This week at ITU Telecom World 2006, Microsoft Corp. is showcasing for the first time its full portfolio of solutions and services developed specifically for the global telecommunications industry. In its exhibit presence and participation in ITU Telecom World, Microsoft is highlighting the broad range of voice, video, data and mobile solutions it delivers to leading service providers today, as well as unveiling new products and initiatives designed to help operators create revenue-generating offerings for businesses and consumers, now and in the future.
A new model known as Telco 2.0 is emerging as the telecommunications industry embraces the principles of Web 2.0 and technologies and services from the Internet world. In the Telco 2.0 era, operators will be able to offer hundreds of services that bring together numerous applications and types of content from a variety of sources to form composite services; in this world, the combinations of potential new services are nearly limitless. Microsoft provides the operating platform, technologies, applications and partner ecosystem that will help make Telco 2.0 a reality.
Whatever. More concretely, here’s what Microsoft announced:
End-User Devices and Screens
The 3GSM World Congress, billed as the world’s “premier mobile event,” is kicking off tomorrow in Barcelona and the press releases are flying. For Microsoft, phones from Windows Mobile partners, back-end messaging software, and software for service providers are what’s hot:
Feb. 13, 2006 — Today at 3GSM World Congress 2006, Microsoft Corp. and its mobile operator and device-maker partners announced a broad range of services and Windows Mobile®-based devices for business customers to cost-effectively deploy mobile messaging solutions. Leveraging the integration between Direct Push technology in Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 and Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2), businesses can mobilize their employees on a unified infrastructure without the requirement to pay for additional and costly e-mail servers. This same technology is now available for Microsoft Windows® Small Business Server and is also offered as a hosted service by a number of mobile operators around the world.
Note the inclusion of Small Business Server. That’s not a real surprise since it includes Exchange, but the service stream is different.
Cingular Wireless, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone today announced free upgrades to the Messaging and Security Feature Pack (MSFP) for all their Windows Mobile 5.0 customers, enabling Direct Push functionality and providing enhanced device management and security for messaging applications. Palm Inc. and i-Mate also reaffirmed their commitment to free MSFP upgrades. In addition, new Windows Mobile-based devices were unveiled today, all of which will ship with Direct Push technology: the HP iPAQ hw6900 Mobile Messenger, the Gigabyte Communications g-Smart (offered by Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. in Taiwan), the ASUS P305 3G-enabled smartphone, and the Fujitsu Siemens FS Pocket Loox. In addition, HTC Corp. has unveiled a new product portfolio of Windows Mobile-based devices that are Direct Push-enabled and will be made available globally to T-Mobile and other operators beginning in the second quarter of this year.
Direct Push technology added to Windows Mobile 5.0 gives customers faster access to all of their Microsoft Office Outlook® information; just like prior versions of Windows Mobile, it communicates directly with Microsoft Exchange Server and Windows Small Business Server without the need for additional and costly e-mail servers and middleware. When combined with a library of over 18,000 specialty applications, Windows Mobile phones — now offered by 47 device-makers and 100 mobile operators in 55 countries — are the premier choice for business customers.
There is a “hardware” press release touting the Texas Instruments hardware platform for Windows Mobile phones, but the back-end seems to get most of the ink with a press release for Vodafone that tells their Windows Mobile push email story, and another for T-Mobile describing how they will also be using the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration to provided hosted email packages for small and medium businesses. Hosting will be provided by IS Interned Services who will jointly market it with T-Mobile.
Finally, for service provisioning there’s Microsoft Builds Momentum in Service Delivery Arena
Microsoft Corp. today announced that its service delivery solution, Microsoft® Connected Services Framework, has been adopted by more than a dozen of the world’s leading communications companies, including Bell Canada, BT Retail and Celcom Malaysia. In addition, France Telecom is currently trialing this solution. Introduced in February 2005, Connected Services Framework is a software product that allows operators to aggregate, provision and manage converged communications services for their subscribers, regardless of network or device.
Microsoft Co. Ltd., SOFTBANK BB Corp., and JAPAN TELECOM CO. LTD., announced that they are developing a security-enhanced, integrated communications service that combines voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), e-mail, Internet access, groupware, presence, instant messaging and desktop services with network infrastructure, and that they have formed a strategic business alliance to provide this service as a business-oriented solution.
The combination of Microsoft® Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services with the IP phone expertise of SOFTBANK BB, Japan’s largest carrier of IP phone services, delivers a platform with enhanced security that provides rich messaging, presence and collaboration functions with high-quality voice services. Further, JAPAN TELECOM plans to couple this integrated communication service with its high-quality networking infrastructure and managed network operation to provide its own information communication technologies (ICT) platform service to the corporate market.
The target is small and medium businesses. The Microsoft® Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services is one of Microsoft’s service provider offerings combining the Microsoft® Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration with partner Sylantro Systems Corp.’s Application Feature Server. A similar deal was done in September in the USA with Qwest.
Microsoft Corp. today announced the Microsoft Hosting Program, a free offering that provides hosting companies with technical tools and resources to help them deploy and manage Microsoft(R) products. By participating in the program, hosting service providers can streamline their operations by maximizing opportunities for quicker application and service deployment and better management of existing systems.
The Microsoft Hosting Program provides hosting providers with free download access to both the Microsoft Solution for Windows(R)-based Hosting and the Microsoft Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration. Members also receive a monthly newsletter that includes valuable technical information, product updates and case studies to help demonstrate the many uses of Microsoft hosting products, as well as marketing resources and toolkits to help members better target customers. In addition, participating organizations become eligible for the Services Provider License Agreement, a licensing program that enables service providers to license Microsoft products on a monthly basis to offer services and hosted applications to their end
In addition to the Microsoft Hosting Program, Microsoft recently announced the Hosting Solutions Specialization in the Microsoft Partner Program.
Microsoft Corp. today announced Microsoft(R) Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration version 3.5, a hosted solution that enables service providers to equip small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with enterprise-class e-mail services, mobile device data access, team Web sites and online presence information. In version 3.5, Microsoft incorporates new mobile synchronization capabilities, a variety of security enhancements, and new tools that lessen management time and extend customer acquisition opportunities for hosting partners. Further, with the latest release of the solution, Microsoft underscores its commitment to building strategic relationships with telecommunications and hosting service providers to deliver a range of services to businesses.
Related Microsoft links: