Instant messaging has the potential to be a huge productivity tool if implemented and used properly.

When I started my tenure at my current job, I quickly became aware that AOL Instant Messenger was the de facto standard for office communication.  This was very disconcerting as there are severe management and security issues with this “solution.”  I was accustomed to using Jabber also known as Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) at UCSD.

I am finally in a position to propose and deploy an appropriate solution. This is found in Microsoft Lync 2013.  As a Microsoft shop, we primarily deploy Windows systems along with a few Mac OS X machines.  Compatibility wise, there are clients for both platforms so that is one essential check marked off.  The realm of a communication platform has greatly evolved over the past few years.  With the likes of Skype, Mobile and Web Apps, we are looking to be connected everywhere and anywhere with not only instant messaging (IM), but also high definition (HD) video conferencing and voice.

Lync brings to the table:

  1. Corporate managed and secured instant messaging platform.
  2. Presence allowing employees at a glance information whether someone is available, busy, or offline.
  3. HD video conferencing in 1080p HD resolution using the widely used H.264 Scalable Video Codec for fantastic compatibility across all devices and platforms.
  4. Mobile apps for Windows Phone, iOS and Android.  This functionality allows a user to IM or join a Lync Meeting from anywhere with connectivity.
  5. Web app that allows joining a meeting from within a web browser including all features available in the normal client.
  6. Possibility to replace our Citrix GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar usage saving thousands of dollars per month and increasing our return on investment.

As many people know, Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 Billion back in May 2011 and people were wondering why.  It seems like the technology acquired has been integrated into their Lync offering to offer a more complete product with the added benefit of Skype Federation extending communications to Skype users.

A highly available deployment of Lync takes planning and infrastructure to handle the work and since I do not necessarily want an increased amount of hardware and software to maintain, I have looked at Office 365.  It looks like the way to go with fantastic pricing for Microsoft Office licensing with the added benefit of Lync, SharePoint and Exchange Online.

Lync 2013 desktop_Lync Meeting_video gallery, roster, IM, PPT view and sharing options

Lync 2013 Desktop Meeting