OIT Technology News: April 2011

OIT Newsletter: April

OIT Tech News: April 2011 (Continued)

Introducing Lync 2010

MS LyncBeginning in April and May, OIT will launch a new service powered by Microsoft Lync 2010. This powerful service offers a variety of features designed to help streamline and facilitate communication and collaboration. Although the software offers a wide range of functionality, the following three components will be available for faculty and staff: Enterprise IM, Presence and Desktop Sharing.

Presence

Next to each email address or display name in Outlook, Inside.SMU and Webmail, a small colored sqare will appear. The square will change color depending on information from your calendar as well as computer activity. A green icon indicates that you are online and available. A yellow icon indicates that you are inactive or Away. A red icon means that you are busy. This presence indicator allows your SMU colleagues to quickly determine the best way to communicate with you at that moment. The presence indicators can be changed quickly at any point through the Lync client.

Enterprise IM

Lync offers a robust enterprise Instant Messaging client. Contacts are added simply by their SMU Email address. You can create groups of contacts allowing you to quickly send an IM to an entire group of people with just a click. Contacts can be part of multiple groups, allowing you to customize the client based on your communication needs. You can add contacts to an existing conversation at any point. Conversations can also be saved in Outlook for future reference.

Desktop Sharing

Lync also offers several tools allowing you to collaborate with your colleagues in a desktop conferencing/sharing session. You can quickly share your desktop with a colleague to help collaborate or provide training. Audio and/or Video can be added to the desktop sharing session provided your computer is equipped with the proper technology.  This component allows a coworker to participate in a meeting even if they are in another location. In addition to sharing your desktop or a specific application, you can also share a whiteboard or conduct a quick poll to facilitate discussion in a meeting.

Requirements

In order to use this new service, the Lync software must be installed. Additional details regarding the installation of this software will be made available once the service is ready. The Lync client will allow you to use IM, change your presence indicators, and share your desktop or select application with selected coworkers. No additional equipment is needed for these functions.

Once Lync is installed, you will have the ability to communicate more efficiently with other faculty and staff. Just imagine, you finish reading an email and have a quick question. You notice the sender of that email is online based on the green presence indicator. Rather than responding via email, you can quickly launch an IM session and get the answer you need!

Additional Features--Not Included in this deployment

You will notice several other icons in the Lync client. Some of these features require additional equipment on each computer.  OIT strongly encourages all faculty and staff to utilize existing hardware only at this time.  Recommendations will be made regarding microphones, cameras, headsets and speakers at a later date. 

  • Video: In order to video chat or add video to a meeting, a computer must have a web camera installed.
  • Voice/IP Calling:  You may notice the "phone" icon visible for each contact within Lync.  This offers the functionality of a Lync to Lync phone call (computer to computer).  In order to use this feature, a microphone and speaker must be available on both computers (the individual initiating the call and the person being called). The Lync to Lync calling is currently avaialble for faculty and staff with the proper equipment (microphone and speaker or appropriate headset); however, there are a few limitations. Therefore, it will not be covered in training at this time. Lync can also be configured to utilize IP phone devices which would allow incoming and outgoing calls to non Lync clients.  This expanded calling is not enabled on the server and therefore will not be available for campus.
  • Voicemail: Lync offers the ability to receive voicemail on the Lync server and route those messages to your Outlook inbox.  This feature is not yet enabled.
  • Photos:  You may notice that Lync offers the ability to view small photos next to each contact.  At this time, the photo feature is disabled.  Once pictures are avaialble, additional information will be provided. You can turn off the placeholder icon by accessing the Options menu in the Lync client.

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Lync Demonstrations

There will be two information sessions on Lync during the Tech Fair on April 13.  Stop by for a quick introduction to this new service. Additional demonstration sessions will be announced after the Tech Fair.

Lync Tutorials

A series of Lync tutorials are also in development and will be available next week from the Lync web page.

Deployment Schedule

Lync will be enabled and the software deployed via LanDesk to staff within each department during the designated week.  To avoid conflicts with exams and the end of the semester, faculty can elect to use this new service and install the software from the Portal at the time of their choosing.

Lync will be deployed in the following order beginning on April 11

  • HR
  • CUL and Business and Finance
  • DEA, Available to Schools through the Deployment Portal
  • Athletics
  • Student Affairs, Provost
  • Available to all faculty and staff through the LanDesk Software Deployment Portal

 

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