Browsing the archives for the Instant Messaging (IM) tag.

Exploring (and Ranking) the New Features in the Lync 2013 July Update

Lync 2013 Client

Last week Microsoft released an update for the Lync 2013 client. Lync receives a few updates every year, for security patches and the occasional new feature.

This time however, we have not one new feature, but four!

So after implementing it, my boss asked me to test all the new features. Make sure everything’s working. Check for issues. And document it for the blog.

Having spent a few hours doing so yesterday and today, I now have my experience documented. But you’re not just getting a bland list of the new features, no no. This wouldn’t be the awesome blog it is if I did that!

I’m also ranking the new Lync features on usefulness. You’ll have them all when you add the July updates…but which will you use? And how often? That’s what I’ll answer here. Strap in!

The 4 Newest Lync 2013 Features, Ranked for Usefulness

#4 – IM Mute

Running a presentation, and want to keep to the audio/video side only? IM Mute does exactly that – mutes the IM side of the presentation. Participants will not be able to type questions/comments in the IM window. This helps to keep distractions low, so the presenter can focus on giving a clear presentation.

IM Mute Option

Usefulness: Low. While it’s a well-intentioned add-on, I think there’s a flaw in muting IM here. Not in the functionality (that works perfectly); in the motivation. Most webinars I’ve attended will mute the attendees, so they can’t hear chatter over the presenter. Muting IM, along with muted audio, effectively silences the attendees. I know some presentations aren’t intended as discussions, but totally removing the ability can hamper business meetings.

#3 – Embedded Images

IM conversations are fast and useful. Ask a question, answer one, check in and then get back to work. But when you run up against a limitation of IM – say, not being able to show someone an image – the conversation tends to derail.

Embedded Images fixes that, by adding in the ability to put images into your conversations. As simple as copy-and-paste, you can now toss an image into your IM window, and the other person(s) sees it. Just like this!

Embedded Image in IM

Usefulness: Moderate. While being able to stick an image into an IM on the fly IS handy if you need to show something, I don’t think I’ll use it much. Conversations that are detailed enough to involve images often branch into email and file transfer.

#2 – Meetings Menu

Meetings is a new choice available on the Lync client’s top navigation. You can see it her (far right, the pie chart):
Meetings View on Lync 2013
Clicking it brings you to a list of your scheduled meetings. If a meeting is blue, you can join it straight from Lync by clicking “Join”.

Usefulness: High. Having a list of Meetings right in Lync (instead of having to go to Outlook) alleviates some confusion about when the next Lync meeting is scheduled. Joining them only takes a click. And since you also see the day’s Calendar events, you can avoid scheduling conflicts.

#1 – Q&A Manager

Now THIS I like! Q&A Manager creates a space during presentations to ask questions, and receive answers, in a structured manner. All you do is enable Q&A from the Presentations menu…

Q&A Manager Option in Presentations

And a Q&A tab appears for all participants. They ask you a question, you type in an answer, and it’s all displayed in a clean, tiered layout for all to see.

Usefulness: High. Right now this is only available on Lync 2013 Desktop and Lync Web Access. That still covers the majority of Lync meeting users…which means my concern about discussion during presentations up in #4? Taken care of. You could even assign one presenter to give the speech, and another to man the Q&A.

To download the July update for your Lync client (2013 only), click here: Security Update for Microsoft Lync 2013 (KB2817465)
(Make sure your Lync Server is updated too: Updates for Lync Server 2013)

For further reference on the new features, Richard Brynteson’s post on Mastering Lync is a great run-down.

Which of these updates do YOU think you’ll use the most? And how? Comment or email me, and let’s discuss!

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Should Lync users worry about PRISM snooping on their calls?

Lync Server 2013, Voice over IP

If you’ve followed any tech news lately, you’ve heard about PRISM. It’s the NSA’s surveillance program that collects data on foreign – and American – online activity.

Are Lync users included in this sweeping surveillance? Do we have to worry our communications are being monitored?

