Microsoft Lync Delivers The Solution – What’s the Question?
One of the hottest tech subjects this year has been Microsoft Lync Server 2010. If you didn't already know, Microsoft Lync can replace or enhance your old phone system with a modern and feature rich platform, but what else can your business do with this comprehensive all-in-one telephony, video conferencing and communication solution?
Microsoft Lync ushers in a new connected user experience transforming every communication into an interaction that is more collaborative, engaging, and accessible from anywhere. For IT, the benefits are equally powerful, with a highly secure and reliable system that works with existing tools and systems for easier management, lower cost of ownership, smoother deployment and migration, and greater choice and flexibility.
To help outline the benefits of Microsoft Lync we interviewed Barry Byrne, Senior Technical Engineer, and Mike Nicholas, Operations Director, to find out how Nexus has helped large and small organisations to replace and upgrade their communication systems with Microsoft Lync Server 2010. We asked Barry and Mike to answer the following questions based on their "real-world experiences".
Q - I want a new phone system, but I don’t have the budget or time to do it all at once, can Lync help?
A - You don't have to deploy all the components of Microsoft Lync from the outset. For example you could just roll out IP telephony and instant messaging to a select number of users. At a later date you can migrate all the other users and implement video conferencing or other advanced features. Nexus recently installed Microsoft Lync for a customer and configured it to route voice traffic through a NET Media gateway. This allowed users of their old phone system to communicate with and use the same interface as users on the new Microsoft Lync phone system. The customer could then spread the cost of new handsets and engineering support by rolling the project out in smaller stages.
Q - I have multiple offices and I need to reduce the costs of travelling for meetings; I would also like the option of only having one telephone number that follows me, will Lync help with this?
A - We recently worked with a customer that has offices in many locations across the UK. By using Microsoft Lync video conferencing capabilities they have been able to dramatically reduce their travel expenses and time spent out of the office without the need for dedicated conferencing equipment. Being able to use non-geographical portable telephone numbers via SIP trunking has also proved beneficial as users can now have one telephone number and it will ring wherever they are logged in on their PC or mobile device.
Q - I don’t want to be tied to one vendor for the handsets; do I have to use a specified vendor?
A - The handsets, headsets and conference devices for Microsoft Lync are non-vendor specific, but there is a compatibility list of devices that are optimised for Microsoft Lync. Our customers can choose whatever vendor or feature set they need for each Microsoft Lync user, or standardise on specific equipment. Take a look at the Nexus online shop www.lyncstore.co.uk for Lync optimised handsets, headsets, webcams, conferencing devices and media gateways.
Q - I work in the education and academic sector; will Microsoft Lync be beneficial to me?
A - Our customers in the academic and education sector have been quick to realise the benefits of Microsoft Lync and the ability for students to collaboratively work on homework and projects by sharing windows applications including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint directly from their Microsoft Lync client software either from their homes or at school.
Another benefit for the academic, education or training sector is that teachers are able to record their lessons using webcams in the classroom or from any location. They can then stream the video feed to students anywhere in the world in real-time or save the video to a network drive or intranet. The teacher's webcam and computer desktop activity is captured as a video stream or file and this solution works well for students who live in remote areas or are unable to attend a class. This webinar style scenario can be deployed using Microsoft Lync without the need for expensive video conferencing equipment or additional licences.
Q - I want to be able to access our Microsoft Lync phone system when I’m not in the office, is this possible?
A - Yes, there is a Microsoft Lync Client application for all major mobile platforms including Android, Apple iOS and Windows Mobile. You can download the app onto your mobile phone or device and enjoy some of the key features of Microsoft Lync including voice and video calls, instant messaging and conferencing.
Q - I need to conduct a video conference and share documents with a third party who doesn’t have Microsoft Lync, can this be done?
A - This is a great feature. If you want to set up a video conference with someone who doesn’t have Microsoft Lync on their PC or at their organisation, you can direct them to download a free Windows application that allows them to connect to you and use the key features in Lync including voice and video calls, messaging and desktop and document sharing.
Q - Will Microsoft Lync integrate with our existing Microsoft platform and products?
A - Integrating Microsoft Lync and with other Microsoft products provides users with in-context access to the instant messaging (IM), enhanced presence, telephony and conferencing capabilities of Lync. Microsoft Office users can access Lync features from within the Microsoft Outlook client and other Office programs or from a SharePoint server page. Users can also view a record of Lync conversations, voicemails or missed calls directly from the Conversation history folder in Outlook.
About Microsoft Lync Server 2010
Unified Communication Experience
- Get easy access to presence, instant messaging, voice, audio, video, and web conferencing.
- Use one set of contacts across Microsoft Lync 2010 and Office applications.
- Find people, make connections, and communicate more effectively with new rich presence features.
Simple, Essential, Reliable Conferencing
- Schedule and join meetings with a single click in Microsoft Outlook or the meeting reminder.
- Place attendees in a virtual lobby for greater security and control over who can attend.
- Collaborate more effectively with built-in desktop and application sharing.
Complete Enterprise Voice Features
- Give users the telephony features that they need with the ability to work in the office, at home, or on the road.
- Architect your unified telephony deployment for high availability using data centre resiliency.
- Manage bandwidth utilisation and increase Quality of Experience with Call Admission Control and QoS markings.
Powerful Deployment and Management Tools
- Work with a PowerShell-based foundation for administration consistent with Exchange Server, Active Directory, and other Microsoft products.
- Get consolidated management tasks in one location with dramatically improved navigation through the new scenario-driven unified graphical management tool.
- Easily embed Microsoft Lync UI elements in your applications, build your own client experience in .NET with open and documented APIs.
- Get platform support for sophisticated help desk scenarios and deliver state-of-the-art speech technology in 26 languages.
- Significantly simplify deployment, operations, and interoperability with added features that improve provisioning, load-balancing, fail-over, and draining.