Introduced in LCS 2005 SP1 and continued in OCS 2007, Public IM Connectivity (PIC) provides organizations the ability to federate with MSN, AOL, and Yahoo! IM users. There are a few things that are useful to know about the provisioning process before you get started.
Before you can even begin, you must have a licensing agreement in place with Microsoft. These are coordinated through Microsoft's reseller channel, so whomever sells you your regular Microsoft licenses can verifiy whether or not you have a licensing agreement in place. Examples of licensing agreement types are Open Value, Select, and Enterprise Agreement (EA). Once you have this in place you can purchase PIC licenses. I've found that many resellers are not familiar with PIC licenses, and you can help them find them by instructing them to search for the phrase "pblc" in their system. Microsoft's license description does not spell out the word "public" in the name of the product, so if they search for that they will receive little to no results (see http://www.cdw.com/shop/search/results.aspx?key=pblc as an example). Once they find the licenses you will have various options of the duration to purchase (12 months, 36 months, etc.). For more details on licensing see my OCS 2007 Licensing Explained post.
Once the licenses are purchased and processed through Microsoft your license management area on Microsoft's licensing site will have a new form available to fill out to begin the provisioning process. To complete that form you need a few pieces of information:
- The SIP domain which will be used for PIC federation (for example, microsoft.com)
- The external FQDN of the Access Proxy (LCS) or Access Edge (OCS) that will handle the PIC connectivity. While it's not necessary for this server to be up and running yet, it's very important to get this right - each PIC provider will establish federation to your domain name via the FQDN you specify here. If you change the name later you will have to wait for each provider to update it.
- Contact information. The e-mail address you specify here will be used for all PIC provisioning communication.
- Which PIC providers to federate with. You can choose any or all of the three providers.
Once this is complete you will begin receiving e-mails from the PIC provisioning team. One of the first things they check is whether or not your domain is being used for any EASI (e-mail as sign in) MSN Messenger accounts. An example of an EASI account is when someone registers for MSN Messenger using an @myisp.net or @mycompany.com address. Users who have MSN Messenger accounts at your domain will receive an e-mail stating that their account will need to be changed if they would like to continue using MSN Messenger. If they don't do this proactively then the first time they sign on after the change has been made they will be led through the process of changing their MSN sign-in. This does not impact people who are only using their MSN Passport for non-IM use. As a side note, you can request the PIC team to provide you with the number of EASI ids in your domain but they will not supply any identifying information about the accounts due to the privacy agreement in place with the end user.
Once all this is has happened the provisioning process begins. Officially it takes up to 30 days for it to complete, but historically AOL will complete in 24-48 hours, Yahoo! in 2-4 days, and MSN in 5-10 days. As each one gets enabled you can start to use it, but you will not get a notification from Microsoft that provisioning is complete until all 3 have reported back as complete.
To actually have this working in OCS all you have to do is enable and define a route for federation (in the global settings federation tab) that points to the internal interface of your Edge server and ensure that the PIC providers are enabled on your Edge server properties. Here are a some screen shots of those areas:
Edge Server IM Providers
Global Settings - Edge Servers