This issue features a roundup of what partners in the Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync ecosystem are offering, so we thought it would also be a good time to interface with Microsoft itself to get an update on Lync. Here’s what the company had to say.
What is Lync?
Microsoft Lync is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform. Lync 2013 connects people everywhere, across devices, as part of their everyday productivity experience. Lync provides a consistent, single client experience for presence, instant messaging, voice, video and meetings. Features include:
- Stay in touch anywhere: Lync enables users to communicate securely anywhere they have network connectivity, and automatically adapts to network conditions.
- Use the device you want: Lync makes communicating easier with a consistent and familiar experience available on Windows PCs, Windows Phone, iOS, and Android (News - Alert) smartphones. The new immersive Lync app for Windows 8 and Windows RT provides a seamless touch-first experience.
- Communicate in the right way: Lync unifies voice and video calls, Lync Meetings, presence, and instant messaging in one easy-to-use client, making it simple to choose and switch between different forms of communication.
- Connect with the outside world: Lync federation extends unified communications securely over the Internet to customers, suppliers, and partners using Lync or Skype (News - Alert).
- Take advantage of standards-based HD video: Lync uses open standards including H.264 SVC to provide a high-quality video experience on a wide range of devices.
- Make virtual meetings more effective: See up to five meeting participants simultaneously with new multiparty HD video support. You can choose who to see or let Lync choose for you.
- Extend Lync Meetings outside your organization with browser-based access: The Lync Web App allows PC and Mac users to join a Lync Meeting from a browser and delivers a full online meeting experience including IM, voice, multiparty video, data collaboration and sharing.
- Quickly and intuitively find the best way to communicate: Quick Lync is a menu that appears over a contact in the Lync contact list and shows available communication modes.
Why and when was Lync rolled out?
Lync 2013 began roll out in October 2012, which was a follow on from Lync 2010, which was released in January 2011. Lync 2013 was the official launch of the Lync brand and the point where we moved away from the previous Office Communications Server product. Microsoft saw an opportunity to transform the way communications are done and found opportunities to integrate communications directly into Office and make them very, very simple to do.
What are the latest additions with the new release of Lync for Windows 8.1?
We’ve paid close attention to feedback on the previous version of Lync and the latest version incorporates some of the most popular features that our users have requested. New features include:
- the ability to run Lync side-by-side with other apps;
- the ability to answer calls on the lock screen and control call volume inside the app;
- mute and control call volume from inside Lync;
- in-app contact search; and
- improved sign-in reliability.
How many Lync seats/partner solutions have been sold to date?
While we don’t have the breakdown of seats to share, we can tell you that more than 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies are Lync customers. Our financial results reflect the growing customer adoption. In our Fiscal Year 2013 earnings release, we announced that Lync revenue grew 30 percent year over year. In our earnings call, we also disclosed that the Lync business, including Lync Server and Lync Online, surpassed $1 billion in annual revenue. Our voice software license sales grew 150 percent on top of an already significant installed base, which we noted in February at Lync Conference was more than 5 million seats.
Tell us about the Lync eco-system.
Our application ecosystem is the largest in business communications—our partners have delivered more than 2,000 applications on the Lync platform.
What does it mean to be part of the Lync eco-system?
Partners are betting their businesses on Lync: We’ve also transformed the communications landscape for our partners with an open ecosystem that enables innovation in services, applications and hardware.
Every business day a new partner chooses to become a Lync partner for deployment, service and support. This is a big deal and a big compliment, since it means a partner is assessing the market and deciding that the opportunity with Lync is too good to pass up, even if they need to make investments to get ready.
Partners have invested in Lync 2013 as the next step in transforming their own businesses. Lync is built from the ground up as a communications applications development platform. Our partners are able to extend and further transform the communications experience of our customers with their own innovative applications. Our application ecosystem is the largest in business communications—our partners have delivered more than 2000 applications on the Lync platform.
Hardware partners are continuing to innovate on our platform. We already have more than 150 devices qualified for Lync 2013 with more on the way.
What support does Microsoft offer to members of the Lync ecosystem?
We are unique in the communications industry to have the benefit of one of the broadest eco-system of partners offering devices, products and services optimized for Lync. This wave of partner- led innovation, driven by Lync’s open and interoperable platform, is helping to provide unprecedented choice and value for our customers across a broad spectrum of solutions and services.
We offer our partners a broad range of support, from training and resources through Communications Competency and the Lync Partner Readiness programs to Microsoft Premier Support for Lync Partners program which provides our customers with customized training, partner exclusive workshops and support from Microsoft Premier Professionals.
For more information, see: https://mspartner.microsoft.com/en/us/pages/solutions/lync.aspx.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi