Microsoft Lync vs GoToMeeting

It is important to note that although that Microsoft Lync and GoToMeeting share similar qualities, the practical applications for both can be different depending on your goals. The purpose of this post is to highlight the similarities and differences between the two applications.

 

Microsoft Lync

Microsoft recently release Lync Online.a new application can be purchased as a stand-alone product (Microsoft Lync Server), or you can buy it in a bundle with Microsoft Office 365.

Pros: In addition to conferencing technology, Microsoft Lync is a very robust instant messaging tool along the same lines as MSN, AIM, and Skype. Although this is primarily designed to work within the company network, a user has the ability to add contacts outside the network to users who also use Lync or similar IM tools. From a conferencing standpoint, Lync has the ability to have up to 250 attendees per conference, this is far greater than similar applications. You can also access Lync via iOS, Android, and Windows 7 devices.

Cons: Although Microsoft does offer several subscription plans that include Lync, this can be confusing. The plans have ben highlighted below to make the feature sets a little more transparent. Some advanced feature require Lync Server. Lync Server prices can be found HERE. To see the feature sets between Lync Online and Lync Server visit the Microsoft Wiki HERE

Subscription Plan

Each authenticated user who accesses the Lync Online service must be assigned to a subscription plan. Lync Online offers two types of standalone plans: Lync Online (Plan 1), and Lync Online (Plan 2).

Feature

Lync Online
(Plan 1)

Lync Online
(Plan 2)

Instant messaging (IM) and presence

Yes

Yes

Lync-to-Lync audio/video calling (1-to-1)

Yes

Yes

Lync federation (IM/presence/audio/video)

Yes

Yes

Click-to-communicate in Office

Yes

Yes

Authenticated attendee in Lync meetings*

Yes

Yes

Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync®

Yes

Yes

Online Meetings

No

Yes (up to 250 attendees)

Initiate ad-hoc and scheduled online meetings

No

Yes

Initiate multiparty (3 or more users) Lync audio/video sessions

No

Yes

Initiate interactive data sharing (screen/application/whiteboard)

No

Yes

Interop with third-party dial-in audio conferencing services

No

Yes

Rights to Lync Server CALs

Lync Standard CAL

Lync Enterprise CAL

Price ($/user/month)

$2/user/month

$6.5/user/month

 

Office 365 Subscription Plans

In addition to the standalone Lync Online subscriptions above, Lync Online can be purchased as part of an Office 365 suite. Table 6 below summarizes the relationship between Lync Online plans and Office 365 plans. To determine which plan is right for you, visit the Office 365 home page.

Office 365 (Plan E1)

Office 365 (Plan E2)

Office 365 (Plan E3)

Office 365 (Plan E4)

Exchange Online (Plan 1)

Exchange Online (Plan 1)

Exchange Online (Plan 2)

Exchange Online (Plan 2)

SharePoint Online (Plan 1)

SharePoint Online (Plan 1)

SharePoint Online (Plan 2)

SharePoint Online (Plan 2)

Lync Online (Plan 2)

Lync Online (Plan 2)

Lync Online (Plan 2)

Lync Online (Plan 2)

 

Office Web Apps

Office Web Apps

Office Web Apps

 

 

Office Professional Plus

Office Professional Plus

 

 

 

Lync Voice & PBX (Lync Plus CAL for Lync Server)*

*Lync Voice & PBX are only available with Lync Server 2010 deployed on-premises or hosted via a private cloud deployment. All Lync workloads (IM, online meetings and Voice & PBX) must be deployed on Lync server in this case (it is not possible to split Lync workloads between Lync Server and Lync Online).

Lync Server

Lync Server 2010 provides all the functionality that is available with Lync Online. In addition, Lync Server includes Voice and PBX capabilities that enable organizations to replace or enhance traditional telephony solutions with the Lync next generation communications platform. Lync Server Voice and PBX functionality is available as part of the Office 365 Plan E4 suite.
Lync Server provides native interoperability with Exchange Online for presence integration and voice mail. For more information, see the TechNet article Lync Server 2010 Users Voice Mail on Hosted Exchange UM.
Lync technology does not support coexistence between Lync Online and Lync Server using a single domain. Therefore, it is not possible to deploy a subset of users in Lync Online and other users on-premises using a single domain name. Lync federation can be used to enable users to communicate between Lync Online and Lync on-premises deployments, using different domain names.

Lync Server prices can be found HERE.

