A new web portal for organising large meetings online.
In our busy working lives more and more professionals are opting to meet online to conduct business. While this will never replace the power and significance of a face-to-face meeting, online meetings allow for business to move along faster by cutting down travel time and allowing people to share content with a greater audience.
The feature under Office 365 that allows this to happen is called Lync Online. Under BPOS (the predecessor to Office 365) the same functionality was achieved using Office Communicator 2007 for person-to-person communications and Live Meeting 2007 for large group presentations and meetings.
One of the great features of Live Meeting was the ability to schedule meetings via a web portal which meant you didn’t have to install software on your computer to organise them.
When Lync Online was launched in June this web portal functionality was not present under Office 365 unless the business was also running Lync Server 2010 on its own server.
A recent update to Lync Online has introduced the Lync Web Scheduler to Office 365 customers. It’s a very simple and easy-to-use web portal that can be accessed by browsing to https://sched.lync.com and signing in with your Office 365 ID and password.
The portal provides you with two main screens:
My Meetings: a listing of Lync Online meetings you have created using either the Online Meeting plugin within Outlook (available when you install the Lync 2010 client) or the Lync Web Scheduler
Create New Meeting: a way to organise online meetings without having to use Outlook
One of the shortcomings of using the Lync Web Scheduler is that it doesn’t send the attendees you’ve nominated a meeting invite. However, you are presented with meeting details that you can copy and paste into an email. You could send attendees invites directly in Live Meeting 2007 so I hope it is introduced to the Lync Web Scheduler at some point.
A key advantage is the ability to export your scheduled online meeting as an iCalendar file (.ics) which allows you to either email it as an attachment or place it on a website (such as Eventbrite).
Loryan Strant is a Microsoft Office 365 MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Follow him on Twitter @TheCloudMouth.