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Lync 2010 New Features

Lync Server 2010
 

Topic Last Modified: 2012-10-13

This topic describes Microsoft Lync 2010 changes and enhancements made since the release of Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2.

If you are migrating from Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, see also "New Client Features" in the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 documentation at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=169718.

In addition to a new look, Lync 2010 has improved usability and new features that encourage communication and facilitate impromptu meetings and conversations among colleagues.

  • The Contacts list is enhanced with additional customization and search features. (For details, see the “Contacts Enhancements” section later in this topic.)
  • The Conversations list displays a user’s current and recent conversations. If multiple conversations are in progress, the user can switch from one Conversation window to another by clicking a conversation in the list. Lync obtains conversation history from Microsoft Exchange Server and displays it in the Conversations list so that users can view and continue their past conversations.
  • The Activity Feeds list lets users see note and status updates for people in their Contacts list. Users can now easily see each other’s latest activities, such as office moves or new personal photos, or a history of the last several status notes that have been posted. Contacts can see each others’ updates if they are assigned a Family and Friends, Workgroup, Colleagues or External Contacts privacy relationship.
  • The Phone view contains a dial pad for making calls, a list of voice-mail messages, and a Check button for testing call quality.

The top of the Lync user interface shows how users appear to their contacts, and lets users quickly update their status and other information.

  • The new personal picture feature displays a user’s picture to others and lets the user see pictures of other people in the organization. Users can control whether they want to show their picture and whether they want to see pictures of others. If you enable it, users can also change their picture from the default photo, which is stored in Active Directory Domain Services, to a custom picture on Microsoft SharePoint services or a public website.
  • Lync keeps track of how available a user is by showing whether the user is in a meeting, in a call, or away from the desk. Red, yellow, and green indicators let users know a contact’s status at a glance. There is also a new “Off Work” status.
  • With new location features, Lync can detect a user’s location when he or she travels between work and home so that Enhanced 9-1-1 (E9-1-1) services will be able to find the user more easily in an emergency. Users can also use this feature to let contacts see whether they are on the road or in a different building.

The new Contacts list and contact cards make it easier to find people and keep track of contacts.

  • The view of contacts is more customizable in Lync. Users can display contacts by group, availability, or level of privacy, with or without photos, and they can start conversations and meetings from the Contacts list by pointing to the contact. In addition, it is easy to edit contact information.
  • The Frequent Contacts group shows the 10 contacts a user most frequently has conversations with (not necessarily the most recent). Lync pre-populates the group with the user’s team members. Users can pin their favorite or important contacts to the top of their Frequent Contacts group.
  • Searching for contacts is more robust because users can conduct a skill search. This feature lets users search for people in their organization by using any property listed on SharePoint (for example, name, email, skills, area of expertise, and so on) This feature is available only if the system administrator has deployed SharePoint and turned on Lync and SharePoint integration.
  • New expanded contact cards show more information, including static information collected from the corporate directory, customized phone numbers, and presence, location, and time zone information. Calendar free/busy information from Exchange Server is also shown. The Organization tab on the contact card shows where the person fits into the organizational structure and lets users navigate the hierarchy.
  • If your organization has deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, a single unified contact store for contacts across Lync, the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client, and other endpoints eliminates the need to maintain multiple contact lists, and provides a consistent experience across programs.

New privacy features offer users more control over who can access their information.

  • Access levels are now called privacy relationships. Users can assign their contacts different privacy relationships, such as Family or Workgroup, depending on their relationship to the user. Users can also add trusted domains for people outside the organization.
  • Enhanced presence privacy is a new option. With enhanced presence privacy, a user’s presence is visible to contacts in his or her Contacts list but not to other people in the organization.

With the greater interoperability of Lync with Microsoft Office and the Windows 7 operating system, users can access Lync features from within Office and Windows.