To see the feature sets between Lync Online and Lync Server visit the Microsoft Wiki HERE

Integrations

One of the most powerful draws to Lync is the native integration with the Microsoft Office (and Office 365) suite of products. Additionally you can integrate Lync with Microsoft Dynamics CRM through third party tools which will allow CRM records to pop up when receiving a call through Lync with the appropriate package and hardware. For more information about this please Contact Us.

What We Like About Lync

Lync is a very powerful tool for offices that are looking for a communication package to manage their intra office communications, particularly for those who have many members off site or completely virtual. Additionally we like how it interacts with the office 365 suite of products.

What We Don’t Like About Lync

As mentioned Lync is more thank just a conference call and screen sharing application. it is more suited for a company intranet than for this purpose. As such the subscription and deployment options for Lync can be complicated. It is advisable to get with a Microsoft Certified Partner for deployment options.

GoToMeeting

As oppsed to Lync, GoToMeeting is soley a video conferencing suite that makes it easy to meet, present, and collaborate. this it does VERY well. You can participate in meetings from your desktop, iPhone/iPad, or Android device. it does not have any of the other collaboration features that Lync has.

Pros: A very good one click solution for Video conferencing. Advanced options around screen and application sharing. Decent integration with Outlook.

Cons: No other collaboration features outside of Video Conferencing.

Feature
Description
Pricing: $49/mo (First month free is free.). No contract required. Cancel any time. Enterprise plans available.
Mobile Clients: iPhone, iPad and Android
Free Trial:  Yes –30 days free
Meeting Capacity: 15 attendees (More with larger plans, see below)
Desktop Sharing: Yes – Share your desktop with meeting attendees for presentations and collaboration. You can share your whole desktop, or a specific application window.
Desktop Recording: Yes – Record your screen and the audio teleconference for playback at anytime.
VOIP: Yes – choose between your computer’s mic and speakers, or your phone.
Control Granting: Yes – give control of the meeting to anybody in attendance. They can share their desktop and documents using the same controls as the meeting organizer. You can also take control of their desktop to provide support, or do a product walk-through.
Video Conferencing: Yes – HD Faces. High definition video allows you to see meeting attendees.
Chat: Yes – Group and private chat. Send a message to everyone in the meeting, or select a specific person to chat with.
Annotation Tools: Yes – Highlight, draw, and point to anything on your screen.

 

Subscription Plans

 
GoToMeeting
GoToWebinar1
GoToWebinar2
GoToWebinar3
GoToTraining1
GoToTraining2

Max Attendees

15 100 500 1000 25 200
Monthly Plan $49 $99 $399 $499 $149 $349
Annual Plan $468 $948 $3828 $4788 $1428 $3348

 

In addition GoToMeeting has Multi-User plans available for enterprise clients. This allows the business to manage the GoToMeeting users. Unfortunately GoToMeeting does not publish their pricing for this service. To find out more about Multi_user accounts, visit their page HERE.

What We Like About GoToMeeting

The pricing strategy as compared to Lync is much more straight forward. In addition the ease of use of the application is simple to use. The Outlook integration is also fairly straight forward.

What We Don’t Like About GoToMeeting

Again, it depends on your needs but the lack of much of the functionality Lync has is a let down. GoToMeeting does one thing and it does it well.

Conclusion

If you want a robust video conferencing solution the GoToMeeting is your best option. If you are looking for a communications package for your intranet, then take a look at Lync.

If this article was helpful of if you have any questions, please comment. If you would like further information or would like an Office 365 package tailored to your needs, please Contact Us and we will put together a custom quote.

Written by

Matt Braunstein is the Managing Partner of Mangrove Associates.

1 Comments to “Microsoft Lync vs GoToMeeting”

  1. Marco Herry says:

    An interesting read, thanks. However, though you credited GoToMeeting, my video conferencing app of choice I feel you could have expandeed on it a little more given the depth awarded to Lync.

    “As oppsed to Lync, GoToMeeting is soley a video conferencing suite”
    In fact when I started using GoTomeeting there was no video facility, the primary benifi was Screen Sharing which to this day is one of the primary purposes of GoTo

    The ability to allow other attendee’s to a conference the ability to take control (of input devices:mouse) / Switch Presenter (screens) / Chat / Invite / integrated or external voice options / etc …

    I say this mainly because the “Cons” section of the GoTo review states: “No other collaboration features outside of Video Conferencing. ”
    As far as I know “Video Conferencing” refers only to the voice and video call and thus a fraction of what GoToMeeting constitutes …

    Perhaps you could elaborate on the exact Lync features that are not present

    Using GoToMeeting I can display and collaborate with / ANY application on my PC/Device including 365 & non MS applications

    Thanks

    M

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