Speech Server to ship as part of Office Communications Server 2007
Rich Bray (Microsoft General Manager in Unified Communications) announced this morning in his keynote address at SpeechTek that Microsoft Speech Server 2007 will ship as part of Office Communications Server 2007 (OCS).
I can hear some of you groaning that this means that the Speech Server 2007 release date will slip but that is just a "glass is half empty" view. True this means another Beta release and a new shipping date of summer 2007.
But, I think this is really big and I am ecstatic over the possibilities that this opens up for speech developers. This means that we will be able to play in the Office arena and that our speech applications will become more mainstream. This opens up endless opportunities to seamlessly blend office communications into one large package.
OCS will provide us a bigger audience. It will give us the ability to do IM, have presence awareness; speech enable audio and video conferencing and better voice and call management. I'm really stoked about the communications possibilities that this will open up.
Imagine, you are on the phone and your wife calls you. Instead of getting a busy signal or plain old voice mail the call gets directed to your Instant Messenger. Now she can IM you by speaking over the phone. IM says that you are busy then the call could seamlessly get directed to your Outlook where she could dictate her message to you. Never again would you have to miss an important call but instead you have options now. How about speech enabling Live Meeting and Exchange? Possible? I think it will be. Ah, the power of SIP.
Since MSS 2007 will ship in the box with OCS 2007 as a separate install, some of you are wondering what this will do for licensing and the cost of implementing speech. While the licensing details haven't been fully worked I've been told that the overall costs should go down. This is exciting too as it will open up possibilities for smaller businesses that may have limited funds to invest in speech automation.
I have a good friend named Andrew Connell who is a Microsoft MVP for CMS. He has been extolling the virtues of SharePoint Services 2007 to me. He so wrapped up in that and such an evangelist for SPS that he is dragging me into it and I'm starting to believe in what he is doing. He has got me wondering how I could make speech apps work with SPS and now it looks like it may become a possibility. The telephone is the most widely used interface in the world and we have all been communicating verbally since we were mere babies. I can't emphasize enough how exciting I find this.
This is the information that I've garnered from my talks with the Speech Server team and I hope I haven't given you any false impressions or misrepresented anything here. The Speech Server Team is all excited about this and so am I. In fact, I'm almost drooling over the possibilities that this opens up for us.
I'm just trying to give you guys and gals a taste for what is to come. As for how this affects the current Beta or TAP programs, more specific information will be forthcoming from the Speech Server Team concerning that. Please don't email me for details as I am not at liberty to discuss it.