The expansion and evolution of unified communications calls for necessary competition within the industry, of course, but it also calls for collaboration.
Global AV and UC solutions provider Whitlock is making strides integrating Microsoft Lync into its unified communications portfolio. The latest version of Lync, a UC enterprise platform, includes multiparty HD video and content sharing, integration across Microsoft Office apps and voice over IP, among other features.
This past May, Whitlock was certified as a Microsoft Gold Communications Partner, a recognition awarded to the top one percent of Microsoft’s partner network. The company is also an Elite Crestron Partner and implements the latest Lync offerings from Polycom and SMART.
“Whitlock has made a bold investment in the Microsoft UC portfolio, including Lync, Sharepoint and Office 365, as well as a full suite of surrounding solutions for integrating Lync into legacy environments such as boardrooms and videoconferencing rooms,” says Doug Hall, CEO of Whitlock. “We have responded to customer demand for standardized use of Lync on a global basis from any location and on any device.”
Whitlock reiterated this message at its Convergence show last week in Durham, N.C., during a seminar entitled, “Best Practices for Maximizing the Value of Microsoft Lync.” One of the panelists, Pat Borka, is a Microsoft Solutions Architect at Whitlock responsible for the analysis, design and implementation of Microsoft Lync solutions.
“Lync is driven by simplicity,” explained Borka during the panel discussion. “[Lync facilitates] things like being able to escalate a conversation.”
This nifty new term in the UC space – escalation – means taking a conversation from one medium, like a phone call, to another, like a video. Lync enables a user to easily take the conversation from voice to face-to-face video.
“It all comes back to the idea of the meeting experience,” added Joel Kuhn, Polycom director of systems engineering.
Whitlock and its partners aim to create this effortless, intelligent meeting experience through the integration of Lync. The Whitlock team reviews clients’ current infrastructure and network and helps develop a customized deployment plan before going over the process and features of Lync with each client.
“Before you deploy visual collaboration, if you’re not certain about your network environment, do some analysis,” Borka explained, offering some best practices advice on the first step of the job – reviewing the network. “Bandwidth, quality of service, network design and implementation, DSCP transparency… these are all factors to take into account.”
Another critical message is to look at workflow and user experience.
“Figure out what the users need, train the users, communicate the ‘what’s in it for me’ message, and buy their love,” said Borka.
The ‘what’s in it for me’ message is the bottom line: why does the client need this service? You might ask how their last meeting with a remote customer or employee went. Were there any connectivity troubles? Chances are, the answer is yes.
Lastly, Whitlock is keeping in mind their Lync-using and non-Lync-using clients. The latest version of the Lync Server aims to simplify the way users experience a Lync conference, even when bringing in non-Lync devices, answering an important question from Borka.
“How do we bring things into the Lync environment that aren’t Lync at all?”
Part of Whitlock’s job is to choose pure Lync or Lync-integrated solutions for each client, as appropriate. And Microsoft is making it easier with each update to do just that.
Through this collaboration, it is clear that both Whitlock and Microsoft are focused on simplifying the end user experience. The business meeting should be easy, and it should be simple.
Read more about Whitlock’s efforts to create the effortless meeting experience here.