If you have a small branch office, with just a handful of users and they would like to be able to receive calls in the event of a branch office WAN failure, the typical Lync answer is a SBA (or Survivable Branch Appliance) This is a slick solution but does have an associated cost. This especially adds up for a company with many, very small branch offices.
Is there another solution between nothing and a SBA? Actually, there might be: Use the existing Lync mobile infrastructure along with the existing mobile calling infrastructure your employees already have as your mobile powered “SBA" solution. If employees notice their PSTN calling is down, their first response will be to pull their mobile out of their pocket and use it---so why not make it a part of the official plan? Why not use the infrastructure that is already in place?
Just have users pull their smartphone equipped with Lync mobile out of their pocket, forward calls to their mobile and...voila..."mobile powered SBA" is up! For those with "dumb" phones, IT at HQ can enable forwarding using SEFAUtil. If it is not an incredibly busy office you could have all calls forward to one “attendant” mobile number as well.
A way to make this solution even more automated (and even kind of elegant?) would be to create a script that pings the branch in question. If this fails, a preset script using SEFAUtil forwards calls of all users at that branch to their mobile phones.
Since the next gen of headsets from plantronics/jabra/etc support both deskphone and mobile, this experience could remain similar as well during down time. Also, this mobile powered “SBA" will become even more functional once Lync Mobile supports VoIP.
Some nice things about this solution
- inbound and outbound calling
- Employee mobile numbers are not exposed (normal Lync Mobility feature call via work)
- voