Lync, your productivity wingman

Tim Woo is a product manager on the Lync team.

In a previous career, I was a consultant. Hotels were my home and client sites were my office. Getting work done with my team was difficult, because we were hardly ever in the same room, or even same city. If only my firm had used Lync. You could describe Lync as that part of Office that enhances productivity through communications and collaboration. But the way many Lync users think of it is more telling. For them it’s their virtual work buddy, BFF, or wingman—their “go to” app for getting things done with others. If you haven’t experienced Lync yet or you’re just starting out with it, I’d like to give you a sense of what Lync can do for you so you, too, can experience having a valued companion for your collaboration.

Communicate the way you want. Fast. Effortlessly.

Lync puts communication information and channels right at your fingertips. You don’t have to wonder or take extra steps to figure out if someone is available to chat. All you have to do is check their Presence. Lync displays whether you and your contacts are “Available,” “Busy,” or even “In a Meeting,” and it automatically adjusts the status depending on whether you’re in a meeting or away from your desk. And if you’re presenting your screen, it automatically updates to “Do Not Disturb” so it blocks your friend’s IM regarding happy hour so it doesn’t pop up on your screen in front of your clients.

lyncwingman_01See your contacts’ status and update your own.

Lync also gives you lots of different ways to communicate, so you can choose the best way to connect with someone. Often you need to connect quickly and you can do that with instant messaging.Lync provides world-class real-time chat so you can reach your coworkers and get instant responses to your questions. So next time you need an answer right away, instead of sending an email, which can be easily overlooked in the chaos of the inbox, use Lync to send an IM.

lyncwingman_02Sometimes it’s faster to IM someone for the answer.

Instant messaging is great, but sometimes you just want to pick up the phone and talk. With Lync, you can use your computer to make voice calls to other Lync users without having to pick up a phone and dial any digits. All you have to do is click.

What about those times when you want an even more personal and dynamic form of communication, like video, in which you can see the expressions and gestures of the other person on the line? Lync gives you that option too. With a single click, Lync provides HD video calling capabilities to other Lync users so you can see whom you’re talking to in full 1080p HD quality video. Just be sure your whiteboard behind you doesn’t have any inappropriate messages!

Lync enables productivity

To me, productivity is all about working effectively on documents with teammates. And Lync gives you several ways to do this. You can share your desktop or a PowerPoint presentation, start a virtual whiteboard session, or share other applications. When I think about all the presentations I used to send back and forth through email for others to edit, I cringe. The process could have been significantly streamlined by just sharing it through Lync and editing together in real time.


Share your slides and have productive online meetings.

Video conferencing is another great collaboration tool that can boost productivity and Lync makes it easy to use.When I ask customers what they think of video conferencing, they usually tell me that it’s a hassle: It entails booking a special room that can be used only for video conferencing. With Lync, you can hold or participate in an online meeting wherever you are, because your desktop or your mobile phone becomes your video conference room.

Lync lets you connect with whom you need to, also, even if they’re outside of your organization and even if they don’t have Lync. Lync federation extends communications securely over the Internet to customers, suppliers, and partners using Lync, Office Communicator, or Skype. Additionally, the Lync Web App allows people from outside the Lync or Skype environment to join a Lync Meeting from a browser, delivering a full online meeting experience including IM, voice, multiparty video, data collaboration, and sharing.

Lync goes where you go

Whatever platform or device you favor, you’re covered. Lync makes communicating easier by giving you a consistent and familiar experience across devices, including Windows PCs, Windows Phones, iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Android smartphones and tablets.

With Lync you don’t need a virtual private network (VPN). All Lync traffic and media is encrypted, so you can securely connect with your contacts whether you’re on your corporate network, home network, or the corner café that has free Wi-Fi. There is no need to sign into a VPN.

I’ve just scratched the surface of what Lync can do for you. But I’m confident that once you try it, you won’t be able to imagine collaborating without it!

For some guided walkthroughs on how to use some of the Lync features described above, please visit the following tutorials:

Scheduling and preparing for a Lync Meeting
Joining a Lync Meeting
Managing your Lync Meeting

See you online!

Tim Woo @therealtimwoo