Microsoft has added a handful of free downloadable add-ons to its Lync Server -- its all-in-one VOIP/messaging/conferencing platform.
Among the newly delivered updates in the "Lync Adoption and Training Kit" are: IM an Expert: a social networking tool that helps the people find an "expert" inside their companies. The tool parses the question to determine the topic area, finds topic area experts in its user-populated expert database, and forwards the question.
Conversations Analyzer: an application that reviews users' Lync instant messaging conversation history and applies trust rules to determine the occurrence of words and phrases that have a positive or negative effect on trust. Conversation Translator: a real-time language translation service for Lync instant messaging (IM) conversations in up to 35 different languages. Information Dashboard: a tool that returns information about an intended contact, including the day, date, local time, weather forecast, and a news feed of articles related to the location. Tabbed Conversations: a tabbed conversation window to allow multiple IM conversations in a single window.
Group Chat Stress Tool: a helper application for establishing the infrastucture needed to do group chat.
The Lync Training and Adoption Kit was originally designed for Lync Server running on-premises, but it has many components that are applicable to both on-prem as well as Lync Online -- the Microsoft-hosted version of Lync that the company will launch later this month as part of Office 365. The Lync 2010 client plug-ins (like the Conversation Translator, Tabbed Conversations, Information Dashboard, etc.) work with both versions of Lync, Microsoft officials said.
It's also worth noting that several features in the Lync add-ons require other servers, such as the IM-an-Expert application which pulls expertise information from SharePoint, and the Conversation Analyzer which uses the conversation history stored in Exchange, officials said.
The new add-ons are free to existing Lync customers and available immediately.
Speaking of interesting downloadable add-ons, Microsoft has made available this week a Twitter Analytics add-on for Excel 2010 that lets users get Twitter stats inside their spreadsheets.