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Five reasons Microsoft Lync 2013 matters

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Microsoft Lync 2013 

Lync 2013 has a variety of benefits that businesses can take advantage of to make internal and external communications more effective and efficient.

Lync, which comes bundled with Office 365 business subscriptions, is Microsoft’s server platform for unified communications. In a former life, it went by the longer, but more accurately descriptive name Office Communications Server. Lync ties real-time presence information with instant messaging, video conferencing, and voice communication, and it integrates with Exchange email and Microsoft Office applications.

Here are 5 reasons businesses can benefit from adopting Lync 2013:

1. HD video conferencing

Lync 2013 delivers support for 1080p HD resolution for video conferencing so participants have a sharp, clear display. Lync 2013 uses the standard video codecs like H.264 SVC to provide compatibility across a broader range of platforms and devices, and provide greater flexibility in terms of how video is delivered.

1. HD video conferencing

Lync 2013 delivers support for 1080p HD resolution for video conferencing so participants have a sharp, clear display. Lync 2013 uses the standard video codecs like H.264 SVC to provide compatibility across a broader range of platforms and devices, and provide greater flexibility in terms of how video is delivered.

3. Web app

Beyond the actual Lync client software, and the Lync Mobile apps, Microsoft also introduced a Web app for Lync 2013. Users can join a Lync Meeting from Windows or Mac OS X using a Web browser, and still have access to all of the features of Lync, including HD video, VoIP (Voice over IP), instant messaging, and desktop sharing.

4. Skype federation

As great as Lync is, you will run into plenty of partners, vendors, and customers who don’t use it. Skype, on the other hand, is a very popular and free communications tool—and Microsoft owns that as well. Lync has always provided the option to integrate and communicate with Windows Live Messenger, but Microsoft is phasing that platform out and driving users over to Skype instead. Lync 2013 extends communications to Skype with presence, instant messaging, and voice capabilities.

. Office 365

Small and medium businesses—or even larger businesses for that matter—can take advantage of Lync 2013 as a function of the new Office 365 offering. Lync is not part of the standard Office 365 Home Premium service, but for $150 per user per year the Office 365 Small Business Premium offering includes Lync, as well as Exchange and SharePoint hosted and supported by Microsoft so you don’t have to invest in or manage the backend server infrastructure yourself.

The Office 365 element is arguably the most compelling aspect of Lync 2013. There are other video conferencing solutions, like Cisco Webex or Citrix GoToMeeting, but they can be costly and only provide the video conferencing piece. Office 365 makes sense for most business customers, and the addition of Lync, Exchange, and SharePoint for only $50 per user per year more make it an even greater value.

Microsoft has also made some substantial improvements in the look and feel of Lync 2013—making it easier to facilitate Lync Meetings, and presenting a cleaner, more intuitive interface for users. For some businesses, Skype alone may be enough, but businesses that want more robust, comprehensive communication tools should take a look at what

Lync 2013 has to offer.

 

 

 


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What’s new with Lync 2013 – Features and enhancements!

What’s new with Lync 2013 – Features and enhancements!

Lync is Microsoft’s offering for unified communications, also as a part of O365.

Lync 2013 is the next version of the Lync 2010 (current).

Lync 2013 provides you with a seamless and exciting experience across computers, devices, web and phones with three fundamentals:

  • Communicate (have conversations with Microsoft Office Users (internal and external))
  • Collaborate (Web conferencing, Voice Conferencing, Office Integration)
  • Any (where, device, time):  works on the web, mobile devices

Lync 2013 is a gripping upgrade on features offered by Lync 2010. It will increase collaboration experience to a new level becoming all the more cloud ready.

TOPOLOGY ENHANCEMENTS:

  • IPv6
    • IPv6 has been introduced.
    • Lync still continues to work in IPv4 environment too
  • Persistent Chat Server
    • Helps comply with data privacy regulations by defining  servers in the Topology Builder with other roles
    • Upto 80K simultaneous endpoints
    • Accessed thru Lync client
    • HA (High Availability)
    • Built-in Lync Administration
    • DR (Disaster Recovery)Support
  • Architecture
    • SQL Mirroring
    • User Groups which provide distributed services to users
    • Lync 2010 had 8 front ends while Lync 2013 has  12-20 front ends
    • Lync 2010 had a tightly coupled back end while 2013 has a loosely based one
    • In Lync 2010, Database was used to note presence updates while in 2013 the dynamic data updates are managed by Front end servers
  • VDI Plugin
    • Supports PC and thin clients, major VDI vendors
    • Plugin for audio and video re-directions
    • Office/Line of Business application integratin
    • Device integration
    • Call Admission Control, Location. Call Park
    • IM/Presence
    • Data Collaboration
  • Skype Federation Support
    • Inter-operable with third parties
    • Open Federation
  • Security
    • Authentication and authorization is good
    • It also accelerates protocol validation
    • RBAC custom roles for enterprise
  • Scalability:
    • Can be scaled up by addition of Front end servers resulting in upto – 12-20 servers per pool, 200,000 active users, 1 million provisioned users
    • Distributed workload
    • Move users across pool
    • Mutliple versions of Lync in same environment
  • High Availability- to ensure HA for Lync 2013, we have Lync 15 Bricks
    • Lync 15 Bricks are front end servers which will be used during scale out scenarios
    • What do these Bricks do?  They streamline the Front End Servers (3 FE servers take care of backup copies, manage user state)
    •  Each user will be mapped to a Group, which will be allocated to 3 FE servers with a pool (Primary, Secondary and a tertiary)
    • If the primary has issues, secondary gets activated.
    • Changes to user’s data will be replicated synchronously to secondary and tertiary along with 3 replicas
  • Voice
    • Lync 2010- 1:N
    • Lync 2013- M:N
    • Uses TLS+SRTP for multiple interactions
    • Better resiliency and internetworking
    • No other additional server required
    • Support for inter-trunk routing, allowing Lync to act as an intermediate medium between two or more mediums
    • Centralized Management
    • Delegate capabilities

