Microsoft® Lync® is an enterprise-ready unified communications platform. With Lync, users can keep track of their contacts’ availability; send an IM; start or join an audio, video, or web conference; or make a phone call—all through a consistent, familiar interface. Lync is built to fully integrate with Microsoft Office. The Microsoft Lync 2013 desktop client is available for Windows and for Mac and mobile versions are available for Windows Phone, iPhone/iPad, and Android devices. Microsoft Lync is a single, unified communications platform that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office and other existing tools and systems. This can lead to improved productivity, increased mobility, and faster responses for customers, partners, and employees.

Basic features include instant messaging, Voice Over IP, and video conferencing inside the client software. Advanced features are related to integration with other Microsoft software:

  • Availability of contacts is based on Microsoft Outlook contacts stored in a Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Contact lists can be retrieved from a local directory service, like Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Office can show if other people are working on the same document

All communication between the clients is done through a Microsoft Lync Server server. This makes communications more secure, as messages do not need to leave the corporate intranet, unlike with the Internet based Windows Live Messenger. The server can be set to relay messages to other instant messaging networks, avoiding installation of extra software at the client side.
A number of client types are available for Microsoft Lync, including mobile clients.
User SIP as the basis for its client communication protocol
Offers support for TLS and SRTP to encrypt and secure signaling and media traffic.
Allows sharing files.

The main new features are the addition of real-time multi-client collaborative software capabilities, (which allow teams of people to see and simultaneously work on the same documents and communications session). These features are implemented as follows:

Collaboration through Whiteboard documents, where the participants have great freedom to share text, drawing and graphical annotations.
Collaboration through Power Point documents, where the participants can control and see presentations, as well as allow everybody to add text, drawing and graphical annotations.
Polling lists, where Presenters can organize polls and all participants can vote and see results.
Desktop sharing, usually by allowing participants to see and collaborate on your windows screen.
Windows applications sharing, by allowing participants to see and collaborate on a specific application.
All collaboration sessions get automatically defined as conferences, where clients can invite more contacts. Conference initiators (usually called organizers) can either promote participants to act as presenters or demote them to act as attendees. They can also define some basic policies about what presenters and attendees are able to see and do. Deeper details of policy permissions are defined at server level.

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