The advent of Lync 2013 has accelerated the adoption of Lync video throughout organizations. When it comes to room solutions for Lync, you have options. Understanding the difference between Lync Room System (LRS) and “room systems for Lync” can help ensure you effectively meet the needs of your users, fully leverage your meeting spaces, and efficiently extend the use of your budget.
Let’s take a look the differences between two categories of room solutions for Lync; the Lync Room System and room systems interoperable with Microsoft for Lync.
Lync Room System
Microsoft announced the Lync Room System (LRS) concept in February 2013 along with a reference design architecture to extend the Lync 2013 experience into the conference room. LRS was designed with the user experience at the core; to be able to join online meetings with one touch and be ready to collaborate with remote attendees in seconds.
Microsoft defines Lync Room System as “a comprehensive partner offering that consists of all the required hardware and Microsoft Lync Room System Edition software. The hardware includes, at a minimum, one or two large touch-enabled displays, high definition video cameras and microphones, and a console in the conference room that facilitates participation without a laptop or desktop from within the meeting room.”
As LRS was a reference design, the product specifications are the same across all LRS partners. The key differentiation appears in the solution components.
The Polycom CX8000 for MSFT Lync is a room video collaboration system that follows Microsoft's reference design and is commonly referred to as the “Polycom LRS”. The Polycom CX8000 is built around the Crestron RL system which means that any other room integration can be controlled via the same panel such as AV, lights, shades, and even thermostat. Another Polycom advantage is the 360 degree video panoramic view provided via the CX5100 Unified Conferencing Station with active speaker tracking.
So what's special about Lync room systems? Here are four primary points of differentiation.
User Interface (UI)
Familiar Lync UI – Running Lync, it’s easy to use
Outlook calendar view - finding and joining meetings is very simple
Simple touch-based operation
Easy to use tabletop console
360 degree panoramic video with active speaker tracking
Touch monitor support - adds an extra degree of simplicity to help user adoption and usage
Multi-way annotation on whiteboard and PowerPoint
Save and email meeting notes to participants
Desktop and application content share
Remote administration portal
Update and monitoring
Native integration into Office 365
The end result is the Polycom CX8000 is incredibly easy to use. Any participant can walk into a room, select their meeting on the tabletop touch controller and start collaborating immediately. LRS is perfect for organizations seeking to seamlessly extend the Lync 2013 collaboration experience from desktops to conference rooms.
Room Systems for Lync
“Room systems for Lync” described here are Microsoft Lync interoperable room solutions. Rather than running Lync software themselves, they achieve native interoperability without the need for gateways. Polycom solutions interoperable with Microsoft include the RealPresence Group Series and the RealPresence Collaboration Server.
The Polycom RealPresence Group Series (300, 500, and 700) is a line of standards-based H.323 and SIP room solutions that support H.264 SVC technology. Polycom RealPresence Group Series options range from the Group Series 300 with the EagleEye Acoustic camera all the way up through the Group Series 700 for larger or more specialized implementations.
Ability to register into Lync 2010 or Lync 2013 environment natively with no gateway required
Supports Microsoft Lync’s own version of SVC and can be registered to a MSFT exchange account to provide calendar integration.
In addition to Lync, supports H.323, SIP and TIP
Accommodate the entire range of front-of-room EagleEye cameras - Pan, tilt, zoom functionality - EagleEye Director facial/voice tracking
Small huddle rooms to larger or unusual spaces with A/V integration
Vertical solutions; mobile cart for healthcare and manufacturing applications
Support up to 1080p/60fps video for both people and content
Lync video supported
Intuitive user interface and simple remote control
When outfitting your organization with Lync video, keep in mind your users’ specific video and collaboration needs. You’ll likely find that the answer to meeting your needs is not purely Group Series or Lync Room System but more likely a blend of both.
As Jim Collins eloquently wrote in Built to Last, “Instead of being oppressed by the “Tyranny of the OR (the rational view that cannot easily accept paradox, that cannot live with two seemingly contradictory forces or ideas at the same time),” highly visionary companies liberate themselves with the ‘Genius of the AND’ – the ability to embrace both extremes of a number of dimension at the same time.”