Topic Last Modified: 2010-07-19
This topic describes Microsoft Communicator "14" changes and enhancements made since the release of Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2. Each new feature is described in further detail following the summary table below.
If you are migrating from Office Communications Server 2007 (original release), see also "Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 New Client Features:" http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=169718.
What’s New in Communicator "14"
New User Interface
New unified client UI lists your contacts, recent conversations, missed calls, and the latest updates from your contacts. You can easily customize your view of contacts
Main UI new "Me" area: Location enhancements, activity feed, photo features
Communicator can detect your location as you travel between home and work, so you can allow contacts to see when you are on the road or in a different building.Contacts can easily see each other’s latest activities, such as office moves, new personal photos, or personal notes.If you use Microsoft Office SharePoint services, you can choose a custom photo for your Communicator contact card.
Contact card: New design & extensibility
Expanded contact cards show more information about you and your organization, or about distribution groups.
Access Levels are now called Privacy Relationships; assign your contacts different levels of access depending on their relationship to you, such as Family or Workgroup. Enhanced presence privacy also allows organizations to show Presence for individuals explicitly added to contact lists only.
Whiteboard, application sharing, Office PowerPoint presentation, file transfer
Sharing features have expanded from desktop sharing to include application sharing, meeting recording and playback, whiteboard and annotation tools, and a presentation created using the Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2010 presentation graphics program.Using DHTML, you can present PowerPoint files without requiring viewers to download a rich client. Performance during the presentation will be improved overall, and viewers can save and print Office PowerPoint files. A whiteboard is a blank canvas that you can use for collaborating with the help of tools such as text, ink, drawings, and images.When you upload files to a meeting, participants can view and save the files in the original file format.
The polling feature enhances collaboration by enabling presenters to quickly determine participants’ preferences. During online meetings and conversations, presenters can use polling to gather anonymous responses from participants. All presenters can see the results and can either hide the results or show them to all attendees.
Improved meeting join experience
Joining meetings is faster and includes metrics to measure join performance, targeting less than two seconds to join when Communicator is installed. It is easier to schedule meetings and invite others before and during meetings.Entry points for joining meeting are displayed wherever meeting information is available, improving discoverability and enabling people to join meetings without having to switch programs.Meeting URLs are simpler easier to remember, and easier to communicate.When you share activities with external users (that is, federated and non-federated), the experience is more streamlined.Authentication-related join failures caused by inadvertent access control configurations or last minute changes to attendees are prevented.
Conferencing Attendant & scheduling
The invitation has been simplified. Organizer capabilities are enhanced. Mobile phone users can join audio conferences from the invitation.You can change permissions with a single click
Audio conferencing provider conferencing & scheduling
There is no configuration required for audio conferencing provider conferencing-the options are automatically selected.
PSTN dial-in conferencing enhancements
Now there are only a minimal number of short, concise prompts when users join a call. Callers will no longer be disconnected if no one is available to accept the call. Instead, they wait in the lobby. Now organizers can decline admittance to any caller waiting in the lobby. Callers also have access to dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) commands through a help menu item. Callers are notified when calls are recorded.
Video enhancements: Panoramic video, VGA video conferencing
The video experience in Communicator features improved video controls and the full-screen experience, plus support for panoramic video, multipoint video, subscription video, and VGA and high definition (HD) video in conferences.
Beyond the call handling features listed in this table, Communicator has added support for delegate features so that delegates do not have to switch between Communicator and Attendant console. Plus, in Communicator, a delegate can support multiple managers, and make use of collaboration tools such as application sharing and file transfer, which are not supported by Attendant console.
Call park and retrieve
Support for a general holding area for calls while the appropriate response group or person is located. The number of orbits is specified by the administrator.
Diagnostics: Pre-call and In-call
Pre-call and in-call diagnostics alert users when the network quality is poor. During a call, twelve different kinds of audio quality issues from network, computer, and device sources are diagnosed and communicated to the users. Simple explanations of what is wrong and troubleshooting advice are provided in the UI to help the user quickly solve the problem and continue with their call.
