Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Live Meeting vs. Lync Online Comparison

Microsoft launched Office 365 last month which brings together cloud versions (which means hosted in Microsoft data centers and accessed through a browser) of it's communications and collaboration products into one offering. Office 365 includes:

  • Microsoft Office Hosted Online: Excel, Word, and Power Point  delivered via the Web and accessed from a PC, Phone and Browser.
  • Exchange Email Online:  Exchanged e-mail server hosted by Microsoft with always-up-to-date protection from viruses and spam.
  • SharePoint Online:  Microsoft's intranet tool now hosted online for creating sites to connect colleagues, partners and customers.
  • Lync Online (formerly Microsoft Office Communicator):  Cloud-based instant messaging, presence, and online meeting experiences with PC-audio, video conferencing and desktop sharing.
A lot of Microsoft Live Meeting customers have been asking what the difference is between Lync Online vs. Live Meeting.  We had a team of six business users test both products for the past two months.  The end conclusion is that, for Web conferencing needs (share presentations, documents, web browser or entire desktop), Lync Online is not even close to Live Meeting in terms of functionality and ease of use.  The following includes a summary of our findings:
  • Live Meeting:  Probably one of the best web conferencing services on the market.  Live Meeting is ideal for both smaller collaborative meetings as well as hosting larger Webinars.  Scheduling meetings is easy through the live meeting website or integration with Outlook and Lotus Notes.  For Webinars Live Meeting includes handy features such as attendee registration, reminder emails, polling, recording, Q&A online and capacity for up to 1,250 attendees per meeting.
  • Lync Online:  Lync is the new name for Microsoft Office Communicator.  Lync Online is more geared towards instant messenger and presence (knowing who is at their desk) than web conferencing.  Lync installs a rather large instant messenger (IM) client (MACs not supported).  This seems to be ideal for a business that wants to connect to employees, clients and partners via instant messenger and webcams.  Within the IM client you can do very basic web conferencing such as sharing a power point presentation or desktop.  Lync does not include any features required for conducting webinars such as attendee registration.  Also Lync Online is limited to 250 attendees per meeting.  One final, and very important, note to make is that Lync online does not include any live phone support.  Everyone that tested Lync required assistance to set up and use.  The only support available is posting your problem or "how to" question to an Office 365 community blog for someone to post a response.  This was extremely frustrating as a Lync user.  It took three weeks of back and fourth posts to get my Lync working.  Further, what about external attendees that you invite to join a Lync Online meeting?  There is no one for them to call if they have problems or questions joining.
Live Meeting
Lync Online
 Meeting Capacity (Max attendees per meeting)
 Features Before Your Meeting
 Microsoft® Outlook & Lotus Notes Integration
Only Outlook integration is available with Lync.
 Schedule Meetings via the Web
The only way to schedule a meeting via Lync is Outlook
 Online Attendee Registration
 Phone-based Training and Meeting Assistance
Live Meeting has 24/7 live suport for presenters and attendees joining. Lync Online has no phone support.
 Features During Your Meeting
 Instant messaging (IM) and presence
 Power Point Presentation & Document Sharing
 Desktop  & Software Application Sharing
 Web Browser Sharing
 White Board Sharing
 Instantly Make Any Attendee a Co-Presenter
 Remote Mouse Control  (Desktop Support)
 Online Q&A
 Polling and Surveys
 Virtual Breakout Rooms
 Advanced Testing
 Handouts Distribution/File Transfer
 Webcam Video Sharing
 Two-Way or One-Way VoIP Audio
 Audio Telephone Bridge Integration
 Recording  (both audio and web) to your PC
* Note:  Lync online documentation states that recording is included but none of the testers could figure out how to record a meeting.
 Hosted Recording Online Storage & Playback
 Live 24x7x365 Live Technical Support
 After Your Meeting
 Attendance Reporting

Here is the link to the Lync Online community support site regarding the ability to record a meeting

In summary Microsoft Lync Online is more instant messenger and one-to-one webcam video than web conferencing.


