Lack of emotion, inadequate time lead Canadians to question efficiency of e-mail



    Microsoft unified communications solutions bring voice back to workplace,
    helping to increase productivity and collaboration

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - E-mail and instant messaging may be the
communication mediums of choice but Canadians say the lack of emotion in
written messages frequently causes conversations to be misinterpreted,
according to the results of a new survey released today by Microsoft Canada.
While more than one-quarter of Canadians say they use e-mail to conduct
business, 32 per cent say they have had an e-mail misinterpreted, and 66 per
cent say they need to spend additional time explaining the context or tone of
a message to a colleague after sending.
    Although e-mail is considered fast, people are spending at least
30 minutes a day re-reading messages to ensure tone and context are accurately
communicated. As well, 67 per cent of respondents admitted that they follow-up
on important e-mail messages with a phone call, adding more time to their
communications.
    "Canadians are looking for ways to better express and more clearly convey
their meaning and intent through e-mail," said Warren Shiau, Lead Analyst, IT
Research, Strategic Counsel. "The majority of respondents indicate they feel a
need to use expressive tools like emoticons and Caps Lock in business e-mails
to make sure the right message gets across. This points to a need to enrich
messages with alternative communication methods such as voice."
    Canadians are also concerned about how e-mails are perceived by others,
with 83 per cent re-reading their notes before hitting the send button, and
89 per cent saying the phone and face-to-face conversations are still the most
effective ways of communicating important issues.
    When asked why they opted for e-mail given these challenges, respondents
admitted that the act of physically switching from e-mail to the phone
interrupts their workflow and many can't be bothered trying to track down
multiple phone numbers. In fact, 72 per cent say they would be more likely to
call the person if they could determine whether they were available to take
the call, and could make the call by clicking the person's name in an e-mail.
    "This survey illustrates how difficult it has been for people to use
voice communications in business. People choose e-mail because it's easy to
incorporate with the way we work. How do you 'reply all' to a verbal
conversation? Until today, you couldn't," said Bryan Rusche, Product Manager,
Unified Communications and Collaboration. "Workers are also spending too much
time trying to track others down or explaining their e-mails. That is why
today we are bringing voice back to the workplace, merging voice, video and
data in one place."
    Microsoft is helping businesses address this challenge with the release
of software-enabled unified communications solutions that combine the
efficiency of e-mail with the power of voice, matching voice and data with
video conferencing, instant messaging and "presence" information that tells
users if someone is available to chat.

    
    The new products include:

    -   Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007: software that delivers
        VoIP, video, instant messaging, conferencing, and presence within the
        applications people already know and use such as Microsoft Office
        system applications and upcoming versions of Microsoft Dynamics ERP
        products and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM release due later this year.

    -   Microsoft Office Communicator 2007: client software for phone,
        instant messaging, and video communications that works across the PC,
        mobile phone and Web-browser.

    -   Microsoft Office Live Meeting: advanced conferencing service that
        enables workers to conduct meetings, share documents, utilize video,
        and record discussions from any computer.

    -   Microsoft RoundTable(TM): a conferencing phone with a 360-degree
        camera that captures a panoramic view of meeting participants, tracks
        the speaker and can record meetings.

    -   Service pack update of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007: the industry's
        leading e-mail, voice mail, calendaring and unified messaging
        platform.
    

    With these solutions, Microsoft is helping to simplify connectivity for
Canada's workforce, enabling people to instigate a phone call or video
conference with the click of a mouse. As well, with software as their
foundation, these new solutions help eliminate the need to rip and replace PBX
systems, integrating virtually seamlessly with existing technology
investments.
    "For Canadians, the benefit of unified communications is ease of
connection. Instead of trying an individual's work phone, cell phone, work
e-mail and mobile device in the hopes of reaching the person, there can be one
connection point," said Rusche. "Microsoft's goal is to simplify the
communications experience. With these new solutions, users can easily move
from one mode of communication to another without interruption."
    The nation-wide survey of Canadians was conducted in October by The
Strategic Counsel.
    Customers can learn more about Microsoft's unified communications
software at http://www.microsoft.com/canada/media/UC2

    About Microsoft Canada

    Established in 1985, Microsoft Canada Co. is the Canadian subsidiary of
Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq "MSFT") the worldwide leader in software,
services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full
potential. Microsoft Canada provides nationwide sales, marketing, consulting
and local support services in both French and English. Headquartered in
Mississauga, Microsoft Canada has 10 regional offices across the country
dedicated to empowering people through great software - any time, any place
and on any device. For more information on Microsoft Canada, please visit
www.microsoft.ca.

    For more information about the Canadian launch:
    Visit the virtual pressroom at http://www.microsoft.com/canada/media/UC2

    Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information
    on Microsoft Canada, please visit the Microsoft Canada Web page at
    http://www.microsoft.ca. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were
    correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For
    additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact High Road
    Communications or other appropriate contacts listed at
    http://www.microsoft.com/canada/media/media_contact.mspx





For further information:

For further information: Melissa Legaspi, High Road Communications,
(416) 644-2295, mlegaspi@highroad.com

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