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Major vendors like Cisco and Shoretel offer turnkey solutions to provide VoIP telephony plus advanced UC features like videoconferencing, shared whiteboarding, desktop-sharing. But has anybody tried less costly, more modular approaches, bolting together multiple products to provide an integrated experience for users?

For instance, maybe some of you already have a VoIP solution and you’ve found a way to integrate it with something like Lync, and your users can dial, launch a videoconference or share desktops in a single interface, blissfully unaware of the various software pieces that are providing those capabilities.

Just thinking that with technologies like WebRTC (and who knows what else) on the way, that building UC capabilities in an incremental, modular way may provide more flexibility and cost less than buying an all-in-one solution.




Jeff Overholtzer

Strategic Planning and Communication

Information Technology Services

Washington and Lee University





Jeff, we are looking at Lync as part of or Microsoft Enterprise Agreement and Office 365 A2 (free for Education).  Lync is included in the Office 365 A2 license, (excludes VOIP).  Video conferencing, UC, and collaboration is all integrated with Office, Outlook, and SharePoint.  Our students are moving to Office 365 from MS live this month, then it will be up to us to add licenses and access to SharePoint and Lync for the students, faculty, and staff.

There is a limitation on the number of attendees in a single meeting using Lync, believe it is 250 or 1,000.  Microsoft has an Office 365 specialist that can provide an overview.  We are in the process of replacing a 12k polycom unit for teleconferencing with a PC, web camera, and Lync.  Camera and projection/TV make up biggest part of the cost

Let me know if you need more information.