NEW YORK and REDMOND, Wash. - Balancing family, social and professional responsibilities can be overwhelming, but some innovative work by Verizon and Microsoft Corp. seeks to make the daily juggle much more manageable.
Microsoft and Verizon are exploring new uses of technology to integrate the latest telecommunications services, Verizon e-business applications and select Microsoft® .NET and Windows® XP services to provide customers with additional control over their lives. These technologies include telecommunications and messaging services, calendaring and personal directories. Features of .NET and Windows XP services now offered by Microsoft are playing an important role in one such application currently being tested by Verizon.
With a service bearing an internal code name Digital Companion, Verizon is working to extend the capabilities and features of its telecommunications services, already provided through one of the world's most advanced and pervasive networks.
"Being in a wired world should mean greater productivity and more control for people, and this is a key driver for our efforts," said Shaygan Kheradpir, president of eBusiness for Verizon. "Digital Companion would enable customers to access and use call management features, such as Caller ID, over the Internet, in new and innovative ways."
One version of the Digital Companion will use Microsoft's .NET Alerts to extend the reach of the service for Verizon's customers and will also use the .NET Passport authentication and single sign-in service to provide an easier, faster and more compelling experience.
"This effort is a great example of the kinds of customer relationships that are enabled by .NET," said Sanjay Parthasarathy, senior vice president of the .NET Strategy Group at Microsoft. "Verizon has combined its industry-leading telecommunications services with the smart clients, servers and services that make up the .NET platform to create a truly empowering communications experience for customers."
Anytime, Anywhere Communications
Based on the collaborative efforts of Verizon and Microsoft, this implementation of Digital Companion would provide a new way for people to more efficiently manage their day-to-day communication.
For instance, a Digital Companion user who is a working mother could get a Caller ID notification through an instant message popping up on her desktop computer signaling that her son's school has called her home. Without missing a beat, mom would open her Digital Companion and find out that the school has left her a voice message.
By listening to her voice mail, mom would learn that her son is ill and needs to be picked up early. Rather than digging through her address book to find the number of the school, mom scans her caller ID list in her Digital Companion and calls the school to ask if her son requires immediate medical attention.
The school tells her not to worry; her son will be fine, but needs to be picked up early from school. Since critical business calls are expected that afternoon, mom could return to her Digital Companion and forward all her calls to her cell phone just before she leaves to get her son.
Finally, mom could prepare for spending the next day at home and the doctor's office by directing certain important calls to her cell phone and others to her home office. Her family commitments are met, and she never misses a beat with her work.
Utilizing key .NET technologies, Digital Companion would enable a user to remotely access features of Verizon's existing call management services, such as Caller ID and voice mail, any time, anywhere and from virtually any device. With Digital Companion, customers would no longer have to check in at home or work when traveling. Instead, using the remote access to call forwarding provided through Digital Companion, calls could be routed to a cell phone, hotel room or temporary office for the duration of the trip, providing an unprecedented level of convenience for participating customers. Verizon Caller ID lists could also be checked remotely for the first time using this service. Verizon plans to conduct technical trials of Digital Companion in the near future.
While Verizon and Microsoft have worked together in the past, the collaboration around the Digital Companion project is a unique example of the companies' focus to create new services that transform the customer experience. This initiative uses the technical advancements from Microsoft and Verizon, by integrating e-business, telecommunications and software infrastructure to build products that can form the basis for a new generation of communication experience.
Verizon uses Windows 2000 and Microsoft SQL ServerTM 2000 in several of its key customer relationship management systems. These technologies have enabled Verizon to further enhance the customer experience and resulted in development productivity and improved system performance.
In addition, Verizon and Microsoft are working together to deliver cutting-edge services to Web users by making Verizon's SuperPages.com directory services available on the MSN® network of Internet services. And, recently, Verizon and Microsoft announced an agreement for Verizon to provide broadband digital subscriber line (DSL) access to MSN Internet Access customers.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.
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Claire Haggard, Waggener Edstrom for Microsoft,,