Lync Unified Communications

What is Lync?

Lync OptionsMicrosoft Lync is the heart of our new phone system. Lync brings "unified communications" to UH which means bringing the following communication tools to your desktop:

  • make/receive phone calls
  • see colleague's availability
  • send/receive Instant Messages
  • desktop sharing
  • start or join an audio, video or web conference

Lync is an IP (Internet) phone that can be installed on Windows and Macintosh computers. There is even an app for smart phones. You are licensed to use Lync on as many devices as you like. Where ever you might be in the world, if there is an Internet connection and you have Lync, then you have a working UH phone.

Our new phone system offers three options (most will receive the first two options):

  1. Soft Phone - also known as the Lync client. This is installed on your UH computer. It can be installed on your home computer and your smart phone. Install it on as many devices as you like.
  2. Hard Phone - looks similar to a traditional phone. This is the phone that sits on your desk.
  3. Soft Number - a great solution for visiting faculty or someone who doesn't want the soft phone or hard phone. We supply a UH phone number that we forward to a cell phone. UIT does not supply cell phones, nor do we pay for cell phone usage. 

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


Why the upgrade?

UIT's decision to retire the existing phone system is based on a number of factors:

  • Many of the PBX system connections were housed in the University Center Underground. Demolition of the UC began October 1, 2012; relocating the connections was not cost-effective.
  • 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 instant communication from virtually anywhere.
  • We have high-speed fiber going into every building which allows for the efficient transmission of data, video and voice.
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

The campus will be migrated to Lync in three phases.

  • Phase One: COMPLETED approximately 2,500 phones in 24 buildings on the main campus were migrated to Lync as of October 1, 2012. These include: 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, Law School, College of Optometry, College of Pharmacy, Computing Center, Energy Research Park Building 1, Farish Hall, General Services Building, Graduate College of Social Work, Honors College, M.D. Anderson Library, Moody Towers, South Park Annex, Visitor Information Booth, and Recreation & Wellness Center.
  • Phase Two: additional customers on the main campus and satellite 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 phones who want to migrate to Lync.
  • Phase Three: remaining Cisco customers.

In total, approximately 10,000 phones will be replaced.

For Lync related questions or problems, send email to LyncSupport@uh.edu.