2003. PlaceWare Conference Center will take on the
name Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2003, bringing it in line with the rest
of the Office brand.


“Our customers told us they could better understand and relate to ‘Live’
and associated it with the potential to do more things while connecting
with other people,” said Dustin Grosse, senior director of marketing for
the Real-Time Collaboration Business Unit. “The new name reinforces
Microsoft’s commitment to help businesses realize their potential by
achieving optimal efficiency, productivity and agility.”


PlaceWare Conference Center, now Live Meeting, is a real-time multimedia
platform and application service for Web-based communication and
collaboration. The current version of the software lets companies create
virtual “meetings” with up to 2,500 attendees. Additionally, PlaceWare, now
a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft and part of its Information Worker
Group, offers a Conference Center service, which includes a Web-based
platform for uploading and delivering business presentations. The company
also offers services such as project management, event coordination, and
presenter training.


Microsoft said Live Meeting will continue to offer the PlaceWare feature
set, with future versions adding functionality and capabilities.


The RTC Server, now Live Communications Server, is intended to provide
secure, enterprise instant messaging and presence — the ability to detect
whether a user is online and available. It is also geared to be a platform
for emerging communications technologies: Internet telephony, application
sharing, and video conferencing.


The Live Communications Server is built on the Session Initiation Protocol
, or SIP, a technology designed to foster communication streams
in a variety of different modes, ranging from instant messaging to VoIP
.


When Live Communications Server ships in the third quarter, Microsoft plans
to offer APIs for syndicating presence information as a free add-on for
Windows Server 2003, allowing ISVs and enterprises to embed RTC
Server-based presence in Web pages and to create new applications based on
the technology.

The product’s presence capabilities will allow a user who receives an email
in Outlook 2003 to see whether the sender is online and available. If so,
the user will be able to initiate an instant messaging conversation from
within Outlook. Microsoft is also pointing to the power of integrating its
Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 with Live Communications Server,
allowing information workers working in a portal to see the presence of
teammates and initiate instant collaboration sessions in the portal
environment.

Together, SharePoint Portal Server, SharePoint Services and Live
Communications Server will provide site-based collaboration that’s tied
into Office 2003’s core applications — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access,
and Outlook — while also offering up embedded IM and alerting.

A user can register peers’ IM handles in the Outlook Contact List, and
special field in Word, Excel, and the other applications will reflect
colleagues’ availability, with each application capable of spawning an IM
session.

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