Research In Motion (RIM) today announced support for Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007 providing an enhanced real time instant messaging and presence experience for corporate customers using the BlackBerry® Enterprise Solution.
Support for Office Communications Server 2007 advances the features and functionality already available on the BlackBerry® platform for Microsoft® Live Communications Server 2005. The new offering includes an instant messaging application (BlackBerry IM client) for BlackBerry smartphones that provides enhanced presence information and deeper integration with core BlackBerry smartphone applications including the phone, browser, address book and calendar for a highly intuitive and interactive experience.
Key features of the complete solution, which requires BlackBerry® Enterprise Server 4.1.6 or higher, handsets running BlackBerry Device Software 4.1 or higher, and the new BlackBerry IM client for use with Office Communications Server 2007, include:
- One-to-one or multi-party instant messaging - Engage in one-to-one or multi-party instant messaging sessions from a BlackBerry smartphone. Users can also send instant messages with hyperlinks included that can initiate an email, phone call or launch a web page and can save conversations to the smartphone for archiving or sharing via email.
- New presence statuses - In addition to setting their presence status as Available, Busy, Do Not Disturb, Be Right Back, Away, or Offline, BlackBerry smartphone users can now create a customized notification about their location, such as "home" or "office".
- Auto presence setting based on activity - View the presence of others automatically based on activity from their desktop computer, desk phone (requires integration between an organization's PBX system and Office Communications Server 2007), and activities scheduled in their Microsoft Outlook calendar, which can show a more granular level of presence with notifications such as "Out of Office" and "In a Meeting".
- Control access to presence and contact information - Users can control who sees their presence by setting their availability to individuals, teams, the entire company, and people outside the organization, or they can block the information outright.
- Click to communicate from contact list - From within the BlackBerry IM client, users can click on a contact in the contact list and select to initiate a phone call, email, MMS or SMS with the contact. Users can also initiate an instant messaging session with a contact from within the BlackBerry Address Book.
- Picture association in contact list - Users can associate a photo to each contact in their list.
- Determine presence of contacts from address book, receive alerts - View the presence information of a contact in the BlackBerry Address Book and receive an alert when a person becomes available.
- Usage controls for the enterprise - New IT settings and controls have been added to BlackBerry Enterprise Server allowing administrators to control access by individual users or groups as well as control specific functionality, such as the ability to save conversations.
- Market-leading security - Leverages the market-leading security and encryption of the BlackBerry Enterprise Solution to help ensure that presence information and conversations remain protected and secure.
- Ease of deployment - The BlackBerry IM client can be easily deployed via side loading or over the air. IT administrators can also 'push' the application to users through BlackBerry® Enterprise Server.
- Optimized for mobility - BlackBerry smartphone users benefit from the BlackBerry platform's push-based architecture, supporting battery efficiency, network optimization and automatic delivery of instant messages, even while the application is running in the background.
The new BlackBerry IM client for use with Office Communications Server 2007 is a powerful choice for large and small organizations alike. Tayside Fire and Rescue in Scotland, which provides planning, community safety as well as fire and other emergency response services to over 400,000 people throughout the Tayside area located in the North East of the UK, recently extended their Office Communications Server 2007 capabilities for instant messaging and presence on the BlackBerry platform as part of their strategy to strengthen the reliability and responsiveness of communications for their services.
"Instant messaging and presence on the BlackBerry platform is improving our ability to find members of our mission critical teams that are often mobile, and bring them together quickly into live and interactive meetings, regardless of their locations," said Gary Bellfield, Information and Communications Technology Manager at Tayside Fire and Rescue. "Mobile access is an essential component of our complete unified communications initiative, and we trust the BlackBerry solution to support our mobile instant messaging capabilities in a highly reliable, secure and intuitive way."
"BlackBerry support for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 brings the latest advances in enterprise instant messaging and presence into a seamless user experience on BlackBerry smartphones for businesses and government organizations," said Mark Guibert, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Research In Motion. "The complete solution presents opportunities for significant gains in productivity and responsiveness for teams in an increasingly mobile world."
Support for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 requires BlackBerry® Enterprise Server 4.1.6 or higher, handsets running BlackBerry Device Software 4.1 or higher, and the new BlackBerry IM client for use with Office Communications Server 2007.