New Microsoft Office capabilities mean new training

The pool of people using voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology to make phone calls is projected to expand dramatically by 2009. It's no wonder Microsoft is planning to incorporate the technology in its Office software. Information technology training will see a big leap with the integration of desktop VoIP.

Microsoft's Office Software Expanding

Microsoft Office is soon to become much more than a word processing and email application. Office Communication Server is Microsoft's latest addition to its long- successful information technology desktop software. The goal of Office Communication server is to unite email, instant messaging, voice, and video in a single application.

Information technology has been trying to unite these functions for years, without much success. A viable combination of these elements would have big implications for workplaces everywhere, not just computer jobs.

Office Communication Server is an SIP-based server (Session Initiation Protocol) that routes communication "traffic" based on type. This type of technology eliminates the need for an IP-PBX server that supports the front end of the communication.

Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business group, says the goal for Microsoft Office is to bring Outlook-based phone communications to 100 million people within three years.

Microsoft vs. Cisco

In February, Microsoft commissioned an independent study group to compare Microsoft Office Communicator to Cisco's voice-over-IP software. The network phone calls were tested for quality and accuracy in simulating a regular phone connection. As both companies work to improve their technology, the race is on to see which will provide the best service and training.

IT Training

Once this kind of technology catches on in the business world, information technology training in the new MS Office will be a must. Getting trained on voice-over-IP and even Microsoft Office Communicator can put you ahead of the game.

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