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Microsoft's Lync 2013 is a unified
communications application that enables users to talk to
each other in a variety of ways, using instant messaging, voice, or video. With
Lync, users can share their desktops and calendars and do live audio and
video conferencing. Lync also integrates with Microsoft
2013, and SharePoint,
and can incorporate an entire organizational phone system.
Microsoft has been
developing this astonishing communication hub for some years, and it is
particularly useful for telecommuters
or remote workers. It is easy to use for end users, though it requires professional
IT expertise to set up.
The best thing I've seen on what Lync 2013
can really do is Jason Perlow's
recent ZDnet piece, Why
I Love Lync 2013: A Telecommuter's Dream Come True. He is on a distributed
work team with members located in several different states. Lync is the tool that allows everyone to work together as effectively as
they might if they were in the same location.
Perlow explains, "The software
is fully integrated into Exchange, so whenever you set up a conference call,
you click a button for 'New Lync Meeting,' which sets up a virtual conference
line and the appointment blocked out in your Outlook calendar, along with the
meeting invites to the folks that need to join. When it comes time to call in,
you just click on 'Join Lync Meeting' in the meeting entry and everyone gets
connected to the conference."
just one thing it does. The software essentially addresses the problem of busy people struggling to get a hold of each other whenever they need
to. The software offers several ways to get in touch – office phone, mobile phone, tablet, instant message, email,
collaborative calendar, video conference, audio conference, and so on.
Lync 2013 is essentially enterprise software, which means
that it is designed for larger organizations or ones with a professional IT
staff or consultants able to set it up. The on-premises version of Lync
licensing for the back-end infrastructure, client
licensing that goes on the individual PCs, and different types of CALs (client
access licenses) depending on the number of functions the Lync 2013
architecture has. Lync Server fits on top of Windows
Server environments. Before placing donation requests for Lync 2013
licensing, it is advisable for you to work with IT staff or IT consultants to
devise an architecture plan for deployment.
Lync is a new
centerpiece of the new 2013 versions of Microsoft Office. Client licensing is
included in Office
Professional Plus 2013 and also Office
365 has an online version. There is also a Lync
Web App, which is the browser-based version of Lync 2010 that allows people
on either PC or Mac who don't have a Lync account or the Lync client software
to participate in Lync meetings. It's a free, light version of the application
that takes up very little hard drive space. It's a great way to see what Lync
can do. It includes instant messaging, phone-based audio, file distribution,
PowerPoint sharing, and desktop sharing.
We're so impressed with Lync
at TechSoup Global that we'll be deploying it across our four offices (two of
them in Europe) and for our teleworkers this year. We're going with a full-featured architecture, so our back-end Lync system will use fully a dozen
We'd love to hear about your experience with Lync, so feel free to share them in the comments.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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