AT&T teams with Microsoft for Web conferencing

Partnership builds on a long-standing relationship between the two vendors

AT&T partnered with Microsoft to create a new Web-conferencing service called AT&T Live Meeting, unveiled Monday.

"We are in essence integrating Live Meeting with AT&T's audio-conferencing services. It's a pretty rich set of collaboration tools and capabilities for small and large customers," says Shawn Conroy, vice president of product management at AT&T.

This latest partnership builds on a long-standing relationship between the two vendors.

The AT&T Live Meeting service lets customers broadcast applications, presentations and documents in real-time to Web-conferencing participants around the world, as well as establish live audio conferencing.

AT&T used the Microsoft Connected Services Framework, which provides service-oriented architecture (SOA) and Web-services interfaces, to integrate Microsoft Live Meeting with AT&T's traditional TDM and Voice DNA VOIP Centrex services, Conroy says.

Part of the integration includes a "click to activate" capability for Voice DNA customers, Conroy says. This feature will let Voice DNA VOIP Centrex customers immediately participate in a Live Meeting Web conference by clicking a button. Conroy says AT&T is provider similar integration for all of its voice services.

The data portion of the service is managed at Microsoft's data centres throughout the world, Conroy says. The audio portion of the conferencing service is supported by AT&T.

AT&T would not provide specific pricing for its service, but Conroy says the pricing is similar to off-the-shelf Microsoft Live Meeting pricing. The advantage for AT&T customers is the Web-conferencing application is already integrated with other AT&T voice and data services, he says.

AT&T is not the first provider to team with Microsoft on Live Meeting. Microsoft has had similar arrangements with BT and Verizon Business since 2004. Both service providers are offering Live Meeting to their business customers.

Likewise, this is not AT&T's only Web-conferencing service option. The service provider has been offering WebEx conferencing to its customers for a number of years. Conroy says it will continue to offer WebEx Web-conferencing services in addition to Live Meeting.

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