Browsing Posts tagged Lync

Bob here.  I’ve had several discussions with companies about how Microsoft is looking to use Lync, along with Skype, to muscle into the telephony world, actually replacing old phone systems (ie, PBX’s and the like).

This is a good (somewhat techie) article discussing that very process.  However, most of the discussion is centered on the on site Lync implementations.  I think we’re going to see additional movement in late 2015-2016 timeframe where smaller organizations (

This article excerpt, by Kevin Kieller, originally appeared here: http://ubm.io/1AZQH5S


Microsoft Lync has had a good year in 2014, with a reported 5 million Lync voice seats now deployed and an ecosystem expanding around the tool. This isn’t to say there aren’t challenges ahead, though, especially as Microsoft moves ahead on its Skype for Business rebranding initiative. Let’s take a closer look at this year’s highlights and next year’s intentions.

As noted, Microsoft has reported deployment of some 5 million Lync voice seats in 2014. Other voice-related Lync highlights include:

  • Lync ranks third among IP PBX vendors in North America in organizations with more than 100 extensions, as noted by Peter Hale, an enterprise consultant with UK-based telecom and IT analyst firm MZA, at Enterprise Connect 2014 in March.
  • In October, for the first time ever, Gartner placed Microsoft in the Leaders section of the Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony.
  • As part of its report, Gartner rated Microsoft as the seventh-largest global corporate telephony vendor with significant annual growth––of 106%––in 2013.

Along with these rating and deployment successes, the Lync software, hardware and services ecosystem continued to grow:

  • An increasing number of IP phone set device vendors, including Polycom, Aastra, HP, snom, AudioCodes, Logitech and Spectralink, now support Lync.
  • A growing variety of USB audio and video devices support Lync: 34 wired headsets, 34 wireless headsets, 14 webcams and 11 USB speakerphones.
  • 55 SIP trunking service providers are qualified to connect with Lync 2013 (and 57 qualified with Lync 2010).
  • The number of Lync-compatible choices for gateways, survivable branch appliances and session border controllers is growing.
  • Lync Room Systems are now available from Crestron, Polycom and Smart.
  • Microsoft now has 81 certified Lync support partners, including 16 global support partners.
  • Lync functionality is expanding via a growing catalog of add-in applications for contact center, reporting, attendant console, recording, knowledge reinforcement and more (see the Office TechCenter for the most up-to-date list of qualified Lync infrastructure components).

And yet with all of the success in 2014, many enterprise communications managers still aren’t convinced that Lync alone can act as a PBX replacement. Consider these results from an attendee quick poll taken during my keynote for the recent Enterprise Connect/No Jitter virtual event, “Microsoft Lync: What Is the Impact for Your Enterprise?” (available on demand). When asked, “What do you think about Lync as a PBX replacement?,” respondents said:

  • Lync can be a PBX replacement: 38%
  • I would combine Lync and a traditional PBX: 40%
  • I would never trust Lync as my PBX: 7%
  • I am using Lync as my PBX: 15%

In 2014 the challenges associated with implementing Lync successfully remain much the same as over the past several years. These are:

  • Convincing naysayers that Lync absolutely can serve as a PBX replacement.
  • Realizing that implementing quality of service/class of service to prioritize real-time traffic on the network is a must.
  • Assembling a team with network, telecom, application and change management skills.
  • Recognizing that after you build your Lync environment you need the tools and skills to manage it (ongoing support often requires very different skills than design and implementation).
  • Committing to monitoring and driving quality, usage and adoption.

Looking Ahead


On Nov. 11, Microsoft announced that the next version of Lync will be called Skype for Business and is expected for release during the first half of 2015.

While much of the focus has been on the new name for Lync, the transition to Skype for Business is much more than a simple rebranding.

The next version of Lync brings together the development teams and technologies associated with Lync and Skype and in doing so provides unique business-to-consumer opportunities as Lync plugs into the massive scale that Skype has achieved: more than 60 million concurrent users, more than 550 million registered users, and 2 billion minutes of communications per day.

Specifically, Skype for Business will let corporate users directly connect to external parties using their Skype ID … no more complex and confusing process whereby Skype users need to sign in with a Microsoft ID in order to connect. Already we are seeing improved video interoperability between Lync for Windows desktop and Skype.

