Lync Unified Communication

What is Lync?

University Information Technology (UIT) is installing the communications platform Microsoft Lync 2010 across campus to replace the existing telecommunications system. The communications platform unites voice communications, instant messaging, email and audio, video and web conferencing capabilities that can be accessed from virtually anywhere. Quite simply, the software offers features and applications that a traditional phone service lacks, and better supports how we communicate and conduct business.

Lync offers the following communication improvements:

  • Instant Messaging and real-time presence information
  • Voice, web, and video conferencing
  • Screen sharing and simplified document collaboration
  • Seamless integration with Microsoft Office, CougarNet and Exchange email
  • Ability to receive calls made to UH Assigned Phone number without the use of a handset
  • Mobile platform accessibility

Lync Unified Communications is a step toward UIT's commitment to provide improved communications across all campuses at lower costs.


Why the upgrade?

University Information Technology's decision to retire the existing telecommunications system is based on a number of factors:

  • Many of the PBX system connections were housed in the basement of the University Center. Demolition of the UC began October 1, 2012; relocating the connections was deemed cost-ineffective.
  • The ROLM phones purchased in the 1980s are at the end of their life cycle.
  • How we communicate has significantly changed since the 1980s, with a move to more instantaneous communications from virtually anywhere. Lync better facilitates this.
  • Lync allows us to leverage our high-speed data network; maintaining a separate voice network becomes unnecessary.
UIT evaluated several communications platforms – including Cisco VoIP, Skype and the distribution of cellphones - before ultimately choosing Lync. Of the options, Lync provided a significant cost savings, scalable enterprise support, and streamlined integration into our existing IT infrastructure.
OptionCosts
Cell Phones $15,280,000
Cisco VoIP $7,710,000
Skype $4,600,000
Lync $3,440,000

Three-phase migration

All UH customers will be migrated to Microsoft Lync in three phases.

  • Under Phase One, approximately 2,500 customers in 24 buildings on Central campus were migrated to Lync by October 1, 2012.

    These included Calhoun Lofts, Cemo Hall, Center for Public Broadcasting, Central Plant, Classroom Business Building, College of Architecture, College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, College of Law, College of Optometry, College of Pharmacy, Computing Center, Energy Research Park Building 1, Farish Hall, General Services Building,
    General Services Building Lock Shop, Graduate College of Social Work, Honors College, M.D. Anderson Library, Moody Towers, South Park Annex, Visitor Information Booth, and Recreation & Wellness Center.
  • Under Phase Two, additional customers on Central and auxiliary campuses who are using ROLM phones will be migrated to Lync by September 1, 2013. In addition, a self-service solution will be implemented at www.uh.edu/lync for customers using Cisco devices who wish to be migrated to Lync.
  • Under Phase Three, remaining Cisco device users will be migrated to Lync.

In total, approximately 10,000 customers will be migrated under the project.