What's New in Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2

New Features in Office Communicator 2007 R2


New Calling Features

Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 contains several new features that can be used when initiating a phone call or during a conversation.

  • Inviting participants using alternate phone numbers    When adding a participant to a conference, the conference leader can select any of a user's published phone numbers. When you click Invite from within the conference, a View more options for calling this contact button is available next to each contact in the Invite Someone list. You can click this button and select any of the phone numbers listed for the contact. This feature is especially useful if the conference leader knows that a contact is available by mobile phone only.
  • Receiving an alert for incoming calls while you are in an instant messaging (IM) session    When you are participating in an IM session and you receive another call, an alert for the incoming call appears in the lower right of your desktop. In the previous release, the IM conversation window would blink to indicate an incoming call.
  • Using the keyboard during a call    If you are prompted to press a key during a Communicator call, you can use your keyboard instead of the Communicator dial pad. Communicator reflects your actions by automatically opening the dial pad and displaying the keys that you pressed.
  • Copying and pasting numbers into the dial pad    If you need to type a long number into the Communicator dial pad, you can copy the code from another source and paste it into the dial pad. For example, if you are joining a Communicator conference, and you need to enter a long participant code, you can copy it from the e-mail invitation and paste it into the dial pad.
  • Connecting Communicator with your desk phone    Communicator pairs with your Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 Phone Edition desk phone. When you use a USB cable to connect an Office Communicator 2007 R2 Phone Edition desk phone to your computer, your desk phone becomes your preferred audio device for calls, conferences, and Microsoft Live Meeting sessions. The following things happen:
    • When you receive an incoming call, clicking the notification on your computer automatically connects your desk phone to the call.
    • If you are using Microsoft Office Outlook or Office Communicator and you click a contact to call them, the call is placed from your desk phone. During a call, any call control actions that you take (for example, putting the call on hold or transferring the call) are reflected both in Communicator and on your desk phone.
    • If you are participating in an IM session and you add audio, your desk phone rings while it sends the audio invite to other participants.
    • If your desk phone is the only audio device you have connected to your computer and you are participating in a Live Meeting session, incoming calls will interrupt your Live Meeting audio and allow you to answer the desk phone.

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Meet Now Conferencing

In Office Communicator 2007 R2, there is a new Meet Now option that lets you quickly start a new conference and invite people who are either inside or outside of your organization. In previous versions of Communicator, you could invite people to your Communicator conferences only if they were members of your organization or a federated organization. With the Meet Now option, you can start a new conference, and then use one of two options to invite people. You can use the Invite a Contact option to invite contacts from within your organization and federated organizations, or you can use the Invite by Email option to send out an e-mail invitation, which creates an Outlook e-mail message that contains links to the conference. The recipient can join the conference by using either Communicator or a Web browser.

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New Contact List Features

The Contact List in Office Communicator 2007 R2 contains the following new features for managing your phone contacts, call-forwarding groups, and current conversations.

  • Sort by Display Name in any view    Whether you choose the Contact List, Access Levels, or Tagged Contacts view, you now have the option of sorting the contacts alphabetically by display name instead of presence state so that your Contact List can be used as an address book.
  • Phone number contacts    You can add outside phone numbers to your Contact List so that you can conveniently call people, such as friends and family members, who do not have Communicator. You can type a phone number in the Search box and then move it to your Contact List. Or, if you have recently dialed a phone number, the phone number appears in your Contact List under Recent Contacts and you can move it to your Contact List.
  • New Groups in the Contact List for Delegates and Team-Call Group    In Communicator 2007 R2, you can display a Team-Call Group or a Delegates group in your Contact List. These two groups are determined by how you have configured your Call Forwarding settings. If you have set up a team-call group for the Team Call feature, you can display your Team-Call Group in the Contact List (See “Team Call” later in this section). If you have configured delegates who will be using Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Attendant to answer your calls and make calls on your behalf, you can display your Delegates group in the Contact List (See “Call Delegation” later in this section.). Be aware that you cannot add contacts to these groups in the Contact List by dragging and dropping contacts into them. Because these features must be configured in your Call Forwarding Settings, if you try to drag a contact into one of these groups, a message appears asking if you want to open the Call-Forwarding Settings dialog box.
  • New Current Conversations group    When you have one or more active Communicator conversations, a new group called Current Conversations appears in Communicator at the top of your Contact List. You can use this group to quickly scan your active conversations. You can also quickly navigate to one of the conversations in the list by double-clicking it.
  • Last Active presence information is available to Company Access Level    Contacts who are assigned an access level of Company can see how long you have been away when your status is Offline, Away, or Out of Office. Previously, only contacts who had access levels of Personal or Team could see this information.

