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Microsoft Lync 2013 review: First look

Lync 2013 improves on all the fundamentals and provides better resiliency, reliability and as well as the option to carry out conference calls on the move.

Mobility

With Microsoft gearing up for the launch of Windows 8, the client interface has been given an overhauled. The mobile app in particular will be optimised for touch-based use.

Major additions to the mobile edition include the ability to make VOIP and conferencing calls using a smartphone or tablet. Using this from a Wi-Fi hotspot will be useful for those constantly on the move.

Microsoft will make the client available on popular operating systems such as iOS and Android. Of course the firm claims the best experience will be reserved for its own Windows Phone OS.

The demos we have seen of Lync 2013 mobile on a tablet have been impressive. The development team has understood the need to differentiate the features on a tablet and phone. The smartphone client is designed for users in motion, whereas the tablet tends to be used while users are more stationary and consumption of content and meeting attendance are key use cases.

Group chats on tablet are likely to be used frequently by enterprise users. The screen shot demonstrates the typical setup. As a user starts speaking, the Lync client creates a blue halo around their picture to give users a visual cue.

Microsoft Lync 2013 - Tablet conference call

Lync users will be please to hear Microsoft hopes to ship the mobile client at the same time Lync 2013 (unlike the 2010 mobile client which shipped a year after the server).

Enterprise Voice

Enterprise voice, which enables Lync to function as a Private branch exchange (PBX), was first introduced in Office Communications Server 2007 and substantially improved in both OCS 2007 R2 and Lync 2010. Microsoft has improved this further in Lync 2013, even giving Cisco and Avaya products a run for their money.

Enterprise Voice in Lync 2013 includes a wealth of new features but the best one is the one you may never see resilience in the face of failure. The architecture is much improved in order to be more resilient. And should a problem arise, the new architecture enables more features to be available during the outage.

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