Skype for Business will provide an improved and streamlined user interface. Blind and consultative transfers will take fewer clicks, a small item but one that has been a top user requested feature. Interestingly, the new Skype for Business client will include both the classic Lync interface and the new Skype UI. IT shops will be able to flip the UI for specific user groups through a central policy. This is one of the ways that Microsoft is trying to help smooth the transition to Skype for Business. The promised in-place server upgrades is a second feature designed to accelerate adoption.

Moving Forward


Looking to another poll from the Dec. 10 Lync virtual event, we see that organizations are at many different points in their UC journeys:

  • We are piloting/deploying UC from our incumbent PBX vendor: 22%
  • We are trying to decide which vendor’s UC platform to select: 15%
  • We have not begun piloting/deploying, and don’t expect to in 2015: 10%
  • We have not begun piloting/deploying, but plan to in 2015: 16%
  • We are piloting/deploying UC from a vendor other than our incumbent PBX vendor: 37%

I suspect that most of the 37% who responded that they are piloting a solution not from their incumbent PBX vendor may be piloting Lync. If you are in the process of piloting or upgrading to Lync 2013, then I would recommend that you move ahead. Being on the Lync 2013 platform will make transitioning to Skype for Business easier when you decide to do this.

Lync continued its upward trajectory in 2014 and so far 2015 is looking good for the Skype for Business nee Lync team.

Bob here.  When Microsoft Lync was first announced, my immediate response was “They combined Live Meeting and Office Communicator and gave it a traditionally lousy product name (click the Link that will connect through Lync).”

Actually it turns out (wait for it), I was wrong.  Big time.  Lync is actually one of the biggest improvements to the Office lineup that I’ve seen in a long time.  It’s extremely versatile, and the usage (especially in the non-Windows world) keeps improving.

Here’s a decent list of things you could be doing if you had Lync.

Btw, the name of the product?  Yeah, I stand by that verdict.  Great product, lousy product name.


This article excerpt, by Kristin Burnham, originally appeared here: http://ubm.io/1lqIxMe
Microsoft’s unified communications platform, Lync, is more than just enterprise instant messaging: Users can hold virtual meetings with co-workers, share presentations, videoconference, connect with federated users, place voice calls and more.
From holding virtual meetings to managing external contacts, here’s a look at 10 ways you can do more with Microsoft Lync:
1. Share your desktop.
Need to walk a member of your team through a process? Lync lets you share your desktop to make it easier.
At the bottom of the conversation window, click the monitor icon. Above it, make sure you’re viewing the Present tab. To share your content on your desktop, click the Desktop button — this will display your current view of your computer screen as you see it, including any other programs or browser tabs you have open.
If you only want to share your view of select programs or files, click the Program button next to Desktop, then choose from the list. When you’re done, click Stop Presenting from the sharing toolbar at the top.
2. Give and take control of a sharing session.
If you want another meeting participant to help you present or demonstrate something, Lync lets you grant others control of the sharing session. You can take back control anytime.
To start, click Give Control on the sharing toolbar, then select the name of the person you want to give control to. Lync will send that person a notification. To take back control, click the Give Control button again, then click Take Back Control.
3. Use Whiteboard to collaborate.
Whiteboard is a feature within Lync meetings that serves as a blank page where you and others can type notes, draw, and import images. This feature is especially helpful in discussing schematics or agendas, for example.
To open a new whiteboard, hover over the monitor icon and then click Whiteboard under the Present tab. A blank whiteboard will open on every participant’s view of the meeting. You can also view who added or changed content by hovering over non-text items, where you’ll see “created by” and “last modified” details. To view text modifications, point at the text, then hold the mouse over the solid rectangle that appears about the text.
Whiteboard will also recognize gestures if you open the feature using a touch-friendly device such as a tablet or presentation screen.
4. Preview video.
If you plan to hold or participate in a video meeting, it’s a good idea to preview how your video appears to check on variables such as lighting, framing, and your appearance.
5. Mute meeting participants.
Meetings with many attendees can be distracting if participants haven’t muted their phones. Luckily, Lync lets you mute either individual attendees or everyone on the call or in the meeting. To manage audio for individuals, select the microphone icon on top of the participant’s picture or video. To mute all participants, click the People icon, select the Actions tab, then Mute Audience.
6. Add your picture to Lync.
To add or update your photo, click your picture in the main Lync window. You can default to your corporate picture, if there is one, or upload a photo from a Web address. Note that this photo will also appear in other Office programs you might use, such as Outlook.
7. Add an external contact.
To add contacts from outside of your company, they must be federated, meaning their companies must allow identification and authorization outside their own organizations. To search for an external Lync user, type her email address into the search bar above your contact list. If she’s federated, you’ll be able to access her contact card and add her; if not, it will say “presence unknown.”
8. Block messages from external contacts.
If you don’t want to receive messages from users outside your company, click Options on the Actions menu and then click Permissions. Select the checkbox next to “Block messages from federated contacts that are not already in your Permissions list.”
9. Tag for status change alerts.
If you need to message a contact but he’s busy or in a meeting, right-click his name and select “Tag for Status Change Alerts.” Lync will alert you when your contact’s status changes to Available so you can get in touch.
10. Use skill search to find an expert.
If you’re looking for a colleague with a particular expertise, you can search for him or her using Lync’s skills option. To do this, begin typing keywords into the search box. Lync will return a list of colleagues whose skills from their SharePoint profiles match your request.