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Dial-in Audio Conferencing

Users without access to a computer who want to join an Office Communicator audio conference can now call into the conference using a regular mobile, desk, or home phone. Previously, the only way for the organizer to include a user who only had access to a phone was to call the user from within Office Communicator.

Now, when you schedule an audio conference by using the Conferencing Add-in for Microsoft Office Outlook, you can add a conference call number to the conference. The Outlook invitation contains the dial-in information. Participants can use any phone to dial into the conference and enter the conference ID and PIN when prompted. After the participant joins the audio conference, he or she appears in the conference roster.

The dial-in audio conferencing option is provided by the Conferencing Attendant application, which is a feature of the new Application Server in Office Communications Server 2007 R2.

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Voice Mail Enhancements

Voice mail enhancements in Office Communicator 2007 R2 offer convenient ways to manage your voice mail and leave messages for others:

  • In organizations with Exchange Unified Messaging, Office Communicator users can now directly call a contact's voice mailbox to leave a message.
  • A new option allows quick access to your voice mail greeting so that you can update it if necessary.
  • When you click a voice mail indicator in Office Communicator, the voice mail indicator resets so that you can easily distinguish new voice mails from those you have already handled.

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Desktop Sharing

With desktop sharing in Office Communicator, a participant in a Communicator conversation can share his or her entire computer desktop with the other participants. If you have a document, slide deck, or application that you want to present to others in the conversation, you can start a desktop sharing session. After you start desktop sharing, you can also share control so that other participants can provide mouse and keyboard input into your desktop.

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Call Delegation

New call-forwarding options allow a manager or executive to select one or more assistants (delegates) to receive his or her phone calls. Delegates are contacts who can answer the manager's calls, and make and transfer calls on the manager's behalf.

 Note   Delegates must use Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Attendant instead of Office Communicator so that they can access all the call delegation features.

The manager specifies delegates in Office Communicator in the Call-Forwarding Settings dialog box. The manager can configure the call-forwarding settings to do the following:

  • Simultaneously send all incoming phone calls to the manager and the delegates.
  • Send all incoming phone calls directly to the delegates.

When using call delegation, it is important for all parties involved to be able to ascertain how a call is being handled. The following features are designed to help callers, assistants, and managers understand who will receive the call:

  • When a caller uses Office Communicator to attempt to contact the manager, the status region shows that that call is also ringing the delegates, so that the caller knows that there is a possibility that a delegate will answer the call.
  • If a delegate answers the phone call, the manager's invitation shows the name of the delegate who has answered the call.
  • When one person answers the phone call, the manager and other delegates will see that the call has already been answered and by whom.

In the Conversation window, the Transfer menu now contains the list of the manager’s delegates so that he or she can easily transfer any phone call to a delegate for follow-up.

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Team Call

In the Office Communicator Call Forwarding Settings, you can set up a group of contacts, referred to as a team-call group, who can answer your incoming calls. This feature emulates the group pickup feature in traditional PBX systems, and is especially useful if you are part of a group of people who share responsibility for a particular area and any one of you can field incoming calls. You can set up this feature to ring you and your team-call group simultaneously, or you can set a delay so that your calls ring you first and then your team-call group after a specified number of seconds. This feature requires that Enterprise Voice capabilities are enabled for you and the members of your team-call group.

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Response Groups

The Response Group is a concept that is new in Office Communications Server 2007 R2. With a Response Group, incoming calls are queued and routed to designated agents based on predefined routing rules. This functionality is provided by the Response Group Service, which is a feature of the new Application Server in Office Communications Server 2007 R2. This feature is similar to the “hunt group” and “automatic call distribution” functionality in PBX systems.

