Choices. Have you ever noticed how communicating with others is really all about making choices?
We choose what to say. We choose our words (hopefully carefully). We may include illustrations. We choose supporting gestures, even facial expressions and changes in tone of voice. We choose media, voice over telephone or computer, written words, video, shared applications or desktops, fax, texting or email and more.
While technology has never dictated our choices it has been somewhat difficult, in the past, to receive content or messaging one way and respond to it in another. Taking content from a fax, for example, and responding in an email required scanning, retyping, or some other time-consuming manipulation to respond to in an email.
Beyond all else, the vision of Unified Communications was to make it easy, in fact effortless, for people to make their own best communication choices. Microsoft Lync is an ideal example of this vision in action. A user receiving an instant message over Lync can choose to simply respond by typing an instant message. If they feel the response calls for a more personal response, or requires an extensive response that might take too long to type, they can simply click to choose voice communication instead. Should the ensuing dialogue require even more personal interaction they can then add video with just a click. If supporting data will help resolve the issue, they can share the contents of their own screen, or any application, with just a click.
Each new medium adds more modes of communicating. Voice adds inflection, volume, and other nuances. Video similarly adds facial expression, virtual “eye contact” and more. Because these modes go beyond words, they are called paralinguistic cues, and being able to add and move among these modes is what creates truly robust interactions.
Lync delivers on the promise of effortless multimodal switching! Truly an enabler of new dimensions of more effective interpersonal communication!
Expanding the Network
As would be true of any network, if companies attempted to use only their corporate Lync network as their sole means of communication they would be cutting themselves off from the mainstream of people who don’t use Lync. In a November 10, 2014 post on Office Blogs, the Microsoft Lync Team itself reports that “over 40 percent of our person-to-person VoIP calls had at least one person using Lync outside the Microsoft firewall (over 7.5 million of our 19 million minutes).”
To include the global community of businesses and people who use public-switched telephone as their primary communications medium, Lync integrates telephony services. In fact, according to a Gartner study from October 2014, “Microsoft is the seventh-largest corporate telephony vendor with 5.1% of the global market in 2013 with significant annual growth of 106% in 2013. Microsoft continues its strong growth in 2014 and is being chosen by more enterprises as their strategic corporate telephony platform.”
In fact, Lync currently provides telephony services along with its other unified communication services, to customers with more than 200,000 users on their network, which clearly validates Lync’s potential as “software-only” alternative to the dated PBX systems currently in use at many corporations. According to the Gartner study, “Microsoft continues to develop Lync as a corporate telephony solution, although organizations generally select it initially for presence, instant messaging (IM) and conferencing needs, and then evaluate it as a replacement for their legacy PBX platforms.”
Integrating Lync and Skype to Increase Market Share
Skype has become a key unified communications choice for millions of users worldwide, and since Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in 2011 people have conjectured as to how Lync and Skype will be brought together. The answer came in November 2014 with the announcement of Skype for Business, which brings the best of Skype and Lync due out in 2015.
The Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for telephony still shows competitors like Cisco and Avaya having greater completeness of vision. The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications, however, positions Microsoft as the industry leader both in completeness of vision as well as ability to execute. Clearly, Microsoft is intent upon matching their telephony position to their UC position. With the global telephony network incorporated into the effortless ability to choose communication modes and media within a single, consistent user interface, Lync users will enjoy unparalleled facility and flexibility.
The Importance of a Qualified Partner
Gartner cautions, “Gartner clients report challenges in providing high availability with Microsoft Lync for basic telephony. Poor call quality, dropped calls and system outages plague some implementations that did not utilize a qualified Microsoft Lync integrator.”
Trust CloudStrategies to provide the guidance, the innovation, and the quality of integration and support services required to provide a truly effective Lync operating environment. Contact us today for more information.