In an effort to expand end-user satisfaction with its Unified Communications platform, Microsoft has recently revamped and renamed it Lync. Microsoft’s idea behind the new Lync platform is to fully integrate phone, IM, e-mail and office services into one localized platform that is both easy-to-use and powerful.
Ideally, Microsoft is aiming to make the Lync suite of services available “out of the box” to limit the amount of IT support that the platform will need. By solidifying all communications into one local platform, the hope is that the overall cost for businesses will decrease. Instead of paying for multiple systems, Lync is intended to provide businesses with a central solution for everything from virtual private serves to PBX and email hosting, all at a single cost. By also integrating Microsoft office functionality and keeping the visual experience of Lync consistent across applications, Microsoft aims to create a visually compelling office experience that provides room for business and social connections.
Lync can be deployed as either fully on-premise and server-based or can be hybridized between on-site and cloud hosting options. Both choices include Microsoft Office’s 365 services, but Lync on-site requires that a company run Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server, and every instance of on-site Lync use requires its own license.
The entirety of the Lync system is both flexible and scalable, but here are a few of the standout options:
- A full suite of voice features that can be used to supplement or replace an existing PBX system and that can perform all of its functions outside the office by way of a secured Internet connection, rather than a VPS or VPN.
- A new client interface featuring a substantially improved IM which can interface with other IMs, e-mail and voicemail.
- Group chatting including chat histories, email archiving and the ability to post files, pictures and videos to aid in the discussion.
- Business social networking designed to pull from hosted SharePoint data to find people with particular skill sets or expertise.
- HD conferencing with 360-dergee panorama videos of meetings, along with the ability of the system to detect and display the active speaker in the room.
In addition, functionality of Lync at the administrator level is also high, giving those with the proper permissions control over all telephone communications options, and allows a direct call function both internally and externally.
Two editions of the 2010 Lync server are currently available – Standard and Enterprise, with both sharing the same feature set. Enterprise differs only in its ability to scale up and expand as a larger business does. Both systems use the Active Directory feature for authentication.
- Virtual server hosting prompts businesses to pursue Microsoft Lync 2010
- Microsoft using virtualization to deploy full-scale cloud offerings
- Microsoft SQL Server can empower data centers
- Plesk among most popular virtual control panels
- Microsoft upgrades desktop virtualization to ease enterprise transition to Windows 7