So what about the other Live@Edu services?

In this journey towards a software + services world in education, email is often seen as one of the primary services that institutions will move offsite; and of course this demand has been reflected in this blog where it is quite apparent that this is where I am spending most of my time currently 🙂  There is much more to it of course, and over the course of time, I will start to drill into some of the other services we at Microsoft believe are equally as relevant to our education customers.  I wanted to use this post to provide a high-level view of what each of the other services are, and plant some ideas as to where they may fit into a teaching and learning environment.  We are interested to hear what you might be doing with these services, and in fact on our new Microsoft Higher Education site, we invite any colleges that are interested to submit papers on the topic.

Consider this diagram…something you may have seen before in one of our presentations…lets look at how this all stacks up.

First of all, while Live@Edu may have started out life a couple of years ago as primarily an email offering, based on Hotmail, for schools and colleges, it has now very much evolved into an umbrella program brand with a growing set of component parts.  What the team in Microsoft that own the program is responsible for is developing out scenarios, solutions and partnerships for how our other consumer services you see listed in the diagram can be pulled together to best meet the needs of our customers.

When we think about Live@Edu today and its integrated component parts, they essentially break down into 2 primary areas, communication (Messenger, Mobile, Spaces) and Collaboration (Alerts, Office Live Workspace, SkyDrive, SharedView) and then with a large footprint in both these areas: email.  This all ties together through the use of a LiveID, and the possibilities here are almost endless.

The Live ID service, which is Microsoft’s Single Sign On service, enables access to all of these things using an a simple username and password. This username can be YOUR school’s or college’s email address which has simply been associated with our service; think of it as a visa stamp on your passport (hold on, didn’t the service used to be called that? :)).  One of the benefits of the Live@Edu service today is that Microsoft can help you light all of this up in an automated, managed fashion, and put control into your hands through our provisioning tools…which in the case of Exchange Labs (for example) creates not only a mailbox for a user, but the associated LiveID as well.

Lets have a look at some of the other services:

An instant messaging service that allows you to connect to others via text, voice, or video.  Users are not restricted to only being able to interact with other Messenger users, they can also interact with users of Yahoo! and even federate with users of our enterprise solution, Office Communication Server.  Students could use this to interact in real time with each other on a collaborative project.

A blogging and social networking platform that people can use to create a blog, publish photos and connect with others.  I make extensive use of this as you have witnessed…I have seen students use this platform for work in social media projects, as a rich resume for their work, as a launching point for other Live Services they may use (such as SkyDrive), and more.

Offers a wide range of Live services for the mobile platform such as mail, search, spaces, messenger so that you can always be connected.  Mobile devices is a primary means of communication for many students, so it is important that they have the same level of access to services (messenger, email, search) when they need them…our Mobile offering provides a rich, dedicated experience for that.

Aligns tightly with Live Messenger and Live Mobile, and allows users to get notification of time-sensitive events and information from various alert content providers. Users are able to choose how and when to receive alerts, so that users may stay informed no matter where they are.  A college could make use of the alerts service in a number of ways, to the benefit of their students: room changes for classes, assignments due, etc.

Office Live Workspace:
A workspace is an online storage and collaboration service for Microsoft Office files and the majority of other common file formats. Documents are stored on servers in the cloud and can be made available to individuals that have been granted access to them. The service also features shared calendars and task lists.  Image a student using this service in a group project environment where different students can all contribute to the development of an assignment.

This is quickly becoming the USB Stick in the sky amongst students…but with added benefits.  It allows users to upload their files to the cloud, and then access them from a web browser. SkyDrive makes use of our LiveID service to control access to files the user has put there, allowing them to keep the files private if they want, share with their Live contacts contacts, or make the files completely public.

Shared View:
Microsoft SharedView allows a user to create a real time shared desktop environment with up to 15 other people who can be in different locations, but who are all connected to the Internet; users can be invited to join a session by email or Messenger. They are able to communicate with each other by being able to view each other’s screens and take control them if the host user permits it. Presentations or files, can be broadcast by one to all users. If SharedView is installed, it will integrate with Microsoft Office Applications and Messenger.

Then there are always a range of new services in the pipeline from the Live Stable that educational institutions will be able to use in the teaching and learning environment upon release.  Other services I am starting to see schools and colleges make use of are things like Silverlight for the hosting and streaming of videos, Tafiti search for research, amongst others.

…and finally there is Exchange Labs…our flagship Live@Edu hosted email solution.  So there you go…I hope that sets the scene.

More content to come from me…demos, etc!


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