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The flu, Lync, and Virtual Desktop

February 28, 2013 / Evolve IP

As we neared the end of February and the news stories about it had died down, I really thought I had made it through unscathed. But, then it started with a little cough when I woke up last Tuesday morning. By lunchtime, I was feeling really tired and a little warmer than normal. By the time I was driving home that evening, chills and body aches had kicked in. It was the first time I had been hit with influenza since I was a kid, and it just came out of nowhere and knocked me over.

With an upcoming vacation around the corner, I couldn’t afford to miss work – I had too much to wrap up before I went away! But, the doctor’s strict orders were to stay out of work until the following Monday to avoid passing the virus onto anyone.

Of course when I left work that Tuesday, I didn’t know I wouldn’t be back in the office until the following Monday. I certainly wasn’t thinking about what files and programs I might need to access or who might try to call me over the next few days. All I was thinking of was getting home to my bed.

As it turned out, it was a great chance to truly put our company’s tools to the test – after all we are the cloud strategy company and tell our customers every day that our Evolved Office solution  provides the mobility features and functionality that truly allow someone to work from anywhere with an internet connection on virtually any device.

So, how did it go? Amazingly well.

With Evolve IP’s hosted voice over IP phone system I was able to make and receive calls on my cell phone, as if it were my desk phone. With the simple click of a mouse, calls to my desk phone were coming in on my cell phone, and calls out from my cell had the appearance on Caller ID that they were being made from my desk phone. All I had to do was log into my OSSmosis Personal Portal to turn on my Evolved Anywhere fixed mobile convergence (FMC) solution.

A major challenge for employees when they unexpectedly have to work remotely is that they can’t access all of their programs and company files. But, with the Evolved Desktop, I just opened my $200 netbook and logged right into my virtual desktop. From there I was able to work with exactly the same capacity as if I were sitting at my desk using a laptop, desktop or thin client.

Clearly, the days where I needed to lug a heavy laptop around, or deal with an unreliable VPN, or transfer files with a USB drive are gone! My netbook only weighs about three pounds, which makes it effortless to transport. And with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), I simply log in and start working with full access to my Windows environment, programs and even shared company drives. Even better, if I had neglected to take my netbook home with me, it wouldn’t matter because I can also access it from my iPad or my personal PC at home. (Yes, I just said I can run Windows on an iPad – we even have guys running PhotoShop!)

At one point during the week, I needed to provide changes to a marketing document to the graphic designer who was back at the office (missing me terribly, of course.) I sent her an instant message (IM) via our fully-integrated Microsoft Lync, then I launched a desktop share session with her and used the cursor to point out the changes I needed her to make.

The other great thing about Lync was that my colleagues could quickly and easily determine my availability even though I wasn’t in the office. All they had to do was look at my Presence status, to see if I was in a meeting, on a phone call, available or logged off.

Even though I was coughing non-stop last week, I was able to breathe easy in a metaphorical sense because our cloud-based technologies enabled me to avoid getting behind at a time when I was trying to get ahead in preparation of my upcoming vacation.

The timing of my illness in conjunction with the hot business news of the week of the Yahoo telecommuting policy elimination was certainly interesting. My situation was the perfect example, since I was easily able to work from home during my illness. No one in the office had to be exposed to my germs and I was able to remain productive and on top of my work, so that this week between my illness and my vacation is not stress-filled.

When your communications solutions are hosted in the cloud, the ability to communicate and collaborate when working remotely truly is just as seamless and simple as if you are working in the office.

Now, thanks to Evolve IP’s hosted VoIP, Desktop and Microsoft Lync (and my Tamiflu prescription), I am back in the office feeling much better, right on schedule with all of my work and looking forward to my vacation next week.

Categories: General Unified Communications
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