So as I’m sure it’s not a shock to my regular readers, but I was migrated to the RTM version of Lync 2010 back in the mid-November timeframe.  Lync Server 2010 and the Lync client are the latest version of Microsoft’s enterprise voice, video, IM, and conferencing platform both on-premise and soon available with Office 365 in the cloud.  The feature and visual upgrade is nice and I’m working on a blog post to cover many of the features now available with this new version that you will be able to see here in the upcoming weeks.  For those of you not familiar with Office Communications Server R2, the previous generation of Microsoft’s software-based voice, video, IM and both audio and video conferencing solution, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the Lync Server 2010 site to begin to understand how having a software-based solution to do all these functions can not only save your company money, but also make your users more productive as these features are enabled through the entire Office System.  Having separate software applications and hardware to deliver phone, video, IM, audio and video conferencing is not just complex but expensive too, so Microsoft integrated all of these features into Lync Server 2010, so I recommend you see for yourself why the time to move is finally here.

So how is Lync 2010 going to help my users groups?  Well, most of the users groups registered here on my blog are registered with Microsoft and with that “official” registration comes a LiveMeeting account to use for remote participants when your users group is being held.  LiveMeeting does have the option of a one-way integrated audio solution where participants are able to hear the presenter’s audio, and while that is helpful, it’s somewhat limiting with respect to being able to solicit questions, feedback and/or conversation from the remote participants.  The solution?  Lync Server 2010 has streamlined the integrated audio conferencing where I (and my other IT Pro and Developer Evangelist Peers) can now share out my audio conferencing bridge for use in the evenings for users groups.  This will allow users groups to broadcast their presentations via their LiveMeeting account, but also have a separate audio bridge for remote participants to ask questions and interact with the in-person users group.  We all know it’s hard to make EVERY users group every month, but being able to get to it from LiveMeeting and be able to now fully participate through the audio bridge is a wonderful thing.

USER GROUP LEADERS in the NY Metro, New Jersey, Fairfield County Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Delaware areas, reach out to me ASAP as I’m currently putting together a monthly schedule of my conference bridge to be used each night for user groups.  If available, I’ll give your users group access to my audio bridge to be used each month at your meetings.  I can only have one group use it a night and we have multiple groups on the same night across this large area

USER GROUP LEADERS in other areas, reach out to your local IT Pro or Developer Evangelist to get their conference bridge info.  (They can reach out to me if they need more info from the Microsoft side.)  See the left hand side of the home page of my blog for links to the other East Region IT Pro Evangelists (Yung Chou, John Baker, Dan Stolts and Blain Barton.)

Enjoy!