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Unified communications Battle Royale: Cisco, Avaya feel the heat from Microsoft Lync

Microsoft goes toe-to-toe with unified communications titans Cisco, Avaya

By , Network World
February 21, 2013 12:35 PM ET

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Microsoft customers see the possibility of buying a voice license and getting rid of the expense of Cisco or Avaya licenses to save money. They see Internet-based conferencing as a way to cut out conference bridges and reduce long-distance charges.

Typical RFPs for voice systems call for getting them up and running in six months. For Lync that period is more like three to five years, Lazar says, "There's a lot of moving parts."

Challenges include dial plan management and converting voice trunks into IP addresses when migrating from a traditional PBX. Lync is more software centric than PBXs and requires a resilient infrastructure that Microsoft doesn't control. Businesses have to figure out how to provide 911 services to endpoints that can move around.

The advice Lazar gives to his enterprise clients is to seek a holistic answer to unified communications problems that can provide a seamless user experience - one that supports all modes of communication readily.

Microsoft has been extremely aggressive, pushing hard for customers that use Lync for instant messaging to adopt it for voice as well. "It just makes sense to ask, 'Could this be my voice platform, too?'" he says.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at and follow him on Twitter!/Tim_Greene.)

Read more about voip & convergence in Network World's VoIP & Convergence section.

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