BT Group Plc has made a series of announcements with Microsoft Corp around business productivity, including middleware to sit between a PBX and Microsoft's Live Communications Server (LCS) and integration of the US software giant's Live Meeting into BT's MeetMe conferencing service.
This is the second major announcement that I've seen about service providers leveraging LCS to enable hosted applications to interface with LCS (the previous one being from Broadsoft). In addition to conferencing, BT's "iBridge" middleware will enable interconnectivity between LCS and Cisco and Nortel IP PBXs (with Avaya and Siemens support on the way).
This is yet another example of the potential for LCS to evolve into a full-fledged IP-PBX, or at least as a gateway to enable telephony features to be accessed via Office Communicator (formerly Istanbul). The introduction of hosted services adds yet another wrinkle, enabling enterprises to outsource telephony features and PSTN connectivity.
BT is also integrating it's audio conferencing service into LCS to enable web conferencing support as well. With these and other recent announcements, LCS is quickly gaining the potential to be a single platform capable of unifying enterprise communications and collaboration.