It’s interesting to see how consumer and corporate IM have finally started to evolve in different directions. I have a personal IM account (harrypierson at hotmail dot com) on MSN running the newly released MSN 7. I really like the integration with Spaces, the contact cards and the new Personal Message feature that also integrates w/ WMP and iTunes to show “what I’m listening to” (in case you’re curious, baby lullabies – I’m sitting in Patrick’s room as he goes to sleep). I hadn’t realized how many of my coworkers (primarily ex-teammates) have started blogs on MSN Spaces.
I also just installed Office Communicator 2005, the new corporate client for Live Communications Server 2005. While we’ve had LCS installed internally for a while, I rarely used it. I mean, the only real value I saw in corporate IM in general was security – if your employees are chatting on IM, better to keep it off the public Internet. But w/ LCS 2005 & new new client, there are several cool new features. First off, LCS 2005 connects with both AOL and MSN public IM services. So if you want to, add me as an IM contact via my corporate email address (hpierson at microsoft dot com). Next, LCS 2005 & the new client integrate with your Exchange calendar. So if you’re in a meeting, you’re status changes to Busy. I can also hover on a contact and see what they’re up to now (in a meeting until noon, free until 3:30, etc). Finally, the new Office Communicator client integrates with PBX systems. So I can select a conact, hit call, and my desktop phone automatically calls the person. For incoming calls, I get notification even if I’m not in my office. So if I’m in a meeting, my wife calls, I can click on the notification to forward the call to my mobile phone.
Finally, I’m running Skype (callto harrypierson). I was in Barcelona most of last week and I used the SkypeOut service all the time, except when I was making connections in the Amsterdam airport. I racked up the big 2 Euros in calls over the course of a week. I seem to remember MSN IM having support a similar service via Net2Phone, but they stopped some time ago. I’d probably can Skype if they brought it back. I don’t want or need three contact points like this. Two is good – one for work and one for personal – but three is one too many.
If you want to reach me, you have zero excuse!