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Lync: the collaborative all-in-one tool you should be using

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By Emily Rushton

Meetings are all about collaboration – and the tools you use for them should be, too.

That’s why Corey Winn, senior engineer for UIT Unified Communications (UC), wants people to start using Lync – a fully encrypted collaboration client that breaks down communication barriers.

“The thing that makes it so great is that everything is there, in one client,” said Winn.

And he does mean everything. Lync offers instant messaging, phone calls, user availability status, desktop sharing, conference calls and online meetings, all within one slick piece of software that can be used on any device. It’s also tightly integrated with Microsoft Outlook, allowing a user to see when other Lync users are online and giving options to call or chat with them by simply hovering over the user’s name.

“One thing that gets a lot of people excited is the desktop sharing feature,” said Winn. That particular feature allows a user on a call or chat to show the other person their personal desktop, enabling easy viewing of files and presentations. “You can both see what’s happening, and you can be anywhere in the world and have that type of collaboration,” he said.

The desktop sharing feature even allows a user to take control of another user’s desktop, with his or her permission.

“It’s very handy for IT professionals, especially help desk support – they can just get in and check things really fast. It makes it really nice,” said Winn.

UC has recently started an Enterprise Voice Pilot program, which allows the ability to use Lync as your telephone device. The Lync phones act as regular telephones in addition to running a Lync client with all the standard features. The pilot program started with 100 Lync phones and test users, but UC hopes to increase that number to 500 soon. If all goes well, the plan will be to deploy the phones to staff all across campus.

“We’re ironing out a few small issues that have come up, but overall it’s gone really well,” said Winn.

Currently, campus sees between 4,000 and 8,000 daily users of Lync, but Winn said they’d like to see that number grow. UC is even looking at the possibility of having Continuing Education develop Lync training courses for those that would like to learn more about it.

“As you play around with it and find out ways to do things, you’ll be amazed,” Winn said. “When I first started, I was amazed at how easy it is to use. It’s very intuitive and well-designed.”

To download Lync for free, visit this page.

Last Updated: 4/13/21