Microsoft Lync, available in the bundled business version of Office 365, is yet another way to stay connected to your co-workers, colleagues and clients. You can message, have a video or audio call, host a presentation and work collaboratively with others on the same screen. It has become so popular, there’s even an entire multi-day conference dedicated to it. Here are some reasons why it is such a great business solution and some potential disadvantages.

pros

Virtual meeting collaboration

Not only is the video quality HD, you can see up to five meeting participants simultaneously – choose which you see or let Lync decided for you. You can “present” to others, allowing them to view your screen as you go through a PowerPoint or such. If you’re working collaboratively with others, let them take over control of your screen and make edits for you or walk you through how to do something. There’s even a virtual whiteboard that you can use while you chat – just like you’re in a conference room.

Stay connected, no matter where you are

If you have access to the internet, you can be accessible via Lync. Whether you’re on your desktop at the office, your laptop at the coffee shop or on your cell phone in your car – you can stay connected to all your contacts. Download an app for a Windows Phone, iOS and Android phones to have virtually all the same functionality on your mobile device as you do on your desktop. Chat over message, join a video conference call or watch a presentation…wherever you are.

Easy deployment and integration

As Lync is part of Office 365 for enterprises, you can easily download it onto whichever computer you want to use it on from the Office 365 portal. If you don’t have the enterprise version of Office 365, you can still download Lync Online. According to Microsoft’s website, “Organizations that subscribe to Lync Online retain control over the collaboration services they offer to users, but they do not have the operational burden of on-premises server software.” Also, Lync is conveniently integrated with Outlook. You can schedule a Lync meeting within Outlook just as you would any other meeting.

Use Lync, even if you don’t have it

Even though the use of Lync is rapidly growing, not everyone has it…but you’ll still be able to use it to communicate with most everyone. Because Microsoft owns Skype, you can connect with those using Skype, on Lync. And, in addition, you can schedule Lync meetings with those that don’t have either. Invite whomever, schedule a meeting and send them a link, and they’ll see everything they need to in a web browser. Invite whomever you need to via email by scheduling a meeting – if they don’t have Lync, a hyperlink will be embedded in the email for them to view and participate in a web browser.

 

cons

How well it works depends on your connection

Yes, you can connect to Lync as long as you have an internet connection…but if your connection isn’t very good, your video conferencing, audio calls or presentations may not be very productive. There may be a lag in presenting or difficulty in being heard.

Distraction?

Because it’s so easy to message a co-worker for something, will too many messages be sent – decreasing productivity? If you have to get up to ask someone something, you might try harder to figure it out on your own, avoiding distracting others. Messaging someone about something may easily stray from work related conversation. Interaction on a personal level between co-workers can be great, foster better working relationships, but too much can be to the detriment of productivity.

Unattainable conversation history

If you are using Lync without integrating it with your exchange server, you will not be able to access your conversation history. If you close a chat window, that conversation is gone forever – which can be really frustrating if you forgot to transfer important information elsewhere beforehand.

 

If you’ve spent some time online, chances are good you’ve heard of HTML5.  HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and the fifth version is likely to make some major changes in the way we all use the web.  However, many people are probably left wondering, “Why should I care about HTML5 and how does it help my company?”

What Does HTML5 Mean for Your Company?

Believe it or not, HTML5 will probably impact your company more than older versions of HTML.  If your company owns a website there are several things you need to know.

HTML5 gives websites owners:

Better Usability

Improving your visitor experience can lead to more conversions, sales, and happier customers.  HTML5 gives web developers the ability to create dynamic, interactive websites.  It allows developers to create improved interactive websites with better animation.  HTML5 allows business owners to create rich internet applications.

Other new usability features include a drag and drop interface where you can drag files onto your website for uploading.

How many times have you needed access to data, but haven’t been connected to the internet?  This can be a problem for everyone.  HTML5 allows your website to have an offline storage database which allows applications to store their data locally even when a connection to the internet is not available.

Improved Audio and Video Support

In the past, many websites had to rely on Adobe Flash or other third-party media players in order to do advanced video and audio.  With an increasing number of exploits being created for Adobe Flash, this puts your visitors at risk.  HTML5 adds new tags that greatly simplify playing video and audio files on your website.  This not only makes it easier for developers, it makes your website easier to maintain in the future and improves your visitor’s user experience.

Gaming Support

According to an article on getmoreengagement.com, “more than 70% of the world’s largest 2,000 companies are expected to have deployed at least one gamified application by year-end 2014”.   The gamification industry includes tools, services, and applications, and is expected to reach $5.5 billion by 2018.

HTML5 provides improved gamification support with its new <canvas> tag.  This will allow for more interactive web and mobile games.

Improved Mobile Support

According to the Digital Buzz Blog, 91% of all people have a cell phone and 56% of those have a smart phone.  HTML5 is mobile ready for your mobile apps.  All current mobile browsers have already adopted HTML5.  This means your visitor’s phones are ready and waiting for your new interactive mobile website.

