Cloud-Hosted Lync Enterprise Voice Coming in 2014?

We are just days away from the 2014 Microsoft Lync Conference. Lync Conference is the premier worldwide gathering of the entire Lync community, coming together to learn, share and connect. With speakers drawn from the world’s top Lync and UC experts, including engineers from Microsoft, consultants from the MVP, and Partner communities, Lync Conference 2014 will help you get the most out of Lync.

While reviewing over hybrid voice deployments for Microsoft Lync as well as any news about potential hosted-enterprise voice announcements at the 2014 Microsoft Lync Conference we stumbled upon a blog by a technology company FireLogic. FireLogic, like Tech Tripp, is a full service technology company in the Chicago area. They too like Tech Tripp utilize hosted-cloud based communications products for their organization.

A recent blog post by dwlodarz on January 27, 2014 entitled “Proof that cloud-hosted Lync enterprise voice is coming in 2014” lays out some compelling evidence why this is true. Tech Tripp has been a huge Lync supporter for many years. Once we saw Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, we knew that it was only a matter of time until the two were molded and melded into producing the world’s largest UC / PBX platform. This day is coming soon according to many. FireLogic blog gives two reasons why Hosted Voice is coming in 2014:

Evidence #1

“First off is an article by Redmond Magazine from May 2013 that had quotes from Microsoft sources on Lync’s enterprise voice status. While the premise of the article was based around the reasoning behind Microsoft’s decision to kill off Lync Hybrid Voice (a short lived psuedo-VoIP offering that provided half of what a Lync Server setup offers — yes, it was terrible) there was also some juicy snippets that caught my eye. According to the piece, Microsoft has made it clear that they still have a “commitment to bringing enterprise voice capability to Lync Online and Office 365 by 18 months’ time.”

Microsoft’s semi-official Lync blog for the IT pro community, NextHop, also covered the demise of hybrid voice as an option as of May 13, 2013.

If you are curious about timeframe positioning for some context on that statement, that promise was supposedly made just before Microsoft’s Lync Conference 2013 which took place in February. Ironically, the 2014 Lync Conference is taking place about a month from now in late February. So if Microsoft’s statement still holds true, we are set for a Q3-Q4 2014 launch period for cloud-hosted Lync enterprise voice. I would be hard pressed not to see Microsoft making some further remarks about this offering at this year’s conference, as they are known for making big news at their partner events.”

Evidence #2

My second nugget of information that Microsoft let slip was via an IT-pro focusedwebcast on the Microsoft Virtual Academy site last October. It is simply titled “What’s New in Meetings and Collaboration in Lync” and was co-hosted by Brian Ricks and Aaron Steele. While the majority of the presentation was dedicated to going over new functionalities in Lync 2013, there was a small portion on Microsoft’s “vision” for Lync 2013 and beyond. Low and behold, smack dab in the middle of the slide, is a tile titled “Enable Enterprise Voice via the Cloud.” I took a screenshot in case you don’t want to watch the 90 minute webcast:

lync-ent-voice-365

There is no doubt that Microsoft has plans to introduce hosted-enterprise voice into Office 365 – the big question is when.

Tech Tripp believes the announcement will likely come at Lync Conference 2014 in just a few days. Microsoft Lync’s Facebook page has had numerous postings about big launches.

One post on February 10th states “Get ready for a big launch at Lync Conference. Actually, a few hundred big launches. This could get messy. #LyncConf14

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Another post on Feburary 15th states “When we said there would be hundreds of launches at Lync Conference, we meant it. Get ready to enter the Launch Pad! We just hope your #LyncConf14 launches stay on target…”

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Only a few more days until Lync Conference 2014. Until then, we continue to postulate!

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