The Channel

A New Opportunity for VARs - Microsoft Lync and Hosted Lync

By TMCnet Special Guest
Mike Storella, COO, snom
  |  July 23, 2012

This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

The excitement for unified communications in the channel is building and received a big boost from the recent introduction of a new cloud-hosted Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync offering. The availability of Lync in the cloud, which is being offered by companies like Chinook Communications, provides the channel with another compelling communication and collaboration offering for their business customers. There is now Microsoft Lync and cloud-hosted Lync, which is called Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting. Let’s take a closer look at these two solutions and explore the opportunities both present to the channel.

Today’s businesses have more and more options when it comes to choosing a system for their voice communications, which means more and more questions for VAR partners tasked with implementing, managing and supporting these solutions. Businesses select either a premises-based IP PBX (News - Alert) or a hosted service for their telephony system. Increasingly, businesses are also factoring unified communications into the equation either as a complementary piece to their existing IT and telecom architecture or as a standalone alternative for voice communications and collaboration.

Microsoft is one of the companies leading the way with a bundled voice/UC solution. Long known for its business and computing software, Microsoft broadened its offerings and entered the voice telephony market in late 2010, introducing Lync as the next wave of its Office Communications Server. With Lync, Microsoft combined its strength in multimedia conferencing, presence and instant messaging software with a full telephony component, making Lync a powerful all-in-one communications and collaboration solution.

To sweeten the pot even further, Microsoft is offering a new version of Lync for the hosted/cloud market that offers small and medium-sized businesses a one-stop shop for all communication and collaboration needs, including e-mail, document management, messaging, telephony, and multimedia conferencing with snom’s IP desktop phones as endpoints. The new offering is called Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting, and it includes collaboration functions (presence, instant messaging, audio, video and web conferencing, desktop sharing and whiteboard) and business telephony features such as hunt groups, auto attendants and call forwarding.

Offered through hosting providers, this Lync in a cloud based on Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Hosting Pack reference architecture makes it possible for service providers to manage a large number of businesses, up to 50,000 total users across multiple tenants.

Simply put, VARs can offer hosted Lync as a managed service to their SMB customers, which gives these businesses a complete package of collaboration and voice services at a set cost per month – this means recurring monthly revenue for VARs. snom recently announced its snom UC desktop phones were selected to be part of the offer as the qualified endpoint for the hosted Lync solution. The entry-level snom 300 UC edition, snom 370 UC edition and the advanced snom 821 UC edition are tested and certified as Qualified for Microsoft Lync. In fact, these snom phones are the only currently-certified IP phones to operate with hosted Lync. The snom UC600 is a purpose built phone Optimized for Microsoft Lync that also operates with hosted Lync.

The snom 300 UC edition and snom UC600 are good fits for general office workers, while the 370 UC edition, with its large graphical, high-definition display, is ideal for business executives. The advanced snom 821 UC edition is also a great choice for executives and features a large, high-resolution color display, an integrated XML browser, wideband audio for enhanced audio quality and the built-in gigabit Ethernet switch for the latest network installations.

Telecommunications is undergoing a fundamental shift as traditional telephony communications merge with IT services to create a new generation of productivity-enhancing collaboration and communications business applications. With Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Multitenant Pack for Partner Hosting, snom channel partners can ride this wave of change and deliver a solution that blends advanced IP telephony features from the telephony world with powerful collaboration and communication capabilities from the IT world to meet the needs of large and small businesses alike. Whether it is a mass multisite deployment in the enterprise or a smaller, single site implementation, snom UC edition phones can serve as the endpoints for voice access. This true convergence, in which telephony and IT come together, is the future of communications. Don’t miss out!

Mike Storella (News - Alert) is COO at snom.

snom is a Gold sponsor of ITEXPO West 2012. To be held Oct. 2-5 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. Visit snom in booth #921. For more information on ITEXPO click here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi