Microsoft Office 365 (opens in new tab) has brought with it a revolution that would change the way individuals, small to medium businesses and enterprises perceive and conduct their day to day word processing, publishing, messaging and collaboration tasks.
Lync Online for Office 365 is deemed as an enterprise-grade communications and collaboration solution that caters to the needs of not only enterprises but also small to medium businesses. Lync Online helps improve business efficiency along with increase in productivity and cost saving.
With Lync Online, users have the ability to determine if their contacts are online and available for communications. Beyond this users have the ability to conduct online meetings though they are geographically separated. Users even have the ability to collaborate using SharePoint sites and with other organizations that use Lync. This will enable them to save heavily on communications cost.
Features of Lync 2010
Instant Messaging: Allows users to communicate in a fashion similar to that of Windows/MSN Messenger (opens in new tab) (Image Courtesy of Technet Blogs (opens in new tab)) but with the capability of encrypted communications.
Presence: Presence can be defined as the ability of a user to determine the availability of another user. Users can set status message similar to that on instant messengers and let their contact know of their availability. If enabled, Presence can be determined with office outlook, SharePoint Online and Exchange Online.
Lync to Lync Audio & Video Calls: Organisations can save quite a lot on communications through pc-to-pc voice and video calls not only from within the organisation but also to other organisations that use Lync. Calls can be routed through corporate firewalls along with the option of federated domains.
Online Meetings (with Audio/Video/Web Conferencing): With Lync Online, virtual meetings (opens in new tab) (Image Courtesy of Technet Blogs (opens in new tab)) can be organised for users separated geographically with capabilities including audio, video and web conferencing. This would enable companies to save quite a few bucks on tele-presence solutions.
Other features of Lync Online include Files Transfer, Remote Access, Distribution Lists, Lync Federation, IM Security, Content Sharing, etc.
Service Administration options under Lync
Lync services can be managed and administered with the online web portal provided by Office 365 (opens in new tab). The option available to an administrator include enabling or disabling Lync Online, management of user settings and policies like Lync Federation, Audio/Video, File Transfer, Lync with Windows Live, etc.
In cases where users are present on Lync online and on Lync on-premises Server, there is a limitation whereby the cloud/server co-existence is not supported using a single domain. In this case different domains need to be created for Lync Online and Lync on-premises server and subsequently use Lync Federation to enable communications between the users of the two domains.
Lync Online does support presence interop with on-premises Exchange 2007 and Exchange 2010 and this allows for presence updates based on calendar information and out-of-office details that appear in Lync 2010.
If Lync online client is run from the user’s desktop, then Lync Online inter-operates with on-premises SharePoint Server for presence and click-to-communicate through the SharePoint sites.
The features that have been highlighted here may not be fully available in the currently available beta version of Office 365 but will be available as and when the full offering of Office 365 (opens in new tab) is provided by Microsoft.