Update improves communications

IUS Horizon

The Unified Communications software was recently updated on faculty and staff computers. The system has been renamed Microsoft Lync, but the power to connect remains the same.

Tom Sawyer, chief information officer, said the services offered are invaluable. Sawyer travels to the various IU regional campuses throughout the week, and he said the teleconferencing and instant messaging allows for him to be in two places at once.

“With Lync, I can use any of the sevices from anywhere, even a hotel room if I have Internet access,“ Sawyer said.

The Microsoft Lync system is available in three different configurations, so the user can pick the one that suits their needs best. This version requires a USB headset but replaces the desk phone completely.

Cindy Short, office services assistant with the Career Development Center, said she has not used the conferencing features because her job does not require it.

“I love being able to shoot a quick question or statement to other staff on campus that doesn’t warrant an e-mail,” Short said. “Lync can be more efficient when you just need to have a quick IM chat and move on.”

Instant messaging, e-mail, voicemail, video conferencing and more are available.
There are 21 institutions connected through the system, which includes representatives from private industry, such as Nortel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.

Danny Clements, technician for Information Technology, said Microsoft Lync has provided a connection across all IU campuses that was not available before.

“I communicate with people in Bloomington almost daily,” Clements said.  “I was getting charged to talk to my co-workers.”

Virginia Vernon, switchboard operator for telephone services, said she has some concern for people outside the system, such as parents and prospective students.

“This system doesn’t do anything to improve the handling of incoming calls,” Vernon said. “Too many still go directly to voicemail.”