Exciting enhancements in Lync 2013Exciting enhancements in Lync 2013Exciting enhancements in Lync 2013Exciting enhancements in Lync 2013 for end usersfor end usersfor end usersfor end users
Blog Post Date: October 22, 2012
Category: Effective communication
Author: Ulrika Hedlund
In last week’s blog post I gave you “5 tips for how to enhance communication using
Microsoft Lync 2010”. When I wrote that article Microsoft had already completed the next
version of Lync – Microsoft Lync 2013 (which was code named Lync 15). Although the final
version hasn’t been released to the public yet, a preview of the product was released earlier
this summer and the product team have been sharing more information about the final
release in their blog. As with all new product releases there are exciting enhancements for
various groups – IT administrators, support staff, etc. In this blog post I wanted to share
some of the enhancements that I’m most excited about from a user perspective.
Updated client for easier interactionsUpdated client for easier interactionsUpdated client for easier interactionsUpdated client for easier interactions If you are using Microsoft Lync 2010 on your PC you will feel quite familiar with the new
client. Lync 2013 has the “Office 2013” look and feel which means that frames have been
removed to provide a cleaner interface with less clutter, menu options are easier to find with
capital letters and larger icons.
The new client makes it easier to quickly interact with
contacts. If you click on a contact the “Quick Lync Bar”
appears with large icons showing you in which ways you
can interact with the person. Another addition that really
should have been there long ago is the “Add a contact”
button which makes it easier to build your contact groups.
If you had instant messaging conversations with multiple people in previous versions of
Lync your screen would quickly get cluttered with windows for each conversation. This
could get really messy and if you weren’t paying attention you might send an instant
message to the wrong person. In Lync 2013 you have one single window with all your
conversations, each person on a separate tab. This is a great enhancement that really helps
you keep your conversations organized so that they are always easy and quick to access.
Support for a large range of devicesSupport for a large range of devicesSupport for a large range of devicesSupport for a large range of devices I wrote that you will feel quite familiar with the new Lync 2013 PC client – if, however, you
download the entirely new client that has been developed for Windows 8 touch screen
devices the experience will be entirely different. I haven’t had the opportunity to try this
myself, but from what I have seen in the blogs it looks really exciting.
Lync 2013 also comes as a new web client with much better functionality than before. Now
you have full audio and video directly from within your browser!
Integrated group chatIntegrated group chatIntegrated group chatIntegrated group chat One of the new exciting capabilities in Lync 2013 is persistent group chat. You can think of
this as a virtual meeting room where you gather to discuss a specific topic with each other
in real-time. You can enter and exit this virtual room as you please and all the conversations
and information that is shared in the room is stored there so that you can search and filter
for information and easily get up to speed. This capability was available in Lync 2010, but
not through the normal client so it wasn’t widely adopted. Now that it is integrated into the
Lync 2013 client I believe more users will start using it. A lot of discussions within
organizations that are currently carried out through long email threads would be much
better off in a Lync group chat. Group chat is great for scenarios like events, Q&A (Question
and Answer) forums where you can post questions to experts, brainstorming, product
planning, etc. Group chats can be “Open” (anyone can find them and join in), “Closed”
(anyone can find them, but only members can join) or “Secret “(you need to be a member to
join or even see that the group exists). Having group chats that are visible and open to
everyone in the organization improves transparency and internal communication.
Integration with SkypeIntegration with SkypeIntegration with SkypeIntegration with Skype There are many different applications for instant messaging and voice over IP (see my blog
post called “Instant Messaging Clients”). However, one of the most popular, used by over
600 hundred million users, is Skype. Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype has opened up for new
exciting integration capabilities that are introduced with Lync 2013. You will be able to
communicate with all your Skype contacts – suppliers, customers, partners, etc. directly
from Lync. You will be able to see their presence, chat and call them. Unfortunately there is
no support for video in this version, but this is bound to be introduced in coming versions.
Video conferencing enhancementsVideo conferencing enhancementsVideo conferencing enhancementsVideo conferencing enhancements Finally I’d like to highlight the video conferencing enhancements in Lync 2013. The backend
technology has been improved to enable rich high definition multiparty video; the
technology standard used (called H.264 SVC) can better optimize the available bandwidth
so that you have the best possible video quality whether Lync is used on a mobile phone
with a poor network connection or a PC with a fast Internet connection.
The Lync client has also been updated to improve the meeting experience. Meeting
participants will be shown in two rows – the standing row (on top) where the most active
speakers are shown and the sitting row (on the bottom) where the rest are shown. You can
“pin” people to the standing row if you are particularly interested in seeing them during the
A new capability that I really like is that you can see a video preview of yourself before you
turn on your video camera (not that you ever look good in a webcam☺). If you want to
know more about the video conferencing enhancements you can read this blog post from
the product team.
Good to know before getting too excitedGood to know before getting too excitedGood to know before getting too excitedGood to know before getting too excited The new version of Lync definitely brings some very interesting capabilities that will
improve business productivity. It’s important to point out though that there will be
differences in capabilities of the on-premise Lync 2013 server and the Lync Online service
offered by Microsoft. Group chat for instance will not be available in Lync Online or the
ability to connect external users that have Yahoo or AOL instant messaging clients.
Other capabilities that users have been asking for are spell-check and offline instant
messaging (being able to send instant messages to someone even if they are offline - which
can be done in Skype today). Unfortunately these requests have not been fulfilled with Lync
2013 (though users who are using Lync on Windows 8 can leverage the Windows spell
checker). Even so, I find the enhancements that are being introduced with Lync 2013 very
exciting and I’m eager for Microsoft to upgrade my subscription of Office 365 to the next