Today, enterprises have widely adopted desktop collaboration as an employee productivity tool, dramatically reducing costs and ensuring a competitive position within their respective markets. The market acceptance of main stream enterprise collaboration solutions such as Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) / Live Communications Server (LCS) and IBM Lotus Sometime have helped fuel this trend coupled with the prior acceptance in the SMB market of open platforms such as Jabber/XMPP. An equally pervasive movement in the enterprise is increasing workforce mobilization with large percentages of the staff being remote from their headquarters or immediate manager, located in the field, or just away from their desk for > 30% of the time. As these trends continue, the challenge for enterprises is to maximize the efficiencies possible through presence-enabled real-time collaboration across all usage situations and to do so in a way that ensures the best integration and flexibility with their current and future IT environments.
Same thing goes to International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Community. The latest OCS deployment in IIUM give us a wide access towards a better and effective communication world widely. Even though this Service just being implemented among technical staff and higher management level, still it will give a significant breakthrough to become IIUM Digital Campus.
However, since the OCS come from Microsoft, it is actually a proprietary program developed mainly for their Operating System such as Windows Xp, Vista, Windows Mobile, Windows CE and will not work with other Operating System. But how about some of the IIUM Community who are using Linux or Apple Mac (anti-microsoft group..hehhe)? Did they do this to purposefully kill users of linux desktops? Or were they unaware you’re using linux desktops?
Even it so, do we have any solution so that this niche IIUM community can communicate through Microsoft LCS server or we just ask them to change their mindset towards Microsoft?
When this matter has been highlighted to the Linux Expert Team, They propose various of solution that might suite to our environment. One of the solution is Wildfire. Wildfire is an enterprise instant messaging (EIM) server dual-licensed under the Open Source GPL and commercially. It uses the only widely adopted open protocol for instant messaging, XMPP (also called Jabber). As a 100% Java application, Wildfire supports Windows, Unix/Linux, and Mac OSX. They also propose other OCS client such as Whisper, Xmpppy,JWchat, ejabberd , but these IM client still not fully tested.While Standard IM client like Kopete and Pidgin are still under development towards OCS compatibility.
OCS server is actually another standard Session Initial Protocol (SIP) server. The only different is that they run on TCP and TLS , while the rest like Okiga or Brekeke SIP server run on UDP. So, in order to communicate through Microsoft OCS, try to look at the 3rd party IM Client who can support TCP and TLS. To remind earlier the linux IM Client is working but might not working with Video Chatting.
For Mobile users, they wont have any problem if they are using Mobile with Windows Mobile Operating System. But how about for those who are using others like Nokia E90 (Symbian), Blackberry (Blackberry OS), Palm (Palm OS), or even Iphone (OS X Iphone). From the deep search, I found that there is one product that might help these mobile user in order to communicate with IM through OCS/LCS Server. It is called WebMessenger. For those Wifi enabled Mobile Phone , you can use the IIUM Wireless Infra to establish connection . Nonetheless, this software have not been tested yet in our IIUM environment (the component for Mobile client still not up yet at the OCS Server), so I do not know the exact result on its compatibility with OCS Server.