Mobile Phones Now Lync-ed In With Office 365

Mobile phone support for Lync 2010 in Office 365 was addressed on 11 December 2011 when Microsoft released the first version, completely transforming communication in the mobile phone space. In this article, we take a quick look at the core features of the Lync Online mobile phone offering. The Office 365 / Lync Online mobile client does not currently support the full Lync 2010 capabilities, however we can predict how the mobile phone will quickly be the de-facto device for unified communications.

Instant messaging

Instant Messaging (IM) is a godsend for the mobile phone. Compared to text messaging it is free and helps users to avoid expensive text bills or expensive telephone contracts that include text messages as part of the contract. Lync 2010 allows your phone to have group IM sessions and initiate IM from other applications such as the Outlook Web App.

Corporate contact integration

One problem with IM is that users need to invite and create groups of users for their IM sessions. Lync 2010 integrates with the Exchange 2010 email and external contact list to instantly allow users to IM work colleagues without having to do any extra work.

Conference call support

Connecting to a conference call via a mobile phone can be a pain due to having to remember conference call phone numbers and conference call access codes or PIN numbers. Lync 2010 can host conference meetings and enable mobile users to click on a conference link so that the conference number dials out to the mobile. When users connect to the conference call, Lync joins them to the meeting with their user identity so that logged in users know instantly who has just joined the conference.

All for one number and one phone number for all

Lync 2010 has a special Call Via Work feature that allows users to call people without divulging personal details such as their mobile phone number. For example, in a work setting a user may not wish customers and suppliers to know their mobile phone number. When users dial using the Call Via Work feature, the number displayed on the recipients phone display will be their designated office number. In the same way, users can provide everyone with the same work number and when a supplier or customers calls the office number, the user's mobile phone will ring. From the user perspective, it may seem as if the call is being forwarded from their office phone, but the Lync 2010 Call Via Work uses a simultaneous ring feature, i.e. it calls your mobile phone number, work number and PC at the same time.

The future

As we have seen, the mobile phone is truly being changed into a unified communications device, where at a press of a button you can communicate via voice, text, IM, email and video. We should highlight that the features discussed here are all available for On-Premises Lync 2010 and only IM and Integrated Contacts are available for Office 365 Lync users. In addition, many users are cajoling Microsoft to include video-conferencing. Battery consumption for some mobile phones can also be high but this can be alleviated by changing the polling configuration of the mobile phone connection.

Overall, the main benefit for Office 365 users is access to the IM and contacts technology. Users can see how the Office 365 Lync product is likely to develop from the complete Lync 2010 Mobile feature list of supported phones and Lync features as well as the