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TMCNet:  Lync Server 2013 Adds Skype Federation & Many Other New Features

[July 23, 2012]

Lync Server 2013 Adds Skype Federation & Many Other New Features

Originally posted on VoIP & Gadgets Blog, here: http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/microsoft/lync-server-2013-adds-skype-federation-many-other-new-features.asp.

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Lync Server 2013 can federate with Skype, which is huge new feature that greatly enhances Microsoft's UC portfolio and may explain the $8.5 billion premium Microsoft paid for Skype. You can now fully integrate Skype contacts into Lync and call or instant message anyone on Skype. Alas, only voice and no video support yet. smiley-cry In May I discussed how Xbox 360 integration with Skype was slow going, so Skype federation with Microsoft Lync is welcome news.

In April I mentioned how the Microsoft/Skype team was looking for HTML5 developers - no doubt with the intention of building a fully web-based Skype client. Well, one huge addition to Lync 2013 is the new Lync Web App adds both audio and video support enabling anyone who does not have a Lync client installed locally to participate. This is big news and will certainly cause larger organizations that pay for WebEx or GoToMeeting services on a monthly basis to consider Lync for their online meeting services due to the fixed licensing costs. Meeting participants have access to all collaboration and sharing features and presenter meeting controls.

'Though the Lync Web App doesn't leverage HTML5 - it requires an ActiveX control to be installed. However, tablets and mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Android) can still use Lync Web App and participate in a meeting. They won't have audio or video, but they will see IMs, whiteboard, and polls. The new Web App Server known as WAC (Office Web App Companion) Server is essentially running Sharepoint and performing the HTML rendering. It uses standard DHTML and JavaScript supported on most mobile platforms. Perhaps once HTML5 and the WebRTC spec is finalized we'll see a full Lync client run within a browser without the need for an ActiveX control.

It's also worth mentioning that the new Office 2013 comes with Skype and when you subscribe (To Office via Office 365) you get 60 minutes of Skype world minutes every month.

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