Announcing our first live Technical Webinar!  This free event will be held online only on Wednesday 24 April from 11am to noon (Eastern).

While configuring Office 365, you may find it easy to work with the portal in the web browser.  However, if you’re managing 10s, 100s, or even 1000s of users, it can be a tedious, extremely time consuming chore to maintain them through the GUI.  Scripting makes this a lot easier, and Microsoft’s preferred scripting language for working with Office 365 is PowerShell.  In this session, we will take a look at administrative tasks in Office 365 and how to accomplish them in PowerShell.

Our presenter is none other than Sarah Dutkiewicz (yup, Kevin’s wife).  She’s actually a Microsoft MVP in Visual C# and is deeply passionate about the technical community. Sarah’s many community activities include blogging, running a technical community website (Cleveland Tech Events), planning events, book writing, and speaking at local and regional conferences.  She is a co-author and technical editor of Automating Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Windows PowerShell 2.0 (ISBN 1118013867, Sybex).

For more information (and to register) click here.

Office 2013 LogoBob here.  The next version of Microsoft Office is here.  Mostly.  Sort of.

The first openly available version of the new Office, now officially called Office 2013, made its debut earlier this week.  Some of the key pieces of information about the new version:

  • You can have both worlds.  You can install the Office 2013 Consumer Preview (which is Latin for “Beta”) without removing your Office 2010.
  • A lot of the control/user interface changes are aimed at tablet users (not surprisingly).  Working with your fingers (thumbs specifically) through what’s called “touch mode” is aimed at the tablet folks.
  • You need to have Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) or Windows 8 Release Preview (the latest “Beta” version).  XP or Vista?  Ah, no.
  • A majority of interface changes are for tablet users.
  • Word and Excel can both be used for presentations.  You’ll be able to share a document with another user, even if that person doesn’t have Word or Excel.
  • Images from the web can be put into documents without downloading and saving them.
  • Office will be tightly integrated with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage offering.  For example, a document stored in SkyDrive can be opened by the same user on another workstation and will be bookmarked where the user left off.
  • Right now only Lync and OneNote are actually Metro-based applications.  Everything else still runs under Desktop Mode.
  • Release date?  Um, it’s called Office 2013, so that’s probably a first hint.
  • Thinking of buying Office 2013 when it comes out?  Get ready to download it.  Even stores won’t be carrying discs with the Office software.  You’ll buy a software license key, and then you’ll need to download it.

After using it for a couple of days on my Windows 8 tablet, I can say that it’s pretty stable, but the touch interface is a little…touchy.  More on that as I get more used to it.

Additional information:

Want to see more?  We’ll be demoing it at our annual picnic, Wednesday August 15th.  Plus our next monthly Lunchinar on Wednesday September 19th will feature Office 2013.  For more information on either event, contact John Harrow via email or call at 234.380.1277.

 

Brandon here! So I recently did some digging to get Lync working on the phones of my fellow Simplex colleagues and I thought you all might be able to get something out of this!

So here’s the situation. You have your shiny new Android/iPhone/Windows smartphone and your workplace is using Office365 (or if your company has a dedicated Lync server). You want to be connected to your colleagues at all times but it can tend to be difficult. You can always check your email, but maybe you need something faster. If you are at your computer you can start up Microsoft Lync and get connected, but what about when you are out and about?