Modes of Deployment:

The Lync 2013 server comes in three deployment modes

a.    Lync On Premises: 

  • As the name suggests, this is a complete package for an on-premise model.
  • All installations and maintenances of servers occur by your organization. This entails all features of Lync.
  • Is the perfect choice for integrating  Enterprise Voice with an existing PBX system
  • Works with SharePoint Online and Exchange
  • Highly flexible

b.   Lync Online:

  • Again, as the name suggests this model is based on cloud/online services.
  • Provides IM, conferencing and voice within the organization
  • Offers less administration complexity
  • 2 plans
    • Basic plan which covers IM, Audio calls (PC-2-PC), web conferencing.
    • Advanced plan which provides outgoing and incoming  calls to public networks (requires a purchase of this calling feature from O365)

c.    Lync Hybrid:

  • As the name indicates, this is a combination of both on-premise and online sharing the same domain.
  • 2 plans
    • Hybrid Lync Server- On premises Lync server workable with Lync Online solution
    • Hybrid Voice- On Premise Lync Enterprise Voice to enable users to make/receive calls
  • Some specific considerations will be required in on-premises
    • ADFS server running on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
    • A DirSync Server
    • Lync Server 2013
    • Lync Server 2013
    • Microsoft SQL Server Instance

New Add-ons in Lync Meetings:

a.    H.264 SVC Support and Multiparty HD video Gallery

  • High Definition video presented in a video gallery (both Lync Meetings and P2P calls)
  • Ability to select the people to see/speak
  • Allocate a speaker (primary) that the audience can look, hear
  • Detects the current speaker and sets the angles accordingly

b.   Lync Web App for browser access to Lync Meetings

  • Create and join online meetings from Outlook Web App
  • One click Lync meeting from Exchange OWA
  • Permits scheduling changes

c.    Content Sharing

  • PowerPoint broadcasting and upload- Web app (WAC) for sharing ppts

i.    Slides can have animations

ii.    Speakers notes can be viewed as well while presenting

iii.    The new look and feel to the thumbnails and notes experience are aligned with Office 365

iv.    Gives the flexibility to control the slide flow to the presenter or if the presenter wants can give permissions to attendees to navigate as well

  • Play multimedia files (during and post meeting)-  supports WMV, H.264, YouTube- upto 50+MB

i.    Attendees will be muted automatically during a video

ii.    Presenter has the ability to navigate the video

  • View capabilities individual dashboards for active speaker, content only, people only and people & content

d.    Exchange Integration:

  • Requires Exchange 2013 Server
  • Discovery across Exchange, Lync and SharePoint
  • Archives stored in Exchange user mailboxes
  • DR
  • Active Directory based authentication

e.    Administration

  • Single dashboard with end to end visibility
  • Simple and efficient

f.     One Note

  • Great application to make notes
  • Integrates well with Outlook and Lync
  • Ability to share meeting notes with users (grants flexibility to decide which user should receive)

g.    Archiving

  • IMs, ppts, meeting attendance, whiteboard get archived
  • One Archive Policy and Store
  • Provides a very compliant experience

h.   Mobile Presence

Mobile clients will be able to make audio and video calls from device.

  • Contacts (Photo contact list, contact card, enterprise search, distribution groups)
  • Audio Conferencing (Meetings environment, click to join audio conference)
  • Presence (My status, contact presence)
  • Voice (Single number reach, voice mail, call forwarding setting)
  • Instant Messaging (Point to Point (P2P) IM, group conversations)
  • Single Client and User Identity

i.     Video

  • This version has scaled up the life-like video experience to new heights. It has multi view windows to know who is around, who is talking.
  • Enables multiple HD video conferencing with users (upto 250 users conference)
  • Indicators to let you know if there is a video call
  • Alignment and Positioning of camera for best view
  • Cost effective (software based)
  • Highly interoperable (Tele-Presence and Video Conferencing)

j.     Reporting

  • Reports are generated from SQL Server
  • System Center takes care of communication issues

To conclude, Lync2013 definitely has hi-end features that can make Business Communications (internal and external) extremely efficient and effective. It does provide a beguiling experience- anywhere, anytime… The entire layout of Lync has been made lot cleaner and user friendly this time.

For organizations that would want robust unified communications – this is the ultimate choice which can deliver world class services for your Infrastructure.