Improved device handling
Device handling is improved to allow for multiple devices. In addition, users can switch devices in conversation with a single click. Administrators can choose to advise users to use a device that is optimized for Communicator and provide a link to the Enterprise IT site with a listing of those devices.
Emergency services support
Emergency responders receive the physical location of the phone from which the call was placed. Available only in the United States and Canada.
Call handling: Delegates and response group enhancements
Delegates can support their manager much more easily using Communicator. Shared lines, the ability to interrupt the manager at any time, and quick transfer enable delegates with the access they need. Also, this release provides the ability for agents to remain anonymous so that workflows are not bypassed.
Enhanced phone experience
The inclusion of number of voice mails and missed calls in the UI increases the visibility of phone features in Communicator.
Client Visual Refresh
In addition to an exciting new look for Communicator, we have improved usability, added new features, and addressed customer feedback from previous releases. Communicator is now a unified client, exposing IM, phone, and meeting capabilities at the top level, along with the list of contacts.
New tabbed lists include your current and recent conversations and your missed calls. You can easily switch between conversation windows. Plus, with the Activity Feed, your contacts and you can now easily see each other’s latest activities, such as office moves, new personal photos, or status notes. This makes the Microsoft unified communications solution more socially oriented by encouraging communication between information workers and facilitating spontaneous meetings or conversations.
Introducing the "Me" Area
The top of the Communicator UI shows how you appear to your contacts, and lets you update your status and other information quickly and easily. You can even choose a custom photo from SharePoint to use on your Communicator contact card. Communicator can detect your location as you travel between work and home so that E9-1-1 services will be able to find you more easily in an emergency. Plus, you can allow your contacts to see whether you are on the road or in a different building.
Your view of contacts is more customizable in Communications Server 2010. You can display contacts by group, availability, or level of privacy, with or without photos, and start conversations and meetings right from the Contacts list just by pointing to the contact. Plus, it is easy to edit contact information.
Searching for contacts is more robust because you can now search on a keyword, such as a contact’s title, team, or other expert quality that might appear in his or her contact card.
Note SharePoint is required for keyword search.
You can easily pin your favorite or important contacts to the top of your Frequent Contacts group.
New expanded contact cards show more information about you and your organization, or about distribution groups. The way you interact with people is now more consistent between contact cards and the Contact List.
We have added a number of privacy enhancements requested by our customers, such as a privacy mode that an admin can allow in which contacts in your Contact List see your presence, but others in your company do not.
Access levels have been simplified and enhanced. An admin can allow you to assign your contacts different levels of access depending on their privacy relationship to you, such as Family or Workgroup. You can even add trusted domains for people outside your company.
Office and Windows 7 Integration
Your contacts, as well as Communicator features such as sending instant messages and sharing your documents, are available in Microsoft Office 2010 products, including Office Outlook, Office Word, Office PowerPoint, and Office Excel, as well as Office SharePoint.
Your Communicator contacts appear in Office Outlook. You can start IM or phone conversations from Office applications, without switching to Communicator. And now you can send an Office Outlook email message directly from Communicator.
Communicator features are also available from the Windows 7 operating system taskbar.
Whiteboard, Application Sharing, PowerPoint Presentation, File Transfer
In Communications Server 2010, sharing features have been expanded from desktop sharing to include application sharing, meeting recording and playback, whiteboard and annotation tools, and Office PowerPoint presentations.
Using DHTML, PowerPoint files can be presented without viewers having to download a rich client. Performance during the presentation has improved overall, and viewers can save and print PowerPoint files.
A whiteboard is a blank canvas that can be used for collaborating with the help of tools such as text, ink, drawings, and images.
Participants can view and save files that are uploaded to meetings in the original file format.
Improved Meeting Join Experience
In Communications Server 2010, users can join meetings faster and includes metrics that you can use to measure join performance, targeting less than two seconds to join when Communicator is installed.
It is easier to schedule meetings and invite others before and during meetings.Entry points for joining meeting are displayed wherever meeting information is available, improving discoverability and so that people can join meetings without having to switch programs.