  • When users run Microsoft Office 2010 products with Lync, they can perform many of the same actions in Office programs that they can perform in Lync. Lync features, such as sending instant messages and sharing documents, are available in Office 2010 products, including Outlook, the Microsoft Word word-processing program, the Microsoft PowerPoint presentation graphics program, and Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software. This functionality is available in SharePoint services, too.
  • Lync contacts appear in Outlook. Users can start instant messaging (IM) or phone conversations from Office applications, without switching to Lync. And now users can send an Outlook email message directly from Lync.
  • Lync features are available from the Windows 7 taskbar.

Sharing and collaboration features in Lync have been expanded from desktop sharing to include program sharing, whiteboards, annotation tools, polls, and PowerPoint presentations.

  • Users can upload, navigate through, and annotate PowerPoint presentations during an online conversation or meeting. Any file presented is transmitted to all meeting participants, who can save it on their computers. Users can restrict PowerPoint presentation availability according to participant role (organizer, presenters, and everyone) when the PowerPoint presentation is not being shared.
  • A whiteboard is a blank screen that can be used for collaborating with the help of tools such as text, ink, shapes, and images. Annotations made on whiteboards will be seen by all participants. The whiteboard feature enhances collaboration by allowing meeting participants to discuss ideas, brainstorm, take notes, and so on.
  • The laser pointer tool can be used during PowerPoint slide presentations and whiteboard sessions.
  • Users can share files with meeting participants by uploading them as attachments. During a meeting, participants can download the attachments. Users can restrict the availability of attachments according to meeting participants’ roles (organizer, presenters, or everyone).
  • The polling feature enhances collaboration by allowing presenters to quickly determine participants’ preferences. During online meetings and conversations, presenters can use polls to gather anonymous responses from participants. All presenters can see the results and can either hide the results or show them to all participants.

  • When enabled by the administrator, the recording feature allows organizers and presenters to record all aspects of a Lync session, including who entered the meeting, audio and video, and content from IM conversations, program sharing sessions, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, whiteboards, and so on.
  • Recordings are saved to the organizer’s or presenter’s computer but can also be published to a location that is available to others.

In Lync, users can join meetings faster and schedule meetings more simply.

  • An improved Online Meeting Add-in for Microsoft Lync 2010 and meeting user interface makes it easier to schedule meetings in Outlook and invite others before and during meetings.
  • Join metrics included with Lync can be used to measure join performance, which is targeted at less than two seconds when Lync is installed.
  • Entry points for joining a meeting are displayed wherever meeting information is available, which improves discoverability and lets users join meetings without having to switch programs.
  • Meeting URLs are simpler, easier to remember, and easier to communicate. The invitation has been simplified by including a shorter https:// URL. The organizer can also change the language of the invitation from another language to English and schedule online meetings when Lync is not available.
  • Authentication-related join failures caused by inadvertent access control configurations or last-minute changes to attendees are prevented. Anonymous users and participants for whom authentication fails are transferred to a waiting area called the lobby. Presenters can then either admit these users to the meeting or reject them.
  • From the invitation, mobile phone users can click once to join the audio portion of meetings.

A number of enhancements improve the experience for people joining conferences through public switched telephone network (PSTN) calls.

  • In Microsoft Lync Server 2010, there are a minimal number of concise prompts that users must respond to when they join a call.
  • Callers are no longer disconnected if no one is available to accept the call. Instead, they wait in the lobby. In Lync Server 2010, organizers can decline admittance to any caller waiting in the lobby.
  • Callers have access to dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) commands through the Help menu.
  • Callers are notified when calls are recorded.
  • Dial-in settings are automatically configured for audio conferencing. No audio conferencing provider configuration is required.
  • Meeting dial-out is an optional feature that allows users to join the audio portion of a meeting by using a PSTN number. With dial-out phoning, the Lync Server A/V Conferencing service calls the user, and the user answers the phone to join the meeting.

The video experience in Lync features improved video controls and the full-screen experience, in addition to support for panoramic video, multipoint video, subscription video, and VGA video in conferences.

