Global Economy, Global Addresses
Expected within the next few months, Microsoft will take the first steps of enabling Email Address Internationalization (EAI) support in Office 365. EAI is a broad category encapsulating any non-English typography; from diacritical marks to complete scripts, any written language may eventually be usable in Microsoft email addresses and thus Active Directories.
Note, however, that the coming changes will not initially support adding EAI addresses for Office 365 users or Internationalized Domains to Office 365 organizations. At this first step, users will be able to send and receive mail from international addresses and admins will be able to use them for some specific Office 365 features.
Jeff Guillet’s article explores the issues these changes may cause in the short term, as legacy systems will need to be adapted and enterprises running a hybrid configuration may not initially be able to take advantage of the new features. Tony Redmond also recently dove into the history and challenges of Microsoft’s adoption of EAI in Office 365.
While the slow process of rolling out EAI may make life difficult in the short term—especially for hybrid enterprises—in the long run this can only be for the best. In an increasingly globalized economy, it becomes ever more critical to communicate clearly and efficiently with far-flung business partners and contractors. Giving non-English speakers the tools to represent themselves accurately can only aid that goal.