Last month Gartner published the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Corporate Telephony, and I am thrilled to see Lync’s placement this year in the Leader’s Quadrant for the first time. In the report, leaders are defined as “high-viability vendors with broad portfolios, significant market shares, broad geographic coverage, a clear vision of how telephony needs will evolve and a proven track record for delivering telephony solutions.” The report also notes that “companies are increasingly focusing their business strategies and acquisition decisions around unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technology; it is supplanting the historical domain of corporate telephony.”
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Lync is a leading telephony platform. It’s scalable, with customers that have more than 200,000 telephony users. It’s highly available, with redundancy at the server level, the pool level, and the datacenter level. It provides industry-leading security, with media and signaling encrypted by default, and with authentication based on Active Directory. And it supports all of the key usage scenarios that PBX customers need. But Lync does much more: our software-based approach enables us to deliver a single, unified platform with instant messaging, presence, conferencing, mobility, and telephony.
Giovanni Mezgec, the general manager of Lync Marketing, wrote about our unified communications leadership from a market perspective in a blog post a few weeks ago. It’s a great read, with insights from Gartner, Forrester, and T3i Group, and it includes a great customer story from Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, where they’re using Lync to keep patients connected with their families while they’re apart.
For me, this customer story touches on something even more important than our proven scalability, reliability, security, and functionality—what Lync does for people. In today’s mobile world, how, where, and when we work—and how we communicate to get things done—can be different from person to person and from day to day. Lync and Skype both let people chat, call and meet, to easily share what’s most important from wherever they are.
We see how people want to communicate in our own use of Lync at Microsoft. Many of us work outside the office at times to help us juggle work, family and our other passions, and, unsurprisingly, we take advantage of how simple it is to use Lync from anywhere. In October, for example, over 40 percent of our person-to-person VoIP calls had at least one person using Lync outside the Microsoft firewall (over 7.5 million of our 19 million minutes). We run all of our audio conferences on Lync, saving us millions of dollars a year. We also do much more than just talk using Lync. In October, across nearly 350,000 of our Lync meetings, people shared PowerPoint slides, their computer’s desktop, or an application with remote participants.
We see how people want to communicate with Skype too. People love sharing important moments together, and use Skype for more than 300 billion minutes of video a year. Many do this on Windows, but many people also use Skype on Android and iOS, where we have 140 million active users. In fact, the growth rate of new users coming to Skype each month from a tablet or smartphone is doubling year-over-year, with nearly half of all new users joining via a mobile device.
People will use Skype and Lync even more as we bring them closer together with video connectivity, and as we take advantage of the best of both products to improve communications for people everywhere. For example, we’ll use industry-standard H.264 SVC video between Lync and Skype, and we already make Skype’s SILK audio codec available in Lync. Taking advantage of innovation across products like this makes the great communication experiences that hundreds of millions of people rely on every day even better. Read more about video connectivity in Lync and Skype.
Yes, Lync provides the critical telephony capabilities that enterprises need to end their dependence on limited, inflexible PBX systems. More importantly, it provides the kind of communications experience people want and need to get things done, together.