They COULD be…but that depends on what version of Lync you use. Read on for my explanation.

What does PRISM Collect: Almost Every Type of Internet Communication

According to this article in WebProNews: Is Silicon Valley Spying on You for the Federal Government? –
PRISM collects the following.

  • Emails
  • Metadata
  • Conferencing
  • Chat logs
  • Internet phone calls (VoIP)
  • And several more types of online communication.

You use many of these when you use Lync. Especially the chat logs and VoIP calls. That’s part of what makes Lync so useful – all those communication channels in one interface!

Does this mean all our Lync calls are monitored/recorded? Has Lync Server become a net the NSA can trap all our conversations within?

The NSA’s spying is troubling for every privacy-minded person. Microsoft IS one of the major entities cooperating with the NSA, turning over data (they are listed in the above article).

However, it does NOT mean all of our Lync calls are recorded surreptitiously and shipped off to the US government for scrutinizing. Here’s why.

Why Running Lync Server Doesn’t Mean You’re Funneling Data to the NSA

There’s a simple reason why Microsoft’s cooperation does not translate into everyone’s Lync conversations being spied upon.

Lync Server was created by Microsoft…but is not always hosted by Microsoft.

Lync Server 2010/2013 is an independent software platform. It runs in a datacenter. Your own on-site datacenter, or an off-site provider’s like ours.

In both cases, Microsoft is not the governing authority. Only the licensing authority. They have no control over your logs, and no authority to demand them.

Thus you don’t have to turn over any data (unless served with a court order, and that’s usually for help with a crime investigation).

So if you do run Lync Server, breathe easier. And if you’re debating a Lync Server 2013 installation, go ahead with it. Running your own Lync servers affords you privacy from PRISM.

(Note that I can’t say 100% that all conversation data is safe everywhere. I don’t know how far the NSA’s net reaches! I’m just saying we don’t have to fear Microsoft handing our Lync logs over…because they don’t have them anyway.)

The One Time Lync’s Privacy is Questionable

All that being said, there is ONE potential risk I see.

If Microsoft is the provider running Lync Server for you…that’s a different story. No guarantees, but you DO risk your Lync calls being swept up in PRISM’s net.

When does Microsoft run Lync for you?

That’s right. Office 365.

While I like the quick-and-cheap ability to use Lync that Office 365 provides, privacy-conscious users are warned to stay clear of the online service. At least for now, until we have some sort of reassurance.

Otherwise…be careful what you say over Lync 365.

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Lync-to-Skype Connectivity is Here. But Don't Forget the Provisioning!

Lync Server 2013

Microsoft has announced something many Lync users have clamored for – connectivity between Lync Server and Skype is now available.

For what? What does it do? Well, how about:

  • Adding Skype contacts into Lync, and Lync contacts into Skype
  • Instant Messages between both platforms
  • Making calls between both platforms

For starters?

Microsoft’s announcement has details and instructions on how to use the new connectivity.

2 things to do first: Provision with Microsoft, and Configure Lync Server

Hold up though! We have to configure Lync Server a little before it’ll talk to Skype properly. There are two things to implement first.

One: Provision the Lync Server for Public IM Connectivity (PIC) with Microsoft.

Briefly, you will have to report some information about your Lync Server to Microsoft for PIC provisioning. To do this you’ll need your Microsoft agreement number, Access Edge Service FQDN and SIP domain.

These are used in a Provisioning Request for use rights. The guide below has the steps to follow.

Two: Configure the Lync Server to accept Skype connectivity.

Once your server is provisioned with Microsoft, it’s simply a matter of setting up proper Federation & PIC in the Lync Server Control Panel.

Both of these steps are documented here: Provisioning Guide for Lync-Skype Connectivity: Lync Server 2013 and Lync Online – Microsoft Downloads

Grab that document, your SIP information, and pretty soon your users will be able to talk between Lync and Skype!

And this is how they’ll get started. By adding Skype contacts into Lync.

