K. V. Kurmanath

Hyderabad, Dec. 13

Alok, a senior executive with an IT firm, had to leave an important video-conference half-way for another meeting an hour's drive away. Instead of leaving the proceedings incomplete, he carried on his conversations uninterrupted, using his mobile phone. This he did by changing the conversation option on his laptop from ‘computer' to ‘phone'.

Microsoft says its new generation unified communication platform, Lync (derived from ‘link' and ‘synchronisation'), allows users such uninterrupted conversations in a corporate network, even if they have to switch from chat mode to mobile phones or from video mode to instant messaging.

People having access to different means of communications could tag along, without having to lose continuity. “When you miss a conversation, you get an alert just as you get ‘missed call' alerts on mobile phones. Lync also allows you to share documents and access desktops of collaborators — with their consent, of course,” Mr Nagesh B. Pabbisetty, General Manager (Unified Communications) of Microsoft, told Business Line.

After the global launch of Lync in November, Microsoft this month started selling the application in India.

“I should be able to find you when I'm trying to reach you, using whatever mode of communication that is available. And, you should be in a position to participate in that conversation in whichever mode you are comfortable,” he said.

Social network element

While switching between computers and mobile phones is a new capability from Microsoft, which has been offering unified communications under Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) and Microsoft Communicator, it has also brought in elements of social network into Lync. The platform allows users to bring in contact details of friends from LinkedIn and Facebook.

Quoting surveys, Mr Sukhvinder Ahuja, Lead, Unified Communications, Microsoft India, said about 11 per cent of employees in any organisation are on social networking sites. “Using Exchange 2010, we allow them to download their contacts from social networks,” he said.


Microsoft has tied up with Polycom, Astra and Snom to provide last-mile connectivity to organisations for these solutions. These companies manufacture Lync-ready basic phones and IP (Internet protocol) phones with the required software to handle uninterrupted conversations.

Mr Ahuja said Lync also addressed the legacy (companies having old generation phones) networks. “The software will talk to these old generation phones (that is, land-line phones without IP capability). “Companies need not bother about their investments on these networks. It simply tags the old network along,” he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 14, 2010)
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