Get started with Lync
Using Lync you can easily contact your colleagues via chat, message, audio or video. You can also show the contents of your screen to a colleague.
Microsoft Lync 2010 is a service that enables LiU employees to see each other’s presence in a Lync client or via Outlook and Sharepoint. At the touch of a button they can contact each other via chat, or with audio/video.
In order to access the communication system you need to activate it. It’s easy to get started. Enter via LiU’s account management system, account.liu.se, scroll down to the Collaboration menu and click on “Toggle Lync” and you will be activated for Lync. You will either receive the client automatically (for ad.liu.se domain-connected clients with program distribution) or via http://meetnow.liu.se/client.
“If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to contact your local technician or LiU’s IT customer service,” says Andreas Karlsson, the IT technician in charge of Lync at LiU. You can reach LiU’s IT customer centre at 013-28 2828 or email@example.com.
So why should you install Lync when you already have email and a mobile phone? Surely these already have the same functions?
“The beauty of it is that everything is available in the same place and it is very easy and direct to use. If I want to say something to a colleague, first of all I can see if he or she is sitting in front of their computer before I send a message, and I can receive an answer straight way. It’s a bigger step to send an email or pick up the phone,” Karlsson says.
However he says that this is also the reason why many employees have doubts about installing the system; they are worried that they will be disturbed constantly.
“But that won’t be a problem. You can set your status yourself. You can choose between “available”, “busy”, “do not disturb”, “not at work”; “be right back” and “not at the computer”, Karlsson says.
If you have set your status to busy and you don’t want to be disturbed, this is displayed in Lync, Outlook and Sharepoint with a coloured icon in front of your name. Also, the person who is trying to contact you will get a message saying that you are busy. But Lync is even smarter than that. If you haven’t touched your computer for a few minutes, the program “realises” that you’re not at the keyboard, and changes your status automatically. Lync is also connected to Exchange, so if you are in a meeting that is in your calendar it will automatically be apparent in your status.
“This also means that you can see how long a colleague is busy for, just by running your mouse over their name in an email, Lync or comment on Sharepoint,” Karlsson says.
How do you get started? When you have installed Lync it will feel like joining Facebook and not having a single friend. Your contacts list is worryingly empty, and the new functions seem complicated and intimidating. That is easily fixed.
“Find your closest colleagues in the search menu by typing their names (see the picture to the right), then they will appear under the search field, click on the plus and add as contact. You can also sort your contacts into different groups, for example for different projects or according to their institution,” Karlsson says.
Hey presto, you now have a list of your most frequent work contacts with their status clearly indicated. Andreas Karlsson recommends that you then start by trying out the simplest function in Lync.
“Mark one of your contacts, double-click, or click the speech bubble, and write a message. Then a chat window will appear. If your colleague is available the message will appear on their desktop.
Next you can try making a call (click on the phone symbol), a video call (click on the video camera), sending an email (click on the letter), and booking a meeting in Lync via Outlook (click on the calendar).
“It’s all very simple and user-friendly. Personally I find Lync more useful than I thought it would be when we started the project just over a year ago,” Karlsson says.
Once you have got the hang of things there are lots of clever functions than can make your working life easier. You can chat (pictured left) or hold a video meeting with several people, you can share your desktop or a specific program or document with your colleagues, you can download add-ons, including an application that instantly translates what you write into other languages, and then translates the answers of the person you are chatting with back into Swedish.
“In the long run we are hoping that Lync can help to reduce travel at LiU, which is good for the environment and LiU’s finances,” Karlsson says. Lync is also available as a smartphone app.
More than 1,000 of LiU’s 4,000 employees currently use Lync, and the number is increasing rapidly.
“It practically promotes itself. The users find the program so useful that it is spreading from employee to employee. And naturally the goal of the IT department is that everyone at LiU will be Lync users in the near future,” says Karlsson.
The Lync boom reaches far beyond LiU’s domains. An increasing number of companies and organisations use Lync, both in Sweden and abroad and the networks can be connected. LiU currently has a Lync federation consisting of the following members: Umeå University, Chalmers, Malmö University, Atea and Microsoft.
“This means that you can also find and be found by Lync users at these organisations by entering your contact’s email address in the search box and then choosing whether you want to chat, book a meeting or make a video call. But your contacts must have Lync in order for the program to work for you.”
You can also use Outlook to invite contacts that don’t have Lync or are not LiU users to online meetings.
“They will receive a link with a temporary login over the Internet, it’s really easy.”
Lync works on both Macs and PCs, although the system is more developed for PCs. If you haven’t got started yet or have any questions about how to use the service, more information is available here:
If you have any questions or suggestions for new federations, please contact: LiU-IT customer centre 013- 28 2828 firstname.lastname@example.org
“Good luck, and do give it a try. If you have any questions you can just call the IT customer centre,” Karlsson says.
Last updated: 2012-05-22