Chat rooms enable multiple users to participate in conversations in which they post and access content for specific topics, including text, links, and files. Although users can all be active during a session and communicate in real time, the content of each session can be persistent, which means it continues to be available after a session ends. To enable chat rooms in Office Communications Server, deploy the Group Chatfeature. If users are enabled for Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Group Chat support is deployed, they can install and use Group Chat to provide chat room support. The Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Group Chat Server supports federated user access. Using the Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Group Chat Administration Tool, it is possible to explicitly provision federated users for access to specific chat rooms.
Group Chat also supports instant messaging (IM) and presence. The content of IM is not persistent. Group Chat IM and presence features and functionality are the same as those provided by Communicator, except that Group Chat instant messaging does not support multiparty IM. For details about IM and presence support available to Office Communications Server users, see Instant Messaging, Presence, and Conferencing.
With Group Chat, users can:
- Improve communication between geographically dispersed and
cross-functional teams. Using Group Chat, teams can efficiently
share information, ideas, and decisions as a group. The messages
posted to chat rooms (discussion forums) can be persistent, so that
people from different locations and departments can participate,
even when they are not all online at the same time. When a user
connects to a chat room, a configurable number of chat history
messages are automatically loaded in Group Chat to give the user a
context for the conversation.
- Improve communication with an extended enterprise. With the
federation capabilities of Group Chat, business partners,
customers, and vendors can join chat rooms and participate in
secure, shared, group discussions.
- Improve information awareness. With filters, users can define
conditions, such as keywords in message content or the value of the
“from” field in a message, to receive notification when those
conditions are met in Group Chat IM or chat room messages.
- Increase dispersion of important knowledge and information.
Documents and links can be included within discussions for access
by the entire team. By posting questions to a broader team, users
can benefit from responses by subject matter experts. Integration
with other information systems allows important organizational data
to be easily communicated to large groups.
Group Chat content can also be archived (to meet requirements such as compliance). Chat room archiving requires deployment of the Group Chat Compliance Server. Archiving of instant messages in Group Chat is available if Office Communications Server 2007 R2 is set up to support archiving. For details about archiving, see Archiving and Compliance.