For those who aren’t familiar with Lync, it’s a business tool to keep you in contact with your coworkers by syncing your Outlook contacts. It is fully featured to allow instant messaging, screen-sharing, video conferencing, file sharing, and more!

Well, your workplace communication on-the-go problems have been resolved. Upon the release of Lync, Microsoft also released an app for Android, iPhone (and iPad), and Windows Phone.

I’m going to show you how to properly configure Lync to work on your mobile device. For starters, you’re going to need to download the app onto your phone from the proper app store. You can search for the app on your phone, or go to the proper link provided below in your web browser.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.office.lync&hl=en

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-lync-2010-for-iphone/id484293461?mt=8

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/apps/9ce93e51-5b35-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

Once you have installed the app, let’s open it up and take a look!

Once you are in the app, you will be at the login screen. In order for Lync to work properly, you have to mess with some of the settings. Depending on your phone, you may have to select the drop-down menu to view more options and details, or open your menu button, then select options from there. After you are viewing the options, the rest is easy. You must make the settings as such:

Internal discovery address: https://webdir.online.lync.com/Autodiscover/autodiscoverservice.svc/Root

External discovery address: https://webdir.online.lync.com/Autodiscover/autodiscoverservice.svc/Root

After you have changed your settings to be this, you can go back into the main screen and login using your email address and password! Easy, right? From the app you can message, call, and look at information for all of your Lync contacts!

Make note that this is not as fully-featured as the computer version as it has been trimmed down to bare essentials for mobile use.

If you have any problems with the Lync 2010 mobile client there is a Microsoft Support article for the Android and iPhone/iPad operating systems.

Android: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2636313

iPhone/iPad: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2636320

Simplex-IT is happy to announce our February 2012 Lunchinar is now online and available for your viewing pleasure.

In this 1-hour presentation, Bob Coppedge begins by answering the question “What IS Unified Communications?” and continues by detailing the many features of Lync – audio and video conferencing, document and desktop sharing, etc. – and how they can benefit today’s small and medium organizations.

Through numerous live demonstrations, Bob shows that Lync is easy to use, very affordable and extremely powerful in its ability to offer numerous ways to communicate and collaborate with others – both within and outside your organization. Anyone interested in improving productivity through more effective communications should take the time to view this presentation.

Oh, and don’t forget to sign up for our March 21 Lunchinar on Storage Area Networks. To learn more about it, see the separate blog entry on this website.

Now, grab some popcorn, click the thumbnail below and enjoy the presentation!

The article “Desktop Videoconferencing Ready For Wide Use” in the January 30, 2012 issue of Information Week magazine  provides us with a glimpse into the very near future, where individuals in diverse locations around the globe can videoconference right from the comfort and convenience of their own desktop PC.  The hero of the story is the H.264 SVC (Scalable Video Coding) codec. It’s this compression technology that is responsible for finally making high-definition videoconferencing over the Internet feasible for business use.

Not only does the technology make this collaboration and communication possible, it does so at an attractively low cost. As the attendees at Simplex-IT’s February Lunchinar on Unified Communications learned, Microsoft Lync. for example, can bring a wealth of conferencing options to small and medium organizations for as little as $2/user/month. If a company is trying to find a way to lower travel expenses, this technology could be just what you’re looking for.

Click here to read the complete report. Then contact Simplex-IT if you want to know more about implementing this great low cost technology at your organization.

Today’s workers are ALL mobile, whether they are on the road or not; a recent study found the average employee was at his or her desk only 40% of the time. Yet most companies’ communications infrastructure is designed for a deskbound workforce. Happily there IS a better way!

During Simplex-IT’s next free lunchinar, you will learn about Microsoft Lync, an often under-appreciated component of Office 365. Offering secure instant messaging, Internet-based voice, video conferencing, collaborative whiteboarding, presence and seamless document sharing on almost any device, Lync is transforming business productivity. If you’d like to see how your information workers can get more done in less time, this presentation is for you!

Where: Hattie’s Café, 164 N. Main Street, Hudson
When: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 from 11:30am-1:00pm

As a bonus, we will be awarding door prizes of Windows 7 and Office 2010 to two lucky attendees. Free food AND free software – how awesome is that!

We remind you, though, seating is limited. To reserve yours, email John@Simplex-IT.com or call 234.380.1277. Come join the fun!