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November 05, 2012
Microsoft Lync Update Offers Unified Approach to the Virtual PBX
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
 
Microsoft’s (News - Alert) Lync unified communications platform is scheduled for an upgrade in 2013, which is supposed to bring more features and integrations for voice and video service. The exact release date has not been revealed, but it’s likely that the virtual PBX will not be capable of replacing traditional PBX (News - Alert) systems where traditional desktop phones are still the main communication devices in place.

In anticipation of its release in 2013, Microsoft has adopted H.264 video coding that will allow users to view video on a variety of screen types, including large room displays and small smartphone displays, according to this UC Strategies report. The virtual PBX upgrade will allow for five users to appear on the screen at a time, which is a significant upgrade compared to the current platform that allows only one user on the screen at a time. 

The virtual PBX also allows users with IP networks to conference with their tablet computers and smartphones. The super connectivity continues with users being able to utilize audio and video calls over a Wi-Fi signal. 

iPads are the most popular tablet computers on the market today with millions of users taking them to work, to the park and just about anywhere else they go. These iPad users will find the virtual PBX solution interesting, as it will allow them to join conferences and instant message other Lync users. 

At the same time, the virtual PBX has been tweaked to work well with Windows 8. And with an estimated 600 million Skype (News - Alert) users out there today, Microsoft engineered its new virtual PBX platform so the millions of Skype users can make audio and video calls with Lync.

The updated Lync will be a more efficient solution and will be available to users who have Windows 8, iOS, Android (News - Alert) and Windows Phone. It’s expected that knowledge workers, those involved in such fields as engineering and finance analysis, will benefit from the unified communications solutions featured in Lync. 

The features highlighted in the unified communications element of the platform include instant messaging, conferencing and collaboration. Companies that intend to use Lync for telephony will need additional training to get the best use of the product as it’s not as easy to install when used only for telephony.

Microsoft is aware that going from traditional telephony to the new virtual PBX will be a challenge. But companies already invested in various Microsoft products, like the databases, business application and productivity tools will have no problem taking on Lync. 

While many companies won’t be willing to dismantle their traditional PBX for the virtual PBX from Microsoft, it is possible that companies will see value in supplementing with Lync, especially if their legacy equipment is failing to meet communications demand. For the business already deep into Microsoft use, this virtual PBX shift could be the natural next step.


Edited by Jamie Epstein


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