Meeting URLs are simpler, easier to remember, and easier to communicate.Sharing activities with external users (that is, federated and non-federated) provide a more streamlined experience.
Authentication-related join failures caused by inadvertent access control configurations or last-minute changes to attendees are prevented.
Conferencing Attendant and Scheduling
The invitation has been simplified by including a shorter http:// URL. The organizer can also change the language of the invitation from another language to English and schedule online meetings when Office Communications Server is not available.
From the invitation, mobile phone users can click once to join audio conferences.
PSTN Dial-in Conferencing Enhancements
In Office Communications Server 2010, there are a minimal number of messages that users must respond to when they join a call.
Callers are no longer disconnected if no one is available to accept the call. Instead, they wait in the lobby. In Office Communications Server 2010, organizers can decline admittance to any caller waiting in the lobby.
Callers also have access to dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) commands through the Help menu.
Callers are notified when calls are recorded.
The video experience in Communicator features improved video controls and the full-screen experience, plus support for panoramic video, multipoint video, subscription video, and VGA and HD video in conferences.
Beyond the call handling features listed below, Communicator has added support for delegate features so that delegates do not have to switch between Communicator and Attendant console. Plus, in Communicator, a delegate can support multiple managers, and make use of collaboration tools such as application sharing and file transfer, which are not supported by Attendant console.
Call Park and Retrieve
The call park and retrieve feature provides the capability for calls to be sent to a general holding area for pickup, or retrieval, by the appropriate response group or individual. For example, you call a grocery store and ask for the bakery department, the call is placed in an available orbit, such as line 2, the bakery is paged, and then the bakery employee dials line 2 to retrieve the call.
Administrators have the option to use this feature in Communications Server 2010 and can specify the number of orbits needed for the organization. When the feature is deployed, call handling controls include familiar language of transfer to the call park and retrieve a call.
Diagnostics: Pre-call and In-call
In response to customer requests, pre-call and in-call diagnostics are new to Communications Server 2010. A network health indicator monitors the quality of the user’s network at regular intervals and provides the assessment of good or poor. If the quality is poor, a message is sent that recommends that users make at test call to ensure the quality is sufficient for the type of call they need to make. The message recommends that if it is an important conference call (for example, the user may want to switch to a land line or mobile phone).
In-call diagnostics include detailed messages provided in the Communicator Conversation window with explanations and solutions provided in the UI in context to assist the user with troubleshooting. Roughly twelve potential audio problems are diagnosed, such as echo, speaking too softly, and low bandwidth. Sources are the network, computer, or devices, or multiple issues occurring at once. Additional troubleshooting and explanatory information for each problem diagnosed is provided in Help topics.
Improved Audio Device Handling
In response to user feedback, device installation and identification is easier to use. Multiple devices are supported, including Universal Serial Bus (USB) devices. For example, one-click device switching during a call provides flexibility and maintains productivity when the users need to take the call with them and transfer to their mobile phone. Device tuning settings are located in the Options dialog box.
Emergency Services Support (E9-1-1)
When an emergency call is placed using Communicator, the location of the user can be automatically sent to emergency services. Two policies are available to administrators: enable E9-1-1 without enforcing location and enable E9-1-1 with the requirement that users accept a disclaimer that their physical location will not be provided to emergency responders should they choose not to provide the location. All E9-1-1 related UI notifications are customizable according to your organization’s legal policy.
Call Handling: Delegation and Response Group Enhancements
In Communications Server 2010, support for delegate features such as shared lines (that is, making and receiving calls on behalf of a manager), direct access to a manager at all times, and quick transfer of calls to a manager allow delegates to manage calls more efficiently.
In addition, response group handling of calls is enhanced to support anonymous agents. Response group agents can answer calls anonymously so that workflow is not circumvented by callers calling a direct line.
Enhanced Phone Experience
Communicator provides enhanced phone capabilities with all the functions of a traditional PBX system plus useful productivity features.The Communicator UI includes a tally of the number of missed calls and voice mail that alerts the user of activity. The Phone tab provides a list of voice mails and call logs, as well as an on-screen dial pad.