In addition to the features listed in the “Call Handling: Delegation and Response Group Enhancements” section later in this topic, Lync has added support for delegate features so that delegates do not have to switch between Lync and the Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendant console. Lync now provides: notification when a user is added as someone’s delegate, the ability to make calls on behalf of the manager, and an automatic contact group that contains people for whom a user is a delegate. In Lync, a delegate can support multiple managers and make use of collaboration tools, such as program sharing and file transfer, which are not supported by Lync 2010 Attendant.

Administrators can enable the Call Park feature, which lets users put a call on hold and then either retrieve it themselves or notify other users (for example, by IM) to retrieve the call from their own phones or a common area phone.

Lync provides notifications to help users improve the quality of their calls if it detects device, network, or computer issues during a call.

  • A network health indicator monitors the quality of the network at regular intervals. If network quality is poor, a message is sent that recommends that a user make a test call to ensure the quality is sufficient for the type of call the user needs to make.
  • Approximately twelve potential audio problems are diagnosed, such as echo, speaking too softly, and low bandwidth. Sources of audio problems may include the network, computer, devices, or multiple issues occurring at the same time.
  • A Check Call Quality button allows users to make a test call on Lync so that they can check the voice quality of the call. It allows users to hear how they would sound in a real call. When users make a test call, the Audio Test service prompts them to record a voice sample after a beep. The sample records for a pre-defined time period (for example 10 seconds), and then it plays back to the user. If the network is sub-optimal, or if users do not have a good device setup, they will discover this from the recording playback.
  • During a call, if a user has a device setup that is adding poor audio (for example, echo or noise), Lync informs the user and others in the call that they are using a device that is causing poor audio quality. The information that is sent to others in the call will help them improve the quality of the call. For example, presenters can mute the user’s line if the user is just listening in on the call.

Improved audio device handling allows for easier installation and identification of multiple audio devices. Users can switch devices in a conversation with a single click. Administrators can choose to advise users to use a device that is optimized for Lync and provide a link to the support team’s website. Device tuning settings are located in the Lync - Options dialog box.

When enabled, the Emergency Services Service Provider allows Lync to transmit a location to emergency responders when an emergency services number is dialed (such as 9-1-1 in the United States).

  • The location information transmitted to emergency responders is the location that the administrator has assigned to a user’s location (for example, the user’s office number) and entered into the location database or, if such a location is not available, the location the user may have manually entered in the Location field.
  • Two policies are available to administrators: enable E9-1-1 without enforcing location and enable E9-1-1 with the requirement that users accept a disclaimer that their physical location will not be provided to emergency responders should they choose not to provide the location. All E9-1-1 related notifications are customizable according to the organization’s legal policy.
  • A user’s geographic location data is determined in one of two ways: The user can manually enter a location, or the Lync Server Location Information service provides the location data to Lync. In addition, a user’s time zone is retrieved from Windows.

Lync includes call delegation and response group enhancements.

  • In Lync Server, support for delegate features−such as shared lines (making and receiving calls on behalf of a manager), direct access to a manager at all times, and quick transfer of calls to a manager−allow delegates to manage calls more efficiently.
  • Response group call handling is enhanced to allow agents to answer calls anonymously so that workflow is not circumvented by callers calling a direct line.
  • Administrators can set up Microsoft Exchange Calendar Delegate sync-up with Lync Server. When enabled, Exchange Calendar Delegates with appropriate user rights and permissions (equal to or greater than Nonediting Author permissions) are automatically added as a user’s delegates in Lync.

Lync provides enhanced phone capabilities with all the functions of a traditional public branch exchange (PBX) system plus useful productivity features.

  • The Phone view provides a list of voice-mail messages and call logs and includes an on-screen dial pad.
  • Users can quickly place a test call to check the quality of their audio.
  • A Collect Logs feature allows users to collect Lync logs so that Microsoft can investigate audio, video, or connectivity issues that users may encounter. Users will need to manually upload the logs by following their enterprise administrator's instructions. The enterprise administrator will send the logs to Microsoft for troubleshooting purposes.
  • Users can select their personal favorite song or other recorded announcement to play while their callers are on hold.
 
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