Friday, November 19, 2010

Microsoft unveils Lync, business telephone/video conferencing system

The world’s largest software vendor, Microsoft Corporation, today is readying the launch of its new telecommunications system called Lync.
Lync is a fully featured web communications platform that aims to have businesses replace existing telephone systems with the more cost efficient Lync system that aggregates various communication mediums including e-mail, instant messaging, voice and video conferencing all into one application.
The system integrates with other Microsoft applications and services, including SharePoint and Exchange support, including integration with the company’s latest version of Office.
Through the XMPP Gateway protocol, Lync also supports unified messaging, allowing users to consolidate multiple instant messaging networks such as Microsoft’s own Windows Live Messenger, and Google’s Gtalk which is used more by businesses. There is also support for other networks that support the standard, such as both AOL and Yahoo! Messenger, which pretty much includes support for the entire major instant messaging networks.
Users could share documents between friends and co-workers, including seamless desktop sharing, and sharing of Office documents, and could even create polls in messaging windows that could be sent to friends. Users could also share a whiteboard, allowing any one to contribute simultaneously.
Various privacy settings also allow for seamless contact management based on user relationships. In a work setting, the administrator controls key functions in video conferencing, including the ability to easily add new participants to voice and video conferencing, and even control the whiteboard and document sharing views more directly while still allowing all participants to make contributions.
Tens of thousands of global businesses rely on Microsoft Exchange and Outlook to manage their e-mail, contacts, and calendars. Until now, there has been a gap in Microsoft’s offering of instant messaging and video conferencing.
Top rival Cisco Systems has the largest market share of the web video and telephony conferencing market, which is expected to surpass $55-billion in market cap in the coming years.
Microsoft Lync could help solidify even a marginal portion of market share for the company, which could add more than a billion dollars of additional gross revenue annually.
The company says there are substantial cost savings in using its new Lync communication servers, with Intel Corp already saving 20-percent on its internal videophone systems, while other clients such as Realpage realizing savings as high as $3-million per year.
According to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not made public, the company has already secured large multiple clients after working with firms over the last year, including Boeing Corporation, which could add up to an additional $100-million in total revenue alone from Boeing for the Redmond-based tech giant.
Microsoft Lync will be available for businesses to purchase and deploy starting on December 1.
Lync could be deployed directly at a company’s IT department, or could be Microsoft-hosted, allowing the company to do all of the set up and server maintenance. Companies could also opt to deploy Lync from Microsoft selected partners.
The cost is based on a per user license and would vary based on quantity.

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