The Office 365 update that includes the 2013 product versions of Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Office will be available February 27th. This is a fundamental shift in our business that began several years ago and continues today with the release of Office 365 Home Premium. This is a brand new Office never experienced before. For the first time, consumers can subscribe to Office as a service instead of purchasing Office as a piece of software to install. The new Office subscription is an entirely new way to think about the productivity experience with entirely new benefits.
Office 365 Home Premium subscribers receive all the full-featured Office applications they know and love, together with impressive new cloud and social benefits built in. One subscription can run the service on up to five devices, all for just $99.99 a year. People will love instant access to all their documents and settings across their devices and how Office takes full advantage of the new Windows 8 touch interface. They’ll love staying connected to the people and information they care about. And they’ll love having the latest version of Office at all times because it simply updates without the hassle of purchasing and upgrading to a new version. Smaller businesses are also choosing Office 365 at a rapid pace, with a 150 percent increase in the number of small and medium-sized businesses using the service over the past 12 months. These businesses will get to enjoy the new Office 365 service for businesses beginning Feb. 27.
More and more BVA is getting requests for solutions wrapped around instant messaging and web collaboration. It’s amazing how popular it has become and have a feeling it is due to the large push in the consumer area with Skype, MSN, Yahoo, and other interfaces. It seems like the need for communication with other employees and friends on the fly is starting to become not a benefit but a need. Especially with the push of IM on mobile devises has really has changed they way people communicate. Microsoft Lync 2010 is a re-branding of the company’s Office Communications software suite. This old but new offering focuses on business users for enterprise VOIP (voice over IP), instant messaging, video and audio conferencing, and application and desktop sharing. Lync will operate in conjunction with other software platforms such as Microsoft Office, SharePoint and Exchange. Forrester estimates that the overall unified communications market will be worth $14.5 billion by 2015. I had the pleasure of seeing Lync in action, which on the fly allowed groups of users to interface via voice or video, all while collaborating on a PowerPoint document. Because Lync integrates multiple services such as instant messaging, video and voice into a single client experience, experienced users can simultaneously juggle multiple tasks and calling partners. Microsoft formally launched Lync 2010 in November and has been in Beta with some large clients over the last 10 months. Microsoft’s Lync Website offers a free trial of the software, which will be available December 1. Mobile clients for the Apple iPhone, Nokia phones and Windows Phone 7 are expected within the year. Lync’s other features include the ability to select multiple people from a contact list to make a group call; test a network connection before initiating a video call; and flipping through instant messenger, video, and document-collaborating within the same client experience. Integration with services such as Exchange means that Lync will auto-update its users’ statuses, for instance if they’re in a meeting or otherwise away from their desk. Lync also interfaces with Windows Live Messenger and even Kinect, with users able to activate a video conference through gestures.
Microsoft Lync Website
Retail Pricing Construct
|Server license offerings
|Lync Server 2010 Standard Edition
|Lync Server 2010 Enterprise Edition
|Lync Server 2010 Standard CAL
|Lync Server 2010 Enterprise CAL
|Lync Server 2010 Plus CAL
BVA has reviewed and looked at the new Microsoft Lync. The new name for the next generation of our real-time communications products, known until today as Communications Server and Communicator. Over the last five years Microsoft has been on a journey to transform communications with the power of software. Lync delivers on this vision by unifying enterprise voice, instant messaging and web, audio and video conferencing into a new, connected communications experience. A key part of the release is the re-branding to Microsoft Lync. Lync, a combination of “link” and “sync”, is about connecting people in new ways anytime, anywhere. Beyond simplifying and shortening the current branding, customer research found that the name Lync appeals to end users and IT pros, even more than descriptive options like Communicator. This could seriously be an alternative to an on-site VOIP phone system via reliability, feature set, integration with Microsoft technologies, as well as cost.
The feedback on Lync 2010 has been pretty good from initial testers. Here is a sample of the types of comments that Microsoft got from the TAP programs and internal beta:
- “Just love, love, love the new UI.”
- “An incredibly comprehensive set of tools, including integration into workflow with SharePoint”
- “Everything I’ve tried to do, I’ve been successful so far.”
- “[OCS 14] looks more user-friendly and visually it’s like, ‘wow’. It looks better and aesthetics are a lot better, especially when you are using an application nine hours a day.”
- “The overall user experience is more engaging, convenient, and social-oriented, when compared to 2007 or 2007 R2. Thank you! :-)”
I’ve been using Lync – and as my only ‘phone’ – for the past month and the experience has been pretty solid. A few of my favorite features:
1. Switch between your head-set and phone in the middle of a call with device switching.
2. Gotta run? Leave the office and take your call with you on your mobile phone.
3. Select multiple people and click to make a group call, and then drag-and-drop someone into the conference from Outlook.
4. Connect with family while you’re travelling – start a high-definition voice and video conversation with a Windows Live Messenger user.
5. Hush that annoying meeting participant. When someone is causing bad audio on the conference call, Lync will identify which phone to mute to improve quality – and productivity.
Something to consider moving forward when looking at different communication methods. Is VOIP the way to go?