The Three UC Amigos

Three Microsoft UC technology specialists covering U.S. Education

What is new with Group Chat in Lync Server 2010?

What is new with Group Chat in Lync Server 2010?

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updated – 3-16-11 with new information

 

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What is Lync Group Chat?

  • Persistent topic-based discussion forums support dispersed teams
  • “Channel dock” makes participation simple and efficient
  • Multiple content types enable flexible information sharing
  • Customizable notifications and alerts control interruptions
  • User-defined filters enable “intelligent consumption” of information
  • Backchat search transforms chat into a knowledge asset

 

What are some use case scenarios of Group Chat in education?

  • Class chat rooms - students join a class chat room and collaborate with other students, professor and grad students. Can also be used for office hours.
  • School topic chat rooms - School district creates a chat channel such as ‘Civil War Discussion’ and then all the students within different schools in a school district can collaborate and discuss topics.
  • IT helpdesk peer to peer
  • End user helpdesk chat room
  • Tutoring chat rooms
  • Teachers, Professors chat rooms – a school district could setup a History Teachers chat room and teachers could share thoughts, lesson plans, best practices, collaborate
  • Graduate students – projects, etc.
  • Research - campus research working on a cancer research,etc.

What are some new features of GC in Lync?

The first big change is the Lync GC client has be re-written to support Lync standards such as it leverages the Unified Communications Client Platform (UCCP) API and Microsoft Unified Communications Managed API (UCMA) 3.0.

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The look and feel are similar to GC in OCS R2 however there are some changes:

The Group Chat user interface and its accompanying icons, including its emoticons, have been upgraded and resized to match the Lync 2010 Group Chat user interface. Colors, notifications have been enhanced as well.

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Can open multiple GC windows

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Tweaks to the Ego filter such as:

The Ego filter no longer triggers whenever you type “IT”; for example, “Sara Davis (IT Dept)”. The text can be excluded only if the “bracket pair” in question is closed. For example:

  • “Sara Davis (IT Dept)” becomes “Sara Davis”
  • “Sara Davis (IT Dept” becomes “Sara Davis IT Dept”
  • “Sara Davis [IT Dept (HR Unit)” becomes “Sara Davis IT Dept”

 

Other enhancements include:

Unicode support – Support for Arabic, Chinese, and other UTF-8 languages

Client side logging disabled by default- to save disk space

Enhanced GC health monitoring via an SCOM management pack for the following:

  • Group Chat Channel service
  • Group Chat Lookup service
  • Group Chat Compliance service

Is federation still supported with Lync GC?

Yes, Lync GC can support partners, customers, students logging in from off-campus via the Internet.

Can I extend Lync GC into applications?

Yes, using the Lync GC SDK.

How does Lync Group Chat Server scale?

3 GC servers can handle 60,000 concurrent connections

What license do I need for Lync Group Chat?

Lync Standard CAL provides a license for Lync Group Chat.

Where do I get the Lync GC bits?

Grab the Lync Group Chat client here.

Grab the Lync Group Chat Server here.  Note: a prereq to get GC working is Lync Server 2010 must be deployed first

Is there a web or mobile client for Lync GC?

Not out of the box however there is a nice add-on from Formicary that has Lync GC web browser support. They also have developed a mobile GC lync client and an Outlook GC add-in.  View more here.

 

Formicary’s Browser based Lync group chat client works on any major browser (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome):

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Formicary’s Silverlight based Lync group chat client:

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Formicary’s GC mobile client for iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile:

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For more information around installing Lync Group Chat Server see here.

Comments
  • Great post, What about a Windows Phone 7 client?

  • Ari,

    It would proabably be best to ask our partner Formicary at info@formicary.net since they are focused on mobile group chat clients.

  • Ari -

    We will at some point build a group chat client for Windows Phone7 (they are popular devices with some of our development team), however we have not had the demand from customers for this.... yet!

    One other thing we have that isn't mentioned above is Group Chat for Outlook, this gives you the functionality of the Group Chat console embedded in outlook. here is a screenshot: http://twitpic.com/49z580

  • We are working towards Lync deployment for many doctor offices.  We want to have Chat functionality on our web pages for anonymous (potentially new patients) to communicate with a nurse, doctor, call center person etc.

    We will also be using MS CRM, and thus we would like to record Chat conversation in patient record.  This example is for an employee that is in AD, and a potential patient that is not in AD.

    Can you help me find a add-on to CRM/SharePoint or Lync to make this happen?

    Scott R. Anderson

  • Scott,

    There are several web chat add-ons for Lync that can tie to CRM. Check out: www.evangelyze.net/smartchat.asp  or  products.e-office.com/webchat  additional Lync partners here: lync.microsoft.com/.../application-partners.aspx

  • I have Lync Group Chat setup in our lab. Default installation did not give 'User colors' tab under File/Preference/Group Chat Settings' where in one can set background and text color. I used to have it in OCS R2 Group Chat. Please advise how to get 'User Colors' tab. Thanks.

  • It seems not to be available for iPad client. Only for Blackberry. Anyone?

  • For VoIP calls using Silverlight, why don't you check Ozeki VoIP SIP SDK...

    Its webpage offers free sample programs with source codes for Silverlight app development

  • Oscar, (hope I'm not too late), for access from tablets or mobiles, check out our MindLink platform at http://www.fcg.im through which you can access group chat from iPad or any other touch enabled browser as well as smartphone devices.

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