I’ve been working on OCS / CS / Lync 2010 since March under NDA with Microsoft as part of TAP program. I was in attendance in Redmond for the “Wave 14 Airlift” with the keynote speech being given by Gurdeep Singh Pall – to paraphrase part of his remarks, Gurdeep noted that people frequently ask him if OCS was a PBX replacement. If he said “Yes”, people would tell him “but it doesn’t do x, y and z?”. If he said “no” they would say “a ha! Gurdeep says OCS is not a PBX replacement!” What he said that he says now when asked if OCS is a PBX replacement is “Wave 14 CS [now AKA Lync 2010] makes the PBX obsolete.”
Now, one would expect the venerable leader of Unified Communications at Microsoft to say nothing less. However, he’s not kidding – and here is why:
1. They now have a comprehensive remote / branch office solution for offices of all sizes
2. The now have bandwidth control, AKA CAC Call Admission Control
3. Dial-in conference bridge is vastly improved with DTMF controls
4. The $500 Tanjay phone won’t be the only blessed hard phone solution. In fact, the Tanjay will be supported, but the new series of hard phones with a much improved UI that cover the gambit of price ranges for hard phones.
5. The best feature of OCS 2007, the MOC client desktop UI, is ever better – it’s beautiful.
6. Everyone touts better voice quality that has used the beta builds. In my opinion one reason for that is less transcoding due to a new feature called media bypass.
7. To follow #6, the mediation sever role is more or less deprecated in Lync 2010. There is no more 1 to 1 ratio limitation of gateway to mediation server, which now can be a role that runs on the frontend. The mediation service is only used in call scenarios that cross the Edge server. They have done this and other things to reduce the server count needed for deployment.
8. UCMA version 3.0, the free downloadable royalty free API platform is also greatly improved – and has more exposure to the inner-workings than ever. One those things now exposed are capability to do a 3 way monitor with “whisper” to a call center agent. Lots of call center stuff, silverlight, fully backward and did I mention it’s free?
9. Full library of new powershell comandlets. No more using WMI to do scripting, now there are hundreds of new commandlets to make administration scripting and command line stuff easy squeezey.
10. New cadre of mobile phone stuff (including the ability to seemlessly transfer a call from communicator to your mobile phone without anyone knowing), with the coolest stuff centered around the Windows 7 phone. The Lync app the on the Windows 7 phone will be a must have, and they say they are working with others to improve their apps.
Another sign that Microsoft believes this is the one – they are going to start charging for Voice. However, it will still be cheaper and give more ROI than Avaya and Cisco.
Thomas Kisner, MCITP
I work at RBA Consulting. Everything here, however, is my personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here does not necessarily reflect the views of RBA Consulting.