Many have been waiting a long time for an official Microsoft Lync client to come to mobile devices such as iOS, Android and WindowsPhone7.
A company called Damaka has stepped up to the plate with a product call Xync to fill this gap. At the moment it appears the Lync community will be depending on Damaka to provide things beyond presence, IM and contacts management for some time. (at Microsoft’s current Lync Mobile client delivery speed
I was glad to be able to talk to Ramesh Chaturvedi, VP of Business Development at Damaka, to discuss in depth Damaka’s plan and vision for it multiplatform mobile client for Microsoft Lync, Xync.
Q. Who is Damaka?
A. We are a software vendor making UC solutions for mobile. We are based in Richardson Texas and trying to bring UC to mobile. Our team has a telephony background and we are very standards centric. We made the first mobile video on Windows Mobile 6.1 in 2006 and now we have extended that to Android and iOS. Our vision at Damaka is “mobile unified communications”.
Q. Why can Damaka deliver a solution Microsoft so far hasn’t?
A. Many have asked us this question. The answer is simple:
- We have started this SIP UC mobility 4/5 years ago. We did the first mobile video on Windows Mobile 6.1 so we have a head start. All we needed to do is target OCS/Lync now.
- We are a smaller and more nimble company. Our OCS/Lync clients now on the market represent 6 months effort so we can move fast.
Q. What devices will Xync by Damaka target?
A. Currently we are targeting iOS and some specific Android and Android tablet models. We are eager to support Windows Phone but up until now we didn’t have the camera API’s we needed. Enterprises seems to be leaving Blackberry so at this point we are at a “wait and see” on that front. Specific models:
- Android 2.2 Sprint models only (camera API limitation)
- Android 2.3
- Samsung Galaxy 7.1 tablet
- Motorola Xoom
- Symbian c5
- Symbian c7 (recommended)
- Windows Phone “Mango” (future)
Q. Lync on Windows Phone?! Tell Me More!
A. Definitely Windows Phone will be targeted. Remember our history with Windows Mobile? We made video on WM6.1 back in 2006 and Windows is important to us.We definitely will target Windows Phone. Up until now the lack of Windows Phone camera API has been the hold up. The camera API should be available to us this month and then we will start work.
Q. When can we expect Xync Lync/OCS client for Windows Phone?
A. Once we get the necessary API’s we project 4-8 weeks development time. Less than 2 month.
Q. Will Xync be Lync Certified or Qualified with Microsoft?
A. We are working on this. Since we are a mobile client this is a new area for Microsoft with Lync, but we are working on this.
Q. While we are on the subject of Windows Phone, what about a standard SIP client for the platform?
A. The Damaka team is looking into and it is on our our roadmap.
Q. The Xync client is as simple as installing client on device and logging into OCS Lync?
A. Yes! We connect directly to the edge outside the network or to the Lync FE server directly inside the network using SIP. No extra UCMA server, no extra Lync Server role for mobile—the Xync client is the complete solution.
Q. How can I get such great audio quality on Android device over 3G?
A. Damaka team has a creative implementation for audio codec to produce good quality even over 3/4G networks.
Q. Tell me more about Xync codecs and protocols.
A. As I said before as a company we are firmly committed to industry standards.
- Audio = G711 and Siren
- Video = H.263
- Nat traversal = ICE,Stun Stun
- SIP with TLS
Q. What about RTAudio?
A. We are in “wait and see” with RTaudio. We are more interested in RTVideo and actively evaluating if RTvideo does enough video compression for the cpu cost. Does the tradeoff make sense? We are evaluating.
Q. It looks like Xync will come in several versions?
A. Yes, we plan to have 3 versions of Xync:
- Xync – Presence, IM, Audio, Video, PSTN calling, Contacts, and Search – 19.99 USD
- Xync Conf – Xync plus IM, Audio, Video Conferences – 24.99 USD
- Xync Collab – Xync Conf plus Desk, App, File, PPT, Whiteboard Sharing – 29.99 USD
Not all Conf and Collab features done. Video Conf, PPT, Whiteboard are expected in the October 2011 timeframe and users who get the products will get free upgrade.
Q. What about Microsoft’s Lync mobile client slated for late 2011? How does Damaka see Xync and Microsoft’s client’s positioning in relation to each other?
A. We see Damaka Xync as complimenting Microsoft’s own mobile strategy. Currently there is a gap in Microsoft’s mobile story and we are filling that gap in the interim. For Lync Wave 14 there is no audio/video in Microsoft’s strategy—and once again we are complementing by providing that once a Microsoft mobile client is here. When will Microsoft bring desktop sharing to the the mobile? It is not clear at this time. In the interim Damaka Xync Collab product will provide that.
A. Software is always imperfect and can be improved. Device limitations can cause problems. On the iOS specifically we were fighting a 10minute background app kill that was causing problems but we now have a new API to fix this. Also, 3/4G is not perfect and can cause some issues if there is a disconnect. We will add fixes and (in some cases) features and users will get these at no extra cost.
Q. Where do we go for more information?
A. Obviously our website, but we also have a new video site:
NOTE: I’ve kept my opinions out of this post—but you can post your opinions in the comments.
If you have any comments, questions or opinions about Xync, please comment!