As an Office Communicator 2007 R2 user, you can search for a response group and initiate a call to a response group just as you would any other distribution group. You can also add a response group to your Contact List. Communicator uses an automated service icon to differentiate response groups from other distribution groups.

Users who have been designated as agents of a Response Group can receive calls by using a telephone or Office Communicator 2007 R2. Users are designated either as informal agents or formal agents, depending on whether they are required to formally sign in to the response group to begin receiving calls:

  • Informal agents do not sign in to and out of the group. If you are an informal agent, you can receive calls routed to your group by using a standard telephone or Office Communicator 2007 R2.
  • Formal agents are required to sign in to and out of the group. If you are a formal agent, you will see a tab at the bottom of your Communicator window, labeled Response Group. You use this tab to sign in to and out of your group.

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Voice and Video Enhancements

In Office Communicator 2007 R2, the following voice and video enhancements improve the experience during an Office Communicator voice or video conversation.

  • Video call controls    The video call controls have been updated for easier use. During a video call, double-clicking the video automatically resizes the video to full screen.
  • High Definition and Video Graphics Array (VGA) video    Previously, Communicator supported the Common Intermediate Format (CIF) video format, which has a resolution of 352 by 288. Now, both VGA display (resolution 640 by 480, ratio 4:3) and High Definition (resolution 1280 by 720, ratio 16:9) are available to Communicator users. VGA is the default format. Your administrator determines whether to enable High Definition through a policy setting. In Communicator, when you select the video size, the appropriate format is selected. In Large mode, the video format is VGA. In full-screen mode, the video format is High Definition (if enabled by your administrator).
  • Video policy setting for conference rooms    With the new policy setting EnableFullScreenVideoPreviewDisabled, administrators can enable Office Communicator to show video in full screen with the preview disabled for all Office Communicator video calls This policy is typically used in conference room settings.
  • Reduced call setup time    Updates to the implementation of the protocols that support early media negotiation help to reduce call setup time and reduce delays when a call is established.
  • Improved connectivity    Peer-to-peer voice conversations remain connected even when the SIP signaling channel is lost. Participants can continue the voice call while Office Communicator attempts to reestablish the signaling channel.
  • Voice and video quality indicators    New indicators in the Conversation window indicate situations that may be affecting the quality of the voice or video call, including poor network conditions, low bandwidth network connections, or poor audio quality from a particular device.

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Desk Phone Integration

If you connect an Office Communicator 2007 R2 Phone Edition desk phone to your computer with a USB cable, Communicator pairs with your desk phone, and the desk phone becomes your preferred audio device for calls, conferences, and Live Meeting sessions. The following things happen:

  • You can sign into the desk phone from Communicator. When you connect your desk phone with your computer, Communicator detects the connection and provides a sign-in screen. You can enter your credentials in this screen to sign in to the desk phone.
  • When you receive an incoming call, clicking the notification on your computer automatically connects your desk phone to the call.
  • If you are using Outlook or Communicator and you click a contact to call them, the call is placed from your desk phone. During a call, any call control actions that you take (for example, putting the call on hold or transferring the call) are reflected both in Communicator and on your desk phone.
  • If you are participating in an IM session and you add audio, your desk phone rings while it sends the audio invite to other participants.
  • If your desk phone is the only audio device you have connected to your computer and you are participating in a Live Meeting session, incoming calls will interrupt your Live Meeting audio and allow you to answer the desk phone.

When you plug the Communicator Desk Phone into your computer with a USB cable, a Communicator sign-in window appears on your computer, allowing you to sign into the desk phone from your computer.

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Instant Messaging Enhancements

Office Communicator 2007 R2 provides the following instant messaging enhancements:

  • A new option, Change the background color when the writer changes, makes the instant messaging window easier to read. When you select this option, each time the writer changes, the background color changes so that you can more easily differentiate messages from different writers.
  • Previously, when IM conversations were saved in the Outlook Conversation History folder, emoticons were removed. In Communicator 2007 R2, the text equivalents for emoticons are retained in the conversation history, and if you restart the conversation, the emoticons are restored.

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Automatic Updates

Communicator can be configured to receive automatic updates. You can configure updates to occur as soon as they become available, or you can schedule them for a specific hour of the day. The Automatic Updates option is available on the Alerts options page.

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Applies to:
Communicator 2007 R2