Welcome to the Live Communications Server 2005 Beta Program!

Live Communications Server 2005 is a next generation enterprise instant messaging and presence awareness server. LCS is a key part of Microsoft’s real time collaboration platform and supports Microsoft’s vision of seamlessly connecting people, information and business processes in real-time to increase productivity and enable better decisions faster.

Live Communications Server 2005 builds on the foundation of the current version, Live Communications Server 2003, which provides a standards-based enterprise IM solution and an extensible real-time collaboration platform.

Foundation elements include these:

Presence. Live Communications Server incorporates presence capabilities into productivity and line-of-business applications within the enterprise. All participating users will be able to see whether someone is online and available.

Encrypted instant messaging. Live Communications Server provides easy-to-use and familiar text-based messaging within an encrypted and authenticated environment.

Microsoft Office System integration. Live Communications Server acts as a "presence engine" behind the Microsoft Office System, enabling out-of-the-box presence integration within Microsoft Office System applications, servers and services. Live Communications Server also enables the viewing of presence information directly from Microsoft Outlook® 2003, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word as well as team sites and portals, such as Windows® SharePoint (TM) Services.

Standards-based architecture. Live Communications Server is built using industry-standard protocols Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and SIP Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE), enabling a broad partner and developer ecosystem.

Key enhancements in Live Communications Server 2005 include these:

Live Communications Server Federation (between organizations). Presence information and IM now can be extended to partners, suppliers and customers, enabling more efficient collaboration and a channel for bringing geographically dispersed people together. Two or more organizations will be able to communicate and collaborate in real time, in an encrypted, authenticated and managed environment.
Outside access solution. End users now can connect to presence and IM capabilities when they are outside the corporate network, whether working from home or on the road, or visiting customers or partners. Access is provided in a more secure and authenticated manner through the use of standard firewall ports, without requiring the establishment of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Improved architecture. Customers can now benefit from substantially improved reliability, availability and scalability allowing them to recover gracefully from unplanned downtime, and delivering a higher level of availability through a tiered architecture. Deeper management options and administrative tools also have been added to reduce overall management time while increasing the level of control available to the administrator.


I have been accepted to beta test this Live Communications server. Should be interesting.