HTML5 Saves Development Time

HTML5 gives developers the ability to create cleaner, more accessible code that is easier to maintain over time.  This should decrease development and maintenance cost.

Deploy Applications on Multiple Platforms

While we’re on the topic of saving developer time and money (and ultimately improving your bottom line), HTML5 gives the added benefit of being able to deploy a single application across multiple platforms.  This means you no longer have to maintain one application for your website, another one for Apple devices, and yet another for Android.  Writing and maintaining three separate applications can be an expensive proposition.  By maintaining one app using HTML5, you can reduce the complexity of your overall site.

Finding Developers is Easier

Most web developers have already jumped onto the HTML5 bandwagon.  This means that it will be easier to find developers that can use the large number of new features HTML5 provides for your website.

HTML5 Challenges

HTML5 is a “spec language”

HTML5 is a “spec language”.  This means that while many parts of HTML5 are stable and ready for production, certain areas of the language are still a work in process.  In short, HTML5 is going to change in the months and years to come.  The great news is that the language is stable and ready to use on your website today, just be aware that some parts of the language may change and your website will need to be updated as a result.

Browser Support

I’m sure we’ve all known people that are still using web browsers that are “ancient” by today’s fast-moving web standard.  If this is the case with your website’s visitors, it may be a problem. While most current browsers offer excellent support for HTML5, some of the “antique” browsers are likely to have issues.

Problems with Meta-Licensing

According to planetoftheweb.com, “because of licensing issues, rich media has to be compressed in multiple formats in order to be compatible with most browsers.”  This means that different browsers may require different types of audio and video compression.  Your developers will have to accommodate for people using different browsers.  Fortunately, this is nothing new; web developers have been doing this for years.

Is This the Death of Adobe Flash?

Adobe Flash currently has over 1 billion users around the world and is unlikely to die anytime soon.  Roughly 85% of the most visited websites use some form of Flash.  Seventy-five percent of U.S. videos on the web still use Flash and 70% of the web-based games are built using Flash, according to Accusoft.com.

With numbers like these, there is little doubt that Flash is going to be around for quite a while.  However, the growing number of exploits continues to be a problem and requires regular updates.  According to an article on securelist.com, “based on the number of frequently discovered vulnerabilities in 2012, Adobe Flash Player surpasses Java – we detected 11 (!) widespread vulnerabilities during this period [2012]”.

Will Flash Help Search Engine Rankings?

Since Flash is compiled, search engines are mostly blind to its content.  This means that all of those cool animations that you love are providing little to no help with your search engine rankings.

In contrast, HTML can easily be read as plain text by the search engine’s web spiders.  This means that properly formatted HTML5 content can give your website a boost with the search engines.

Who Controls the Fate of Flash?

Adobe owns the full rights to Flash and controls its destiny.  This makes some people a little nervous because you never know when a company might decide to change direction and leave Flash unsupported by the wayside.

In contrast, HTML5 is an open standard that relies on feedback from developers to help grow the language.  This means that no company (or person) can stop HTML5.

For a great comparison between the two, check out this infographic.

Why Should I Care About HTML5 – The Conclusion

HTML5 WILL impact your user’s web experience.  Renodis uses web interfaces built in HTML 5 – this allows us to keep up with the latest technologies and industry best practices.  It improves the user experience for our customers and makes sure that our websites and client portals are ready for the future so we can incorporate new features as needed.

Who says telecom can’t be trendy – OR at least headquartered in a trendy location?  According to a recent RealtyTrac analysis, the hippest place in the US has a St. Paul ZIP code: Lowertown 55101 – which is also headquarters of Renodis.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman shares, “I couldn’t be more proud of our efforts to create a cool, but not too outwardly cool, vibrant but not too showy, and modern but also retro-feeling culture in our Lowertown area.”

What’s the Criteria for Determining the Hippest Neighborhoods?

“To select the top markets we started with zip codes with a disproportionately large population in the prime hipster age range — between 25 and 34. Nationally that segment accounts for 13 percent of the total population. We focused on zip codes with more than 20 percent of the population in that age range,” says Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac Vice President.

For this study, they also narrowed the list to areas where at least 20 percent of the population either walked to work or used public transportation to get to work.  The idea is that easily walkable, densely populated neighborhoods are another hallmark of “hip” culture.

Blomquist goes on to say they “narrowed the focus to zip codes where renters accounted for occupancy in at least 50 percent of all housing units, and where the vacancy rate on rental properties was 5 percent or less. All of these filters left us with only 83 zip codes nationwide, and we sorted those 83 zip codes by gross yields based on fair market rents and median home prices to come up with the top 25 list, all of which had gross yields above 4.5 percent.”

 Why is this Important?

Well, other than the obvious bragging rights and good food options, RealtyTrac says that such an analysis is important because “the hipster lifestyle has a major impact on local real estate markets, and mostly in a positive way.  Developers have long noted that such areas bring an influx of trendy restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other amenities.”

 What Other Areas Topped the List?

Coming in second place was Pittsburgh, followed by Norfolk, Minneapolis, Alexandria, and East Rutherford.

hip

Source: www.realtytrac.com