How to Add a Skype contact in Lync

  1. In the Lync window, click the “Add a Contact” icon (the small icon just above & to the right of the contacts list; looks like a person with a plus sign).
  2. Go to “Add a Contact Not in My Organization”. A menu will appear to its right.
  3. If your administrator has completed configuration, you’ll see Skype among the options. Click Skype.
  4. Enter the IM address (the contact’s full Skype address, including domain –
  5. Under “Add to contact group:” select the group to which you want this contact to belong.
  6. Under “Set privacy relationship:” set the level of privacy you want. This governs how much of your Presence information is visible to the Skype contact.
  7. Click OK. Sit back and watch the new contact appear!
  8. From here, you can get a hold of the Skype contact like every other Lync user. Double-click and start talking!

Don’t forget the provisioning.  Configuring Lync Server for Skype connectivity is easy…but it won’t work without provisioning in place.

Connectivity between Lync and Skype contacts is Step 1, I think, of merging the two platforms completely. What form will that take? Well, I have speculated on this before…but for now, I’m glad we have interconnectivity as a start.

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Persistent Chat: What it Is and How You Use It (Part 1 of 2)

Microsoft Lync

While talking with our Lync team about training subjects to cover, I realized I hadn’t blogged about Chat in a while. And I should! It’s a very useful part of Lync Server (especially in 2013).

So, this will be the first of a double-post on Persistent Chat. The first post will go over what persistent chat is, and what’s been changed from Group Chat in Lync Server 2010. The second post will cover how to use Persistent Chat’s chat rooms, as well as some potential roles these chat rooms can play in your organization.

Ready? Open up Lync and let’s go!

Persistent Chat: Group Chat’s Stronger Successor

Last year I posted a ‘Group Chat 101′, saying Group Chat “provides text-based chat rooms where chats are recorded and searchable.”

Persistent Chat for Lync Server 2013 is still centered around this idea of recorded chat rooms. But it’s received some upgrades from the 2010 version.

Persistent Chat lets you create Chat Rooms within the Lync client. These Chat Rooms are spaces where you and other Lync users can share information. This information is archived in the Chat Room log. In the future, if you or someone else needs to refer to that information, they can look up the Chat Room log. And if necessary, update it with new information. Which is again archived for future reference.

Okay, so how is Persistent Chat different from Group Chat then?

The upgrades came in the form of integration. Group Chat was a separate download from Lync Server 2010. You had to use a separate client for chatting, too. Within the client you created a Chat Room, which users joined like they would a multiparty IM. Except Group Chat logs were accessible to everyone (who had proper permissions).

For those of you who used IRC (Internet Relay Chat), Group Chat was almost identical. But that same functionality also meant Group Chat was a less flexible, less dynamic communication tool than Lync’s Instant Messaging.

With Persistent Chat, a lot changed. Persistent Chat is now an included server role in Lync Server 2013. Install it via Topology Builder during Lync setup. (For a how-to, visit Matt Landis’ blog: Step by Step Installing Lync Server 2013 Persistent Chat Collocated on Standard Edition Front End – Windows PBX & UC Blog)

Chat Room functionality is also built into the Lync 2013 desktop client. You can access chat rooms as easily as you do IM.
Lync Nav Bar-Chat Rooms

See? It’s right there on Lync’s top nav bar, between Contacts and Conversation History.

Create a chat room in Lync, or access existing rooms (those you have permission to access, of course!). I’ll cover specifics on how to use chat rooms in the next post.

Right now, you may be wondering something.

“Why would we use Persistent Chat in the first place? It sounds a lot like IM already!”

Both are text-based conversations, yes. Both allow for multiple users to chat, share links or files, and so on. But Instant Message and Persistent Chat aren’t quite the same. And it’s their differences that make Persistent Chat valuable.

See, IM is a LIVE conversation. If someone’s offline, you can’t talk with them. Also, IM logs are stored locally, in your own Conversation History. If you want to review a conversation someone else had, you’ll have to ask them to send you the log. You can’t access it on your own.

