A set of standards-based "presence" APIs shipping with the real-time server also will be packaged with Windows Server 2003, and a software developer kit that's part of the real-time server will be made available to subscribers of the Microsoft Developers Network. The APIs will let independent software vendors leverage presence technology, which gives people the ability to detect another person's online availability, in building applications such as notification services or Web-based instant-messaging tools, without having to buy the real-time server. Meanwhile, the developer kit will let telecom companies build real-time apps that take advantage of the Session Initiation Protocol instant-messaging standard, also without purchasing the new server.
Siemens Information and Communication Networks Inc. built its new automated call attendant, OpenScape, on the real-time platform. OpenScape, which is essentially a real-time unified messaging application, is designed to let users have their messages follow and find them regardless of location or device type. Reuters also has used Microsoft's real-time technology as the basis for Reuters Messaging, an instant-messaging application built primarily for financial-services organizations.
Ed Simnett, lead product manager for Microsoft's real-time collaboration group, says potential buyers should look at the real-time server as more than an instant-messaging platform, but rather as a tool for making presence a critical piece of a company's infrastructure. "It will become apparent to people that presence is a technology that's distinct from text messaging," he says.
Pricing for the real-time server has not been released.