PROS / The seamless integration with Outlook makes scheduling a cinch.
CONS / Beyond Internet Explorer, it isn't exactly browser friendly.
VERDICT / If you are familiar with the Microsoft suite of products, you'll enjoy using Lync and Microsoft Office 360. However, it won't work very well with other platforms or web browsers other than Internet Explorer.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Web Conferencing here.
Microsoft provides so many of the tools that most web conferencing services use to supplement their own products, so it's only natural for the company to have its own virtual meeting tool that directly utilizes its product line. Microsoft's conferencing tool is called Lync, and comes packaged with Microsoft Office 365. It seamlessly integrates with PowerPoint, Outlook calendar and Excel spreadsheets. You'd think this service would be the best product there is, but it's inability to work with many other platforms such as the Apple OS, and browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Safari, hinder the service's usability.
There are many features available to the presenter and participants alike. The web meeting's host decides who will take over the meeting and switches controls. The original host can also take back control with the click of a button. This online conference software will boost meeting participation, with whiteboard tools, feedback indicators and user polling.
Lync's strength is its integration in the Microsoft suite of products. If you are a business owner and only run meetings using Microsoft-compatible equipment and software, you will be quite satisfied with Microsoft Office 365. While using Outlook, you will be able to schedule meetings with one of the best schedulers available.
Microsoft Office 365 web conferencing manages to remain in line with advances in telecommunications, such as VoIP, and provides an impressive degree of integration between various webcams, video players and different modes of voice communication.
Microsoft Office 365 web conferencing has improved upon previous versions, particularly in regards to recording and playback. We are also impressed to see that Microsoft has expanded its text and media file format compatibility, making it great for international online meetings.
Microsoft offers end-to-end 128-bit AES encryption for all web conferences, making it secure and seamless. However, despite its security measures, some improvements could be made to the program to make it more firewall friendly for presentation attendees.
Microsoft has a variety of training courses and tutorial videos, knowledgebases and FAQs sections for Microsoft Office 365 web conferencing users. The program itself has a comprehensive built-in help section, greatly reducing the need to seek help externally via the company's official website. The site itself, however, is not just for Office 365. This means that those seeking information for a certain Live Meeting features might end up with help-topic results for other Microsoft Office products.
Microsoft does provide various methods for contacting its support team directly, including instant chat, discussion forums, telephone assistance and a comment portal for feedback and inquiries.
This web conferencing application is similar to other Microsoft software packages, which will help beginners navigate through the program. We had a few problems getting everything to work the first time, so it takes some getting used to. Once you find out how it works, you'll appreciate its great online conferencing tools.
Microsoft Office has been an integral part of the workplace for more than a decade. Although the concept of a Microsoft web conferencing program within Microsoft Office 365, and its seamless integration with Office software seems like the perfect web conferencing solution, other virtual meeting services integrate well with Microsoft Office – and some even do it better.