IM conversations are, essentially, private. Persistent Chat conversations are not.

How are non-private chat logs valuable? Because Persistent Chat logs turn a business conversation into an information asset for everyone. Think of a chat log like notes from a meeting – valuable insight from those events, captured for everyone’s future reference.

Sounds pretty valuable to me!

Next post, I’ll show you how to use Persistent Chat in Lync, and list some potential uses you can derive from it. See you then!

Do you currently use Persistent Chat or Group Chat? What do you use it for the most?


Can you IM 5 people at once – without Using Multiparty IM?

Instant Messaging (IM), lync server 2010, Lync Server 2013, Microsoft Lync

I admit to being stumped. Not only regarding a solution to today’s question, but I’m also stumped as to why it’s necessary.

The other day I received an email from a consultant. They were asked to create a means by which a Lync user could IM multiple people at once. WITHOUT starting a conference or using Multiparty IM.

Did I know of a way to do this?

Multiparty IM without the Multiparty? Why?

The only way I can think to IM multiple people outside of a group conversation, is to just IM each person separately. That would take a little time, sending one IM after one IM. But it’s doable without any programming.

I don’t think Lync would respond well to multiparty IM, without the multiparty. Even with good coding. The Lync client depends on your IM conversations grouping, as this makes it easy for any user to add extra services (audio, video, app sharing).

I was curious though…if you could code a Lync process to IM multiple people at once, what form would it take?

The only thing I can think of, would be to code a PowerShell script to auto-open separate IM windows for users you select.

(Except you can do this now, without PowerShell. Just double-click on each user in your contacts list. Lync Server 2013 will load each IM into a separate tab in its Conversation Window. To send each person a message, just type it into their IM window.)

Coding Privacy into Private IM Conversations – Much Ado About Nothing?

The reason given for this was stated as security. In theory, excluding other Lync users from seeing a particular Instant Message would act like BCC in email.

Don’t get me wrong. Security IS important, especially during communications. But the thing is, an ordinary IM conversation between two people is already private! There’s no inherent need for extra separation.

I’m NOT passing judgment on the person who contacted me. They were asked to create this functionality, and came up dry on possible methods. Why they were asked, I’m not sure…but it’s not their fault!

Perhaps someone has a need to separate IMs for compliance with an internal process. Or they want to IM multiple people at once, to use for announcement purposes.

Either way, I’m baffled.

So I’m opening this post up to the Lync community. Have you ever encountered a desire for multiple simultaneous Instant Messages, without creating a multiparty IM conversation?

If so, how would you code a solution?

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Lync 2013 Hits the App Store – Ideal for Mobile Meetings

Lync Server 2013

The Lync 2013 Client for iOS is now in the App Store. Time to celebrate!

I’ve been using Lync 2010 with our new Lync Server 2013 system for weeks now. It does the job, but I was missing out on several things. Like making calls out. So I eagerly awaited the 2013 upgrade.

Microsoft has not disappointed.

What to Expect: Calling Features, Video, Everything You Like About Lync

Just a few minutes of fiddling with Lync 2013 on my phone has shown it has all the Lync features available:

  • Making/receiving Enterprise Voice calls
  • Video calls
  • Instant Messaging
  • Chat
  • Presence awareness
  • Attend Lync Online Meetings

Everything you’d expect from the Lync 2013 desktop client. The interface is almost identical too – clean and functional.

Simultaneous Ring works perfectly. Video calls are so smooth, they reminded me of the subspace conversations from Star Trek!

Search for “Microsoft Lync 2013 for iPhone” to find it in the App Store.

The iPad version was also released. Between the two, I actually like the iPad client better. Since it has more screen space, the interface makes full use of it.

The screen is split into 2 vertical columns. On the left you have contacts. Touch one and full Lync contact options pop up in the right column. Call, IM, video, email.

