This Week’s Technology News – 14th November 2014

Goodbye Lync, Hello Skype for Business

Microsoft has announced they will rename Lync, their corporate unified communications platform, to Skype for Business in 2015.   Not only will the platform have a change of name but the look and feel will also be more similar to consumer focused Skype.

Microsoft purchased VOIP company Skype back in 2011 in their largest acquisition costing $8.56 billion.  At the time, Microsoft’s consumer based product was MSN Live Messenger and their corporate offering was still Lync. The purchase of Skype, especially at the price paid raised many eyebrows, and questions surrounding the future of both Live Messenger and Lync.

Early last year Microsoft retired Messenger globally, auto directing users to download and use Skype instead.

Now Lync is following suit, being replaced by the Skype brand.   In its official press release Microsoft reiterated that despite the name change and look and feel of Skype for Business, users can expect the same enterprise security, compliance and control that Lync currently offers.  In addition Skype for Business when it is released in the first half of 2015, will also give organisations the reach into hundreds of millions of regular Skype users outside their business. The update will not require new hardware and if your are on Office 365 the migration will be automatic.

In what initially looks like yet another rebranding from Microsoft, the logic to their largest acquisition to date now makes more sense commercially with the visual interface changes also echoing Microsoft’s “one interface across all devices” approach of recent years.  The new Skype strategy allows a single toolset to communicate within a company, to their partners and separately to consumers alike.  All in all a very powerful move forward.

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Nokia and HP in dance to create Cloud network for mobile operators

Cloud driven infrastructures have changed how many businesses plan their commercial strategies and implement their own IT infrastructure.  Mobile network operators however have not seen as much momentum going from traditional hosted infrastructures to a Cloud based system and this lack of forward thinking will slow down the roll out of new services.

Nokia and HP have partnered to deliver NFV (Network Functions Virtualisation), based on HP’s Helion OpenStack which they announced in May 2014 with a $1 billion pledge in open Cloud products and services. Nokia will be providing the management tools and network functions required, to deliver calls and internet access to users on HP’s platform.

Nokia and HP are not the only ones fighting for this lucrative new market. Alcatel-Lucent this week also announced a suite of NFV applications and last month Dell announced their own platform.

The switchover of the network that operators rely on to deliver telephony and mobile broadband, will not be quick but it is an inevitability.  Whoever is the most prepared to offer a mature, secure platform for today’s dynamic and ever-changing mobile world will reap the benefits in years to come.

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