  1. Very helpful. I've been trying to get answers from our IT folks about what I can expect with LYNC, and haven't gotten useful answers. This is exactly what I was looking for. Unfortunately, I confirms what I already thought was true. I will need to find another web conferencing solution :-(

  2. I've been using Lync for webinars for several months. Our larger organization has paid for it, freeing up the monthly fee my department was paying for another hosted solution. I have successfully found the recording (like all MS programs, you just have to dig around in the menus) and the quality of the windows media export is superb. I can almost immediately have the recording online after a webinar is over. Also, the PowerPoint integration is better than any other product I've used. The only downside I've noted is that there is not the ability to do a private chat with the presenters - the chat is an all or nothing (unless the other person is someone within your organization and has the fully functional version of Lync). I have access to both Lync and Adobe Connect and am now only using Lync.

  3. Good breakdown of the information into a table makes it easier to cross reference, got what I needed cheers!

  4. I haven't had the oppurtunity to trial this yet but MS site indicates the following method to have a chat with limited number of the participants (ie with presenters only):

    Start a separate conversation with one or more participants:
    In the participant list, select one or more people, right-click the selected name(s), and then click the contact option you want.

  5. Does anyone know if Lync intergrates with any LMSs?

    1. I know they don't integrate with Cornerstone OnDemand, our new LMS (they link with WebEx). And after checking out more info on Lync, they don't appear to have a reporting function the way Adobe and WebEx do, either.

      Although our company is using Lync (when it works) for meetings, I think my L&D group may choose to use something else so we can get away from paper training records.

  6. Thank you for posting your findings. I've been told the hosted Live Meeting will be replaced by Lync. This will definitely not be a good move by MS as Lync is lacking in functionalities compare to LM. You mind as well find another solution. How does WebEx and other tools compare to these?

  7. Well i am using online live meeting software for video conferencing..its having more flexibility..but thanks..:)

  8. How does this list compare to running Lync on Mac or Mobile platforms?

  9. You may also want to try free Ammyy Admin

    One of the easiest and the most fast software for online meetings. No monthly fees, free for non commercial use.

    It might be a good alternative though!

  10. I see the comparison is very useful. WE use web conference service for our company and it is really productive tool. - Herman Swan

  11. Live meeting seems to work much better on slower connections than Lync's sharing.

  12. Is there any information how to check the preformance bewteen Lync and Livemeeting. When Microsoft is moving the livemeeting service to Lync online we want to measure the preformance inprovement instead of reading this.

  13. If microsoft is moving hosted livemeeting service to lync online, does anybody know how to measure the performance to prove the lync online is better as MS is telling us

  14. It's difficult to find knowledgeable people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what you're
    talking about! Thanks

    my blog post Corporate Movers

  15. I used to use MS Live Meeting until the Veterans Administration switched us over to Lync Meeting.

    Here is what I have found with Lync:

    1. I get kicked off Lync alot more than I did with LM
    2. I cannot upload other types of documents to share with others besides a PowerPoint. If I want to share a pdf file, a spreadsheet, or Word file I have to share my desktop and viewers get to see all my email messages as they appear at the bottom of the screen.
    3. I cannot share a PowerPoint and have it cycle through a bunch of slides. I used to use this feature 15 minutes prior to the call start time at least once a month for a call I run. It was beneficial for sharing updates and giving instructions for the call. If I want to do this in Lync, I have to set PowerPoint in slideshow mode and share my desktop. It is then impossible to do other things behind the scenes, like reading emails or reviewing a spreadsheet. Or chatting privately with another presenter prior to the call.
    4. I tried recording a meeting the other day and wasn't able to do so for the audio component using the 1-855 number provided with the Lync invite. Apparently you can only record audio if you use the audio through your computer.
    5. If you use the audio through the computer this ties up two lines per person (one for audio, one for video), reducing the amount of people you can invite to the call.

    I am not happy using Lync Meeting for my job, but I am forced to do so. In MHO, the people that made the decision to switch to Lync don't coordinator meetings or they wouldn't have switched us over.