Microsoft launches Lync – unified comms goes to the cloud

17 Nov 2010

Microsoft has announced the general availability of its next generation of unified communications Microsoft Lync, which brings a unified IM, presence, audio and video conferencing capability to Microsoft 365.

Lync is a single platform that integrates instant messaging, presence, audio, video, web conferencing and voice to bring people together through a single interface.

The Lync interface will be able to work through Microsoft Office, SharePoint and Exchange systems.

“We are excited about Lync availability as it offers a unified IM, presence, audio, video and web conferencing experience that is easy to use, either from the new Lync application or directly from Office, SharePoint and Exchange,” said Jeremy Showalter, information worker business manager, Microsoft Ireland.

“We are also excited about Lync Online availability to businesses of all sizes as part of Office 365 in 2011,” Showalter said.

From today, users can download a free trial version of Lync, and business customers can purchase Lync beginning 1 December, Microsoft said.

Three screens to unite them

The company said that Lync-based solutions will continue to be developed across a wide spectrum of PCs, browsers and mobile devices in keeping with its “three screens” vision.

The Estee Lauder Companies, Nikon, Marquette University, France Telecom, Boeing and Shell are embracing Lync and can expect to see new levels of efficiency, productivity and return on their IT investment and Ireland already has a number of companies and partners working on Lync Beta.

Forrester Consulting recently published a Total Economic Impact report that found Lync 2010 offers customers 337pc return on investment with a payback period of 12 months.

Microsoft partners are announcing more than 70 new devices, including IP phones, PCs and USB devices optimised for Lync.

Hundreds of system integrators – including HP, BT, Dell and Dimension Data – are ready to deploy the system and more than 100 application developer partners are developing on the Lync platform covering applications like call centre, call accounting, call analysis solutions and line of business applications.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years