Microsoft made a lot of announcements at the Lync conference in February, and in between really specific promises for things such as an Android tablet Lync client, the offer of free Skype calls to customers, and letting us make HD video calls from Lync to Skype or to legacy video conferencing systems there is something about moving from unified communications to universal communications and that just may be the most significant item of all.
Universal communications acknowledges that not everyone is using the Lync client on their PC, mobile or laptop, not everyone is moving into instant messaging and emails, many are still using traditional voice communications and using Lync as part of a complete business communications system and that means in many cases using Lync with fixed desktop handsets. Yes, I said fixed handsets, those handsets that analysts like Gartner have been predicting for years were dead or at lest dying, those handsets that you see in every office you visit. The ones used not only by your executives but by practically every employee. If you just want to make and receive landline calls through Lync Online, in future that will be built into Office 365. You’ll be able to call a phone number from Lync or have people call a standard phone number and have the call come to you in Lync on whatever device you’re using.
This future vision of Microsoft Lync is fascinating because it clearly brings desk phones back into the picture as a critical business communications device (not that some of us thought they had ever left!) and makes the latest developments announced by snom to enable central mass provisioning of handsets for Lync a high priority product. Mass configuration and customization of IP phones is a challenge in Microsoft Lync Enterprise Voice projects. New approaches to this now natively leverage Microsoft Lync Server’s inbuilt device management components and seamlessly integrate Lync Server components to overcome the provisioning limitations and meet business requirements.