One of the compelling standard features that is an “add-on” in some conventional PBX offerings is the dial in PSTN conferencing, which was included “out of the box” beginning with OCS 2007 R2.  The dial in conferencing service (CAA) is greatly enhanced in Lync 2010.

If you were hosting an audio conference in 2007 R2, it was difficult not to have the host connect from the MOC.  No one could remember their PIN, and you couldn’t control aspects of the conference from a phone anyway.

To that end, first, they have added DTMF (phone button) controls.  The defaults (they are completely customizable via PowerShell) are:

*1 Help

*3 Private roll call

*6 mute/unmute self

* 7 lock/unlock

*4 Toggle Silent Mode

*9 Toggle enter/exit announcements on/off

*8 Open lobby

That leads to some of the new functionality those controls allude to.  First, you can have a lobby mode where outside the company participants (don’t have a PIN or didn’t use the Lync Client) are have to wait for you to let them in.  This is useful for reasons I won’t go into 🙂  You don’t have to use this, it’s just an option and can be done from the Lync client as well.

They now batch multiple entry and exit announcements, so you don’t have 10 minutes of “*silence* joined the call” or beeps in the beginning, it will just say 5 new participants joined the call.  They also can use the computer generated name instead of recording your name – because we know no one does it 🙂

Your PIN is now easy to find.  Instead of just being able to reset it on the dial in conferencing web page, you will be able to see it in the clear now.

Access numbers are now able to be configured per site, instead of just globally and there is also multilingual support.

Road warriors that have to hold conferences from their cell phone will rejoice with all these changes…