Microsoft and British Telecom have joined forces to start offering Lync voice services and functions via a hosted service that resides in the cloud.
what may be a sign of the times, Microsoft is expanding the footprint of its
Lync platform further into the cloud. The company has launched a pilot program
with telecom giant British Telecom to begin offering an enterprise-class
platform to host dedicated Microsoft Lync Voice service.
pilot augments BT's existing global Managed Lync services offering, which is
part of the BT One portfolio offering. Each pilot instance can support up to
250 users, and offers such Lync convergent technology features as instant
messaging, online presence, audio/Web/video conferencing and Lync's full
Enterprise Voice capabilities.
adding full voice support into the picture, Lync becomes a full-service hosted
offering for small and medium businesses for all of their telecom needs,"
said Raj Mehta, president and CEO of Infosys International, an IT services
firm. "It is just another sign of how cloud services can expand to
displace traditional IT offerings."
Lync Voice pilot will be offered to BT's U.S. customers out of the company's
Texas Operations Center and will be available under a 90-day trial period. Customers
participating in the pilot trial will be offered the opportunity to test a
complete range of Lync functions. Lync features and functionality will be
modeled and tested under customer-specific conditions.
will offer pilot customers a specialized team to walk them through
implementation, planning and design, and testing of Lync-certified audio
endpoint devices. The team will help define the next steps and assist customers
in selecting the services they need among BT's Lync service options. These
include on-premises Lync system integration, on-premises Lync managed service
or the hosted Lync service.
pilot environment was designed to address the unique customer requirements for
a Lync-based 'cloud' managed service," Jason Cook, chief architect and CTO,
CPG and U.S. & Canada, BT Global Services, said in a prepared statement. "We're
excited to be able to introduce customers to a low-risk opportunity to evaluate
a production-class Lync environment while benefiting from substantially lower
costs and faster time-to-production of a pilot compared to a typical on-premises
systems integration project."
isn't the only software vendor looking to bring hosted voice and telecom
services to the SMB community. Many other companies are already doing that,
ranging from 8x8 to Vonage to local cable companies, such as Cablevison with its
optimum lightpath service.
what Microsoft is proposing to offer is increased integration and convergence.
Lync combines many telecom functions into a single platform, while offering
integration into applications such as Microsoft Outlook. It will be the
combination of services, the high level of convergence and the one-stop
shopping advantages that will most likely set a hosted Lync offering apart from
for the BT One portfolio with Lync Voice offering have not yet been