SOURCE: NextPlane


December 10, 2013 08:30 ET

NextPlane Launches Microsoft Office 365 Federation Service

Microsoft Office 365 Users Can Now Collaborate With Partners Using Other Types of Unified Communications Platforms

SUNNYVALE, CA--(Marketwired - Dec 10, 2013) - NextPlane, the leading provider of B2B UC Collaboration and Federation Services, announced that its UC Exchange Service provides support for the Microsoft Office 365 service. Companies wanting to collaborate with their business partners that have deployed Office 365, as well as Office 365 customers, who want to collaborate with partners on other UC platforms, can now do so seamlessly through the NextPlane UC Exchange.

Click to Tweet: #NextPlane launches Microsoft Office 365 Federation Service, #UC Collaboration, #UnifiedComm

B2B UC Collaboration, also called UC Federation, enables end-users to engage their business associates across different partner organizations in real-time communication, using instant messaging and presence (IM&P), multi-party chat, voice, video calling and conferencing -- as if they are on the same UC platform.

As a hosted UC service, operated by Microsoft, Office 365 only allows direct federation with other Microsoft platforms, such as Lync 2010. This is enforced by requiring that the domain name (FQDN - Fully Qualified Domain Name) of the edge/gateway server published in the SIP DNS SRV record, matches the domain name on the security certificate -- issued by a certificate authority such as VeriSign. Otherwise Office 365 refuses to establish an encrypted TLS connection -- as a result the federation fails.

As a "walled garden" environment, Microsoft does not provide any federation options to Office 365 customers. This precludes Office 365 customers from collaborating with partners who are using an XMPP-based platform such as Cisco WebEx Messenger, or OpenFire. Cisco Presence Server (CUPS) and IBM Sametime claim support for federation with Lync 2013 via their own gateways, and in theory they may be able to federate with Office 365, however in practice most Do-it-Yourself (DIY) federations end up to be an uphill and frustrating struggle -- not only in getting them to initially work, but also in maintaining and scaling them.

"Microsoft Office 365 is one of the fastest-growing UC-as-a-Service (UCaaS) in the enterprise. We are now enabling the Office 365 customers to benefit from and/or join collaborative ecosystems that are forming across their industry segments," said Farzin Shahidi, CEO of NextPlane. "Through the NextPlane UC Exchange service, we enable partner organizations to overcome the technical challenges of Office 365."

By becoming part of UC Exchange community, Office 365 customers can find, connect, and collaborate with business partners across a broad range of unified communication (UC) platforms including IBM Sametime; Cisco Jabber XCP, Unified Presence Server (CUPS), and WebEx Messenger; Unify OpenScape; Google Apps, OpenFire, and virtually any other UC platform.

About NextPlane

Based in Sunnyvale, CA, NextPlane ( is the global leader in providing scalable B2B Collaboration and Federation, Services for Unified Communications (UC). NextPlane UC Exchange is the world's fastest-growing community of organizations that are transforming their real-time B2B collaboration through UC federation.

Using UC Exchange, leading companies and organizations worldwide in financial services, energy, automotive, pharmaceutical, hi-tech, mining, legal, media, manufacturing, construction and education are building real-time collaborative business communities.

The UC Exchange community is powered by a scalable any-to-any UC collaboration service that includes UC federation, plus Skype, Yahoo, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and Social Media federation.

Whether it is presence, instant messaging, multi-user chat, or voice and video calls, employees in member organizations can collaborate instantly with their colleagues in partner organizations or public IM networks regardless of their underlying UC platform.

UC Exchange has more than 250 member organizations with 500,000 federated users across 600+ unique corporate domains, generating more than 1 billion federated messages per month.

The NextPlane UC Exchange Collaboration Service is also being used by the global financial institutions under the name Markit Collaboration Services (MCS). Members include Markit, Thomson Reuters, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, GFI Group, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.

Member organizations can find, connect, and collaborate with business partners across the broadest range of unified communication (UC) platforms including Microsoft Lync 2013 and 2010, OCS 2007 R2 and R1, LCS 2005; IBM Sametime; Cisco Jabber XCP, Unified Presence Server (CUPS), and WebEx Messenger; Unify OpenScape; Google Apps, OpenFire, and virtually any UC platform.

UC Exchange is powered by a searchable UC Federation Directory of over 250 federation-ready organizations.

The UC Exchange Management Portal allows organizations to quickly provision their UC domains for federation-readiness, manage federation requests, and access various reporting and analytics tools.

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