Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lync Common Area Phones (Conference Rooms)

I am deploying a Lync Server 2010 at my office and ran into the conference room phones. I started to configure a user account for each phone but quickly realized that it wasn't going to work like I thought. I had to research a way for multiple users to use this phone. Here were my goals to make this happen:

1. Provide great audio sound and not choppy for calls 2. Work for multiple users with different laptops 3. Had to be user friendly and easy to use (or the users would either always call me to set it up or just wouldn't use it)
I started by choosing the better hardware for the phone. A Polycom CX3000 is a perfect solution for conference room phones. PoE phone but will connect via USB as well. Perfect mix for my conference rooms.

Next I need to make it work for all my users. I got a little lucky in the fact that all of my users have Dell laptops and they all take the same docking station. So I dropped a docking station in each conference room and plugged up a keyboard, mouse, HDMI cable to the TV, Ethernet cable and the Polycom CX3000 via USB. That way users can come in, drop their laptop on the docking station, and they have all the tools already plugged in ready to go.

Now the challenging part; making it user friendly. To start this part let me say that when I deployed the Lync phone system to the users, I spent a lot of extra time on the training slides and presentations to make sure everyone knew EVERYTHING about how to use the client. Also, I have a very tech savvy group of users (that helps!!!). Now, since we already have everything plugged in to the docking station, when the users turn on there laptop (and after a quick, really quick, driver install from Lync on the Polycom phone) the Polycom CX3000 was available as a drop down option for them to use as their "speaker phone" on Lync calls, Go-to-meeting calls, and all other calls. The TV was also ready to go so they can share their screen for everyone in the room and, since we are on Lync, they can share that same screen with the external callers via Lync conferencing.

This was a WIN-WIN for our department. Conference rooms have always been a pain for us, but this has really reduced the calls to the helpdesk as well as made our users a lot happier. They are actually using the solution which is the WIN.

Here is a link to the Polycom phone.

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