My role on the Lync team focuses on “gadgets for Lync”, I manage the relationship with our audio and video device partners, and one of the things I like about working on this team is our focus on improving the customer experience. One question we get asked on occasion is what devices have been qualified/certified to work for Mac. The short answer is that we don’t yet qualify devices for Communicator for Mac 2011 or the upcoming Lync for Mac 2011 clients, but most of our device manufacturers have good solutions that will work with the Mac clients. USB devices such as headsets and speakerphones are excellent alternatives to basic computer microphones and speakers.
For example, Plantronics recommends all of their USB solutions that are certified by Microsoft (Calisto, Blackwire, Savi, and Voyager families), Jabra also recommends all their Optimized for Lync portfolio for a basic experience with Communicator for Mac 2011 and Lync for Mac 2011.
These products offer high quality wide-band audio (transmit and receive) that is optimized for use with Lync. However, in-line or on-headset call control will have limited functionality on the Mac client. Users will need to answer and end calls from the Mac client directly rather than using the headset buttons, and the Lync client may not reflect the actual mute state of the headset microphone if the in-line mute button is used.
To use USB audio devices with the Communicator/Lync for Mac clients, the USB device must first be selected as the primary device on the Mac operating system. This can be done under Apple Icon -> System Preferences -> Hardware -> Sound and selecting the desired USB device as the primary input and output device. This must be done before Communicator/Lync for Mac is launched. If a user wishes to add a device after the client is already launched, then the user must restart the client after the device is selected in the Mac operating system.
You can always use a companion IP phone, any of the qualified models would work as a desk phone.
I hope this information was useful. I’d like to close by asking you to share your favorite devices in the comments. What do you like about your current favorite device and what would be your biggest request for the next generation of devices (brevity is encouraged). We’ll take a look at your feedback to help us keep improving your experience with Lync and will give away devices for the best suggestions!
A much easier alternative to Apple->System Preferences is to hold down Option and click on the Sound Icon on the menu bar. Then you can switch sound input/output devices quickly and easily.