It can be incredible to witness the continued evolution of technology. Sometimes though, it’s just as amazing to catch a glimpse of how technology touches the lives of the people using it.
The Softchoice Advisor set out to explore how technology will affect work-life in 2011 and beyond. We couldn’t think of a better partner to help tell this story than Microsoft, with its newest unified communications technologies, particularly Microsoft Lync and Exchange 2010.
As the physical barriers of the office are being erased, the future worker will be more collaborative than any generation previous. This change is most apparent with the advancements in instant messaging and conferencing. At its core, Microsoft Lync (the next generation of Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Communicator 2007) helps people connect at any time. Product improvements make it easier to communicate in a way that is more than just a phone call, and easier than traditional video conferencing systems.
With Lync, the future worker’s day will be “deeply integrated” – as people will instantly “click to communicate” from presence information embedded directly within Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or even SharePoint applications. Your colleagues, partners and customers will be just one click away no matter where you are or what you are doing.
The future worker will be smarter, more efficient and more productive. At the end of the day people just need to get the job done – and all too often the technologies we rely on get in the way. If you are too familiar with a jammed inbox, Conversation View and Clean Up features will let you manage this in seconds. Or you know the pain of being included on a company-wide email chain wishing ‘Jim’ happy birthday? Exchange 2010 jacks-up email’s IQ with improvements like an Ignore Button designed to make these pains go away. In addition, with the new Mail Tips, you’ll never inadvertently send that email reply to your entire company.
A unified inbox awaits the future Outlook user, offering a consistent inbox, calendaring, and contacts experience across the PC, browser and phone. It shows you content from email, voice mail, SMS and Lync conversation history – all in one spot. You know that voice mail you couldn’t check as you were rushing through the airport? Relax – you’ll be able to read it, in text form, from your mobile device. You can even reply or forward it along to someone else directly from your inbox.
On Lync, it’s about giving you as much context as possible so you know who to talk to and when to do it. This is seen with the Contact Card – rich, useful view of information from whatever app you are in. You can escalate the communications you have based on the level you need to have – so you can go to IM, to video, to screen, with a single click. You can even drag and drop other contacts into the discussion to create an instant multi-party conference.
The future worker will be more connected. As companies continue to ditch those old PBXs, and replace them with software-powered voice systems, Microsoft Lync is making this switch even easier and more appealing for many businesses.
The outcome of software-based voice will grant even the most mobile workers the ability to stay connected. You can use your laptop as your phone, anywhere, for example. So, if you are in a hotel room in New York, but your office is back in Redmond, you can still be on your “office phone.”
The future of work will be more collaborative, more efficient and more connected. Much of this evolution is apparent with Microsoft’s latest releases. The bottom line is that our behavior is connected to technology – and the easier it is to use the technologies critical to everyday work – the better our work will be, too. Microsoft says its focus moving forward is delivering more deployment options, whether for on-premise, the cloud or a hybrid solution. The result? It’s going to get even easier to move your organization into the future.