I watched Balz Wyss’ presentation on Microsoft’s VoIP platform play this morning. Very good stuff.
He started with the same video that Anoop Gupta used at an earlier presentation I saw this fall. It’s a very clever video showing the impact of a manager being stranded at an airport, and how this person uses presence driven tools and a number of other real time communications tools to both build a presentation, and deliver it remotely.
But then, because this is a Consumer VoIP Summit, he quickly related this to the various roles we play in our lives, and the ability of presence based systems to help us manage these roles. This is a theme I’ve written about extensively — our lives are blurry. We don’t have a business persona and a family persona anymore. We have 24×7, always on lives. So, Balz says, you need to look at the person, and not the device or location. He posits a world in which your identity follows you regardless of device, network, or location.
He also said we shouldn’t be talking about "just VoIP", but rather the universe of applications possible when voice is integrated with a real time communications platform and productivity applications.
And finally, he talked about a key trend – the trend towards horizontal integration of the communications stack. Silo’s are going away, and being replaced with layered services.
So, Microsoft’s vision is a very people-centric vision — a me-centric view of the world.
The bombshell which Balz dropped was subtle, and I am not sure if many in the audience immediately grasped it. Following the presentation of the vision, he talked about Microsoft’s role, and how 96% of Microsoft’s business is done through partnership with others, and the key components of enabling technology that Microsoft wants to deliver to the market.
What it boils down to is simply this: Microsoft understands Voice 2.0, and is playing for the identity piece.
It’s a grand strategy. We shouldn’t expect anything less from Redmond.