Here’s a screenshot of the contact details (on a dummy account we have set up):

Lync 2013 on iPad 2

Access your own info from the Lync icon at top-left. As well as IM, Chats and your phone.

Lync 2013 for Mobile Requirements

  • Your phone/tablet must be on iOS 6, at least.
  • And you have to have CU1 installed on Lync to get the new version to work
  • You will need Mobility Services enabled in Lync Server 2013 to fully use the iPhone client.

Take care of those requirements and you’re set. I’m running Lync 2013 on an iPhone 3GS and an iPad 2, both running iOS 6.1.2. Zero issues.

Lync 2013 has been released for Windows Phone 8 too. But it looks like Android users will have to wait a little longer.

Conferencing: Jason Perlow Calls Lync “Telecommuter’s Dream” (And I Agree!)

The new mobile clients are great for staying in touch. But what I – and Jason Perlow – really appreciate about them is the Conferencing capability.

Jason has discussed Lync’s value on his Tech Broiler blog for ZDNet:
Why I love Lync 2013: A telecommuter’s dream come true – ZDNet

In the piece (which is already making the social media rounds,) Jason praises Lync 2013’s conferencing abilities as invaluable to telecommuters like himself. Great points on how Lync makes communication easy, no matter where you are or what medium you’re using.

We have engineers in the field all day. We use Lync to communicate back and forth, and for conference calls with clients.

As soon as our engineers are back in the office, I’m bugging them about updating to Lync 2013 on their phones.

How will you use Lync 2013 for Mobile? Please share your experiences!

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Doubling Up: Does Lync Allow Multiple Logins?

Instant Messaging (IM), lync server 2010, Lync Server 2013, Microsoft Lync, Unified Communications

My first reader email of 2013 contained a question about receiving Instant Messages. Specifically, he asked if he could use Lync IM on his iPhone and his laptop at the same time.

He was asking if multiple simultaneous logins are possible for Lync – signing in with your account on more than 1 computer. And receiving IMs to both locations.

I told him that Lync Server 2010 does not support multiple logins. But I would check to see if Lync Server 2013 can support this. Here’s what I found.

Why would you want multiple logins in Lync?

Unless you have a mysterious power to be in two places at once, multiple logins for communications software like Lync Server seems unnecessary. Lync treats your latest login as the ‘active’ one, whether that’s on your phone on your desktop. Since, presumably, that’s where you are!

However, I can think of one *good* reason to want multiple logins:  Conversation History. In case one client isn’t recording IM conversations properly, or you want multiple copies of a conversation.

(If one of your devices isn’t recording your IM conversations properly, this is a setup issue. Tell your systems administrator.)

Multiple Login Workarounds for Lync Server 2010

Sadly, I must repeat: Lync Server 2010 does NOT support multiple logins for one user. The reason is simple: each user can only have a single SIP address.

However, some workarounds DO exist to facilitate multiple connections.

While looking for reference links to show my reader, I came across this TechNet Forum thread: Lync Multiple & Simultaneous Account Login

Here we find a response from Matt Landis (if you’ve been reading Lync Insider, you know I’ve pointed Matt out as an excellent Lync specialist in the past!). He lists out some workaround solutions–and cautions that not all of them are supported by Microsoft!

What about multiple logins in Lync Server 2013?

We still have to wonder if Lync Server 2013 would support multiple logins. Many aspects of user management were updated in this version. Maybe an improvement to SIP addressing allows for multiple simultaneous logins?

After checking in TechNet and reviewing some fellow Microsoft bloggers, I have to say…no. Multiple logins is still a no-go for Lync 2013.

However, many of the workarounds Matt listed on the forum thread will work for 2013 as well. Personally, I think the best choice would be: Run a virtualized (second) copy of Lync on your desktop.
This would let you use a mobile client at the same time. And still be on Lync at your desktop. In terms of capabilities available, this seems the most promising.

Lync User QuickTip #4: Running Lync Twice on the Same PC – Matt Landis

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a supported solution by Microsoft! You take your chances. (And do a backup first!)

