I’ve been waiting for this since Thanksgiving. Microsoft’s finally started releasing details of the devices its partners are building for use with Office Communications Server 2007. It’s important to note that individual partners, including Polycom, NEC, and LG-Nortel, are building these, but that Microsoft is providing the “Communicator Phone Experience” software for some devices. CPE is a radical departure from the standard model of having a button-driven user interface on the phone that talks to the PBX; CPE-equipped phones have a friendly Communicator-like GUI and rely on direct communications with the OCS server to get configuration and presence information. (In fact, you log on to these phones using your Windows credentials– how cool is that?)
Some pictures to whet your appetite are at Microsoft’s UC press gallery. I’ve requested review units of the Polycom phones and will report back here once I’ve had a chance to experiment with using them.
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