Welcome to another round of featured news items from around the web. Each week, we handpick articles for our community related to cloud and enterprise technology. We welcome your suggestions for next week’s round-up— share your links in the comments section or tweet a link to us at @msproductivity.

US Army Can Keep Soliders on Front Lines Connected with Lync

I was excited to learn how the Army believes Lync can benefit its personnel, and I think you’ll find it interesting as well. At the Command and Control Directorate for the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC CD2), a development effort is underway to understand how the Army can use Lync to extend its communication infrastructure to keep soldiers connected to each other, whether they are at the command post or on patrol. Instant communication is critical to soldiers on the front lines. In fact, soldiers rate instant messaging applications as the most important application they use. Adverse conditions, a wide variety of communications equipment, mobile personnel, and bandwidth constraints make communications difficult. Instant messaging helps the army overcome these challenges.

Microsoft Lync Placed in Leader Quadrant in Gartner Unified Communications

The overall UC market has matured and evolved significantly in 2011. The most notable change has been the shift in emphasis from broad UC portfolios toward fuller UC suites. Other important factors influencing the market were the convergence of cloud and on-premises UC functions, the increased role of consumer products and the continued influence of mobility. Microsoft released Lync (an evolution of its OCS product) and enhanced its telephony capabilities. Microsoft now has references that use only Lync for telephony, which is an important milestone. Microsoft also made important UC as a service (UCaaS) advances with the release of Office 365, which includes Lync-Online. Microsoft's pending acquisition of Skype is likely to lead to Skype-integrated Lync offerings.

Taking Lync for a Test Drive 

Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) is a company on the move. The company needed a communications solution to help its people stay connected on the go, save on travel, and reduce the company’s carbon footprint: Enter Microsoft® Lync™ 2010. Over the next several months, VWGoA employees will be taking Lync for a spin and sharing their stories here at TestDrivingLync.com.

Phones and Devices Qualified for Microsoft Lync

Microsoft tests and qualifies phones, headsets, webcams, conference room devices, PCs and other devices for Lync under its Compatible Devices Program. This program has 2 levels:

  • 'Optimized for' – IP phones, headsets, webcams, PCs, conference room devices and other devices that offer a rich and integrated experience giving customers the power to get the most out of their Lync experience and higher return on investment.
  • Other compatible IP phones – IP phones tested to provide interoperability and quality of experience.