Lync knows where you are…in one spot

I always hate giving readers bad news…especially when they take the time to email in! But, “one login at a time” is just how Lync was made. It does make sense, considering Presence is intended to track where you are and what you’re doing.

We’ll just have to see what updates & modifications 2013 will bring.

Would you like to modify how Lync handles user access? In what way?


EDIT:  Please read the comments below if you’re confused.  I referred to simultaneous login activity with this post, not just signing in on more than one client!


Messenger Users Moved to Skype By March. Lync Users are NOT Next.

Lync Server 2013, Microsoft Lync, Unified Communications

Like many of you, I received an announcement from Microsoft yesterday. They’re shuttering Messenger and moving accounts to Skype by March 15.

A few people on Twitter this morning asked the same question I had: “Does this mean Skype will replace Lync?”

First off, no. I don’t think it does. Lync isn’t going anywhere – we have a brand-new version to play with right now! So don’t worry too much. Instead, let’s consider where this move leads.

Merging Messenger’s contacts & functions into Skype suggests finality. It suggests that that’s what they plan to use for consumer-level IM from now on. Which is an overall good thing – easier to support one app across platforms. Especially one like Skype, with its huge user base and wide feature set.

But where does that leave Lync users? Is their app under threat?

Again, not really. If Microsoft follows the streamlining pattern, there are 4 possible courses they could take with Lync and Skype:

1. Skype replaces Lync.

Dumb move. Microsoft won’t do this. It would ruin their Lync base among larger businesses.

2. Lync absorbs Skype.

Possible, but unlikely. And that’s because of the move from Messenger to Skype. It would mean users have to move apps twice!
Microsoft is already having trouble with migrating contacts on THIS move. The comments on this Engadget article testify to it: Microsoft retiring Messenger on March 15th, wants you to use Skype instead – Engadget

3. A new Lync-Skype hybrid app replaces both platforms.

Ideally, a hybrid app would adapt itself to the user (Lync or Skype) and the platform (desktop, mobile, tablet). Technically, this is possible…but in terms of user base, it’s only possible way down the line, around 2016 or later. Right now, the business of streamlining user bases and application platforms won’t allow it.

4. Lync and Skype stay separate, but interoperate.

The most likely course. MS has too much invested in building Lync Server as a business communications platform to abandon its desktop app. This approach also allows Skype to keep growing among consumer-level platforms.
I’m supported here by “Lync Bridge“, my name for the coming Lync app for Windows 8 and Windows RT.
It will federate with Skype…but it’s still Lync. And both will work on mobile.

Merging Messenger users into Skype makes more sense than the other way around. Plus it means that Skype will continue to evolve as part of the Microsoft software family.

In the meantime, Lync users have Lync 2013 to play with. And Lync Bridge (Lync for Windows 8/RT) to look forward to.  So let’s not worry ourselves.

Do any of our readers use Skype AND Lync? Please leave a comment or email me. I’d like to ask a couple questions.


Use DBImpExp to Export Contacts, Not CsUser: Backing Up User Data the Right Way in Lync Server

lync server 2010

We’ve had a few migration-related questions coming in, now that Lync Server 2013 is available.

For the most part it’s questions like, “how do I prep our servers” and “will we need to upgrade SQL Server?” (Hmmm, I should do another post on that.)

But today’s post is a warning. If you want to backup your Lync user data, make sure you use the right tool!

Does the CsUser Cmdlet Export User Data? No

We had a question come in about using the CsUser cmdlet to retrieve user information and contact lists. In other words, would CsUser be all they needed for a backup & restore?

Retrieving user information IS part of CsUser’s functionality…but it won’t help you in a migration scenario.

Why not? Well, let’s explore CsUser a bit and we’ll see.

What does it do? It allows you to access, enable/disable, or move Lync users within Active Directory. These are some of its relevant commands:

You’ll notice I didn’t put down a Backup-CsUser cmdlet.
Because there isn’t one.

