Presence Status, Chat Room Member Status, and Instant Messaging

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Introduction

Presence Status

Chat Room Member Status

Starting an Instant Messaging Session with a Contact

Introduction

Group Chat reports your presence status and enables you to see the presence status of other people. Presence status, which is the colored circle next to a contact’s name, indicates a person’s willingness and availability to communicate. Green presence status, for example, indicates that a contact is Available for a conversation, whereas red presence status indicates that the contact is Busy and might not want to be interrupted.

When you use Group Chat, you might notice that chat room members appear and disappear. In addition to presence status, Group Chat also indicates a chat room's current participation status. For example, a chat room member only appears in the chat room Participant List if the member is signed in to Group Chat and is currently joined to the chat room that you are viewing. As you will learn in this topic, the presence status of a contact, and the availability of a contact in a chat room, determines how and when you start an instant messaging (IM) session with another person.

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Presence Status

The presence status appears next to users’ names, including yours, in several areas in the Group Chat client. You can use presence status to indicate your availability to communicate to other people. You can also use presence status to determine whether another contact is available for an IM conversation.

Group Chat and other Office Communications Server clients, such as Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2, 2007 R2 version of Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access, and Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile, are integrated with Office Communications Server so that presence status is continuously updated based on your activity, or in some cases, lack of activity. When you change your presence status in Group Chat, your presence status is immediately updated so that other users who are running Group Chat see your status change in their Group Chat. The available presence status options are as follows:

Presence Button

Status Text

Description

Green

Available

The contact is online and can participate in conversations. This status can be set manually by the user.

Orange

Busy
In a Call
In a Conference
In a Meeting

The contact is available but engaged in another activity. Activities include the following:
In a call The contact is in a phone, voice, or video conversation.
In a Conference The contact is in a multiparty conversation using phone, voice, or video.
In a Meeting The Microsoft Office Outlook calendar shows that the contact has a scheduled meeting.

Red

Do Not Disturb

You see this status for a contact if the contact has assigned you to an access level other than the Team access level and the following condition exists:
The contact has manually set their presence status to Do Not Disturb.

Orange

Urgent interruptions only

You see this status for a contact if the contact has assigned you to the Team access level and the following condition exists:
The contact has manually set their presence status to Do Not Disturb.

Yellow

Away
Out of Office
Be Right Back

The contact is probably not available. This status is displayed for the following reasons:
The contact’s computer has been idle for more than the idle time period setting—15 minutes by default.

Note: By default, the transition from Available to Inactive occurs after five minutes. Then, after 15 more minutes, the status changes to Away if there is still no activity on the computer.
A contact’s Office Outlook calendar or Out of Office Assistant tool indicates that they are out of the office.
The contact is temporarily unavailable. As soon as activity is detected on the contact’s computer, Office Communicator automatically resets the presence status to the appropriate state.
The contact has manually set their presence status to Away or Be Right Back.

Green and Yellow

Inactive

This contact may be available, but their computer has been idle for more than the idle time period setting—five minutes by default. In this state, the contact is online and transitioning from an Available state, as indicated by the half-green/half-yellow button. This status is set by Group Chat.

Yellow and Red

Busy (Inactive)

This contact is engaged in a meeting or is scheduled to be in a meeting (as indicated in the Office Outlook calendar), but their computer has been inactive for the idle time period setting—5 minutes by default. This status is set by Group Chat.

Red Circle with a Bar through the Circle

Blocked

This button is displayed in your Contact List next to the contact name that you have blocked. To the person who you have blocked, you seem to be offline.

Light Peach

Offline

The contact is not available. This status is displayed for the following reasons:
The contact has manually set their presence status to Appear Offline. (Appear Offline is not available in Group Chat. Users of Office Communicator might be allowed to use “Appear Offline” though.)
Office Communicator and Group Chat are not running on the contact’s computer, or the contact has not signed in. The contact has blocked you from seeing their presence status.

White

Presence unknown

Office Communicator cannot determine the status of the contact. This status is usually displayed because the contact’s presence status is stored on another computer system, such as that of an organization that is not a federated partner.

For more information about how Group Chat and Office Communicator 2007 R2 clients work when both are present, see Appendix B.

You can manually change your presence status to communicate your availability to other Group Chat users. For example, if you will be away from your desk for several minutes, you can set your presence status to Be Right Back.

To change your presence status

  • Click the Presence button, and then click the presence status icon.

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Chat Room Member Status

Each chat room has a Participant List that shows the active members of the chat room. Chat room members are considered active if they are signed in to Group Chat and they have joined the chat room. Chat room managers appear in the Participant List only if they are signed up as members of the chat room, they are signed in, and they have joined the chat room. Managers' names appear bolded in the Participant List. If a person belongs to a chat room and is signed in to Group Chat, the person’s name appears in the Participant List. If the person is not signed in to Group Chat, the person’s name does not appear in the Participant List.

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Starting an Instant Messaging Session with a Contact

Group Chat provides several ways to start an instant messaging conversation with a contact. For example, you can click a contact’s name in a chat room message area to start an instant messaging session or you can click a contact’s name in a chat room Participant List. Before you try to start an instant messaging session, check the contact’s presence status to make sure that it is Green – Available – before you send a message. Remember, you should only send an IM to a contact if the contact’s presence status is Available. If the contact is Away, for example, they will receive the instant message that you send but might not be present to read it in a timely manner. If the contact is Busy, you should probably try again later or interrupt the contact only if the message is urgent.

To start an insta nt messaging conversation

  1. Do one of the following:

    • In the Participant List, double-click the contact’s name.

    • If the contact is not available in the Participant List, search for the contact in My Chat, and then click the name if available. IM contacts are listed in My Chat chat rooms and filters.

    • If the contact is not available in My Chat, click Connect, click Add Contacts, and then type the first name, last name, or e-mail address of the person, and then click the magnifying glass icon. Select one or more users from the Search Results list, and click the Add button to add them to your My Chat list as Contacts. Click the new Contact’s name in your My Chat list.

    • To send an instant message without searching for a person, click the Go menu, and select Send an Instant Message. When the dialog box is displayed, enter the recipient's SIP address, and then press return.

  2. In the Message Entry Area, enter the message text, and then click Send. Contacts who are inactive or away will receive the message immediately but might not read it on their screen until they are actively using their computer again. Contacts who are offline will not receive any messages that are sent to them.

For more information about how to insert files, links, stories, or emoticons in instant messages, see the “Sending an Instant Message to a Chat Room” topic under Learning the Basics.

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