“Scheduled meeting” doesn’t always have to
mean packing up and hauling everything across the campus, or even
the country, only to sit in an uncomfortable conference room. In
fact, with the help of UB’s new communication tool, Virtual
Conference, you can meet whenever you need from the comfort of your
own home or office.
UB launched the new Virtual Conference service using Microsoft
Lync this summer to give UB faculty, staff and students more
flexibility when it comes to planning and attending group
The software is used in conjunction with web cameras and
microphones and allows you to initiate and conduct virtual
discussions, conferences and classes from anywhere.
According to Saira Hasnain, Director of Enterprise
Infrastructure Services (EIS), "We've had a number of requests for
reliable web conferencing that would allow for classes or meetings
to be conducted virutally in real time. A proof of concept
environment was created for interested UB departments to test
extensively before the launch. UB is comprised of a large number of
Windows and Mac users, so it was important for the tool to have
similar capabilities for both platforms."
Lync gives you the power to conference call people in groups,
share Powerpoint presentations or use a digital whiteboard by
scheduling meetings with either the Outlook email client or the
Lync Web Scheduler. Instant messages can also be sent between
Perhaps Lync’s greatest selling point is how much it cuts
down on travel time, especially for faculty and students who
don’t have the time or means to commute across UB’s
"Lync is very helpful for meetings, classes or group projects.
It will save on commute times and travel expenses," Saira
continued. "Faculty can even use it to have office hours with their
UB students can host meetings with a group of up to 10 attendees
(presenter and nine others), while UB faculty and staff can
conference with up to 250 (presenter and 249 others). The large
allowance for faculty and staff members is perfect for use in
classrooms or online courses, allowing big groups of students to
connect and chat with each other. This also allows for alternative
learning, such as conferences and webinars, to be implemented in
A large team of UB staff from CIT and the Teaching and Learning
Center collaborated to make Virtual Conference possible. They
include: Sharon Arieno, Chris Bates, Dave Dudek, Beth Fellendorf,
Matt Helmbrecht, Tom Jauch, Linda Kingsbury, Margie Muniak, David
Shurtleff, Thom Slomka, Matt Stock, Robin Sullivan, Diana Tuorto
and Mark Woodard.
"UB is a great place to innovate," said Saira. "The team was
excited and everyone worked well together. Since this was a
discovery project, there were some surprises, as there always are.
Technology does not always perform as the vendor says it will, but
we were able to get necessary modifications and upgrades in place
that make Lync a very stable, reliable tool for the campus."
Lync is available for use on Windows and Mac devices, as well as
Windows 8, Android and IOS mobile devices. Now you can meet from
home, from work or on the go – the choice is yours. Learn more