When Bill Gates speaks, the tech world listens.
“Lync is the most important thing to happen to the office worker since the PC came along,” said the Microsoft co-founder, speaking at the launch of Lync 2010.
At the centre of one of the biggest transformations in the way the world works since the advent of the PC, the creation of Lync reflects a workforce which is more distributed, more flexible and more collaborative.
A new addition to the family is the Lync Room System, a native Lync solution for meeting rooms which sits proudly in the Microsoft New Zealand office.
Taking charge of the tour was Paul Dolley, Unified Communications Technology Strategist, Microsoft NZ, who helped demonstrate how the experience helps bring video and collaboration to life within the workplace.
While reading blog posts and opinion articles about the so-called ‘genius’ of any new product can be informative, until the time comes to actually sit down and use the solution first hand, it can be difficult to appreciate the wider benefits.
And with Lync Room System, benefits are certainly aplenty.
Truth be told, Microsoft could sit and talk about high-definition touch displays (1080p), wideband audio and table-top touch meeting consoles until they are blue in the face, but for the common businessperson, such claims can fall on deaf ears.
So what are the benefits? You know, the ones that actually impact on the quality and quantity of your workload throughout the day, i.e. not the specs.
According to Microsoft observations, “it takes 8 to 10 minutes on average from the time someone tries to start a meeting to the time 2-way video is established and content is available in the meeting.”
Whether this be the usual drill of tech-shy staff frantically flicking switches in a desperate bid to kickstart the system, starting a video conference can be a stressful task.
Hardly traumatic of course, but if starting a meeting at 9am as opposed to 9:10am can be achieved - why not embrace greater productivity?
And by 9am, Microsoft means 9am.
Upon entry to the Lync Room System, the meeting, content and video were automatically shown on large screens - it’s your personal assistant that’s one step ahead, all in the form of video.
With a live schedule showing the meeting room’s agenda for the day, the Lync Room System removes the need for workplace in-fighting. Comments such as “Err I think you’ll find I booked this room” can now be dismissed with a simple glance to the screen.
Now that you’re in the correct room and the meeting is underway, all before 9:01am, the solution really comes into its own.
Boasting key features such as the ones mentioned above, Lync Room System finally brings the meeting room up to pace with the highest standard of innovation, innovation previously lacking in this space.
A combination of integrated hardware and software, delivered by Microsoft partners, the touch-screen display allows for interactive sharing that is hassle free and easy to use.
Whether it be scribbling away on one of the two screens available, the solution allows seamless collaboration between colleagues, ensuring applications, including Adobe and Microsoft Excel, can be edited without issue and without confusion.
Another key feature, at the forefront of the Lync machine, is the administrative console.
Essentially providing a remote control for the proceedings, the console allows users to switch between presenters and content, meaning multiple documents can be viewed and discussed - without the need for a technology diploma or degree.
While the tour was booked for an hour, in truth, the demonstration lasted 15 minutes maximum.
Of course the hardware and software behind the layer of simplicity is of the most complex nature, but what makes Lync Room System shine is the ability to wrap up the mechanics into a user friendly bundle.
For folk not keen on video conferences, Microsoft’s Lync Room System won’t make you cartwheel down the corridor in excitement, but it’ll certainly help change your views regarding online meetings.
To say the solution is simple sounds like an injustice, but actually, it’s the greatest compliment one can give.
Because after all, if you can’t explain it, what’s the point?