Almost a year after the release of Lync Microsoft has this week released the server code and supporting documentation for Lync mobile clients, with clients to follow sometime next week. While the lack of voice and video capabilities has disappointed some within the community I think this release is a good start.
I emphasise that Microsoft hasto view this as a start of the Lync mobile journey and not an end. Mobile and Tablet adoption is simply moving too fast within the corporate IT system for Lync to fall behind on these devices. For Lync to justify its licence fee and be the unified communication platform in an enterprise it must provide feature parity with the desktop version.
This is no easy task for Redmond, especially when the Lync team have to go and invest in non Windows platforms. While the Lync team understand the need for a broad base of clients I’m not so sure this message is well received by their Windows counterparts. Future Lync mobile and tablets are for another day, lets take a look what Microsoft will be delivering this week.
First off a broad and comprehensive set of clients, including iPhone, iPad, Android, Nokia and Windows Phone. The Blackberry client was developed by Blackberry themselves. The iPad and iPhone clients are probably the stand out in terms of look and overall feel. The functionality revolves around three core components (a much more detailed feature list and comparison can be found below):
- Corporate address book with the ability to see presence and share instant messaging (individual and multi party). This is the core element of the clients.
- Call from work – while voice and video calls can not be started the clients do have the ability to initiate a standard GSM call, with the Lync server calling a mobile/cell upon request by the user. Single number reach can also be enabled.
- One click to join Lync conference calls – this will be very popular, attempting to input conference pins on a mobile is a frustrating experience, as long as you have a data connection the mobile client will take all that entry away from you with a single click.