If you want to backup Lync users, use DBImpExp

Exporting Lync contacts is the function of DBImpExp.exe. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Microsoft utility on the Lync Front End server. Essentially, its purpose is to backup/restore user contact lists and conference ID data.

When used, DBImpExp creates XML files of user data. Handy for backing up or moving to other locations.

To export all contact lists on an Enterprise Edition server, you’d use this format:

dbimpexp.exe /sqlserver:”[SQL Server FQDN Instance]” /hrxmlfile:”[Path where you want to store the XML file]”

To import the same XML file to a new server, the format is:

dbimpexp.exe /import /sqlserver:”[SQL Server FQDN Instance]” /hrxmlfile:”[Same path to the XML file]” /restype:user

Not too complex, right?

Justin Morris has a very easy-to-follow writeup on DBImpExp at his blog: Exporting and Importing Contact Lists in Lync Server 2010

Do NOT miss this step in your Lync migrations! If you do, you’ll have to recreate a lot of user data. And your users won’t be happy with you for losing a bunch of their information!

Cover All Your Backup Bases Before You Migrate

These TechNet articles contain the requirements for Lync Server backup and restoration, as well as which tools to use (including cmdlets):
Backup and Restoration Requirements: Data – TechNet Lync Server 2010
Backup and Restoration Requirements: Tools and Permissions – TechNet Lync Server 2010
As you can see, CsUser is not on this list. But DBImpExp.exe is.

If it’s time to migrate, check that you have everything from these lists BEFORE you move on to the new server!

BLOG NOTE: I might have a short post next week, depending on our holiday schedule. Either way, we won’t have a post the week after that. So I’ll take this time to wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and we hope you enjoy everything about your holiday season.


7 Questions From a Lync Training Session

lync server 2010

Sometimes I train Lync clients once their new system is set up. Along the way, several questions keep popping up.

I thought I’d write them out this week, along with their answers. In case you’re called in to train some new Lync users.
In no particular order.

If you’re attending a training session soon, this post should help you answer a few of your own questions…and maybe show you other things to ask about.

1. What can we do with it (Lync Server)?
Usually the very first question asked. It’s also the most important. Since Lync Server provides almost every form of electronic communication, people are naturally curious. Can it do voice? How about a live conference? It can? Wow!

2. How do we make a video call?
Adding video to a call excites a lot of people (it’s not hard to understand why, of course!). I refer you to the How To Lync site for a good step-by-step process.
First Video Call – How To Lync

3. How do I enter all my phone numbers?
Open the Lync Options menu. Click Phones on the left. You’ll see a list of phone fields, with buttons named “Work Phone”, “Mobile Phone”, etc. Click the button you want, type in the phone number and click OK. Repeat for all the numbers you like.

Check the box next to “Include in my contact card” for each number you enter. Then, click OK at the bottom to save.

4. How do I transfer calls to my cellphone?
When you have a call open in Lync, click the Transfer arrow in the conversation window’s bottom right corner (blue arrow pointing right).

A menu will come up giving Transfer options. Click your smartphone’s number (it should be under Mobile, where you entered it) to transfer the call.

You can also transfer to other contacts by clicking “Another Person or Number” and specifying which contact (or number).

5. How do I add contacts?
To add a contact, type the person’s name or email address into Lync’s main search box (between your picture and the contact list). When their name comes up, right-click it. Click Add to Contacts List. Done!

6. Can we call outside numbers with this system?
It’s a common perception that a VoIP system cannot dial out to non-VoIP numbers. It’s also false. A VoIP line can call any phone number you want.

7. So if the Internet goes down, the phones go down?
Yes, unfortunately. The one weakness of VoIP. So, keep a cellphone charged just in case.

These questions – and others like them – show that users engage with Lync pretty fast. Once you show how it gives them voice calls, IM, conferencing and so on, they’ll take it and run with it. My training sessions are always fun as a result.

If you train users on Lync, what are some questions you get asked?

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