February 20, 2013, 10:49 AM — Microsoft demonstrated at Lync Conference 2013 today new capabilities of its Lync unified communications platform including clients for Android devices, iPhones and iPads that support VoIP.
The VoIP capability means that formerly voiceless devices such as iPads that have data connections can now participate in Lync meetings. The new features also mean that devices that do support traditional cellular connections can instead tap into the meetings using VoIP over available Wi-Fi networks thereby conserving mobile data-plan minutes.
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Also demoed at the conference was a voice call completed between a Skype client machine and a Lync client machine. So far only audio calls are possible.
Another demo brought voice and video to an iPad, a device that lacks native cellular voice support and videoconferencing capabilities. With a larger screen than mobile phones, the iPad can simultaneously display video of other meeting participants as well as a whiteboard, desktop sharing or data presentations such as PowerPoint slides.
The Lync user interface is customized for each device so it better fits expectations of where navigation buttons should be located, for example.
The client for Windows 8 devices such as laptops and tablets offers additional features such as live tiles -- colorful squares that can display pictures of contacts that alternate with a display of their presence status.
The client features People cards that supply a range of information about each contact like who they work for and what work team they belong to so if an individual is unavailable it is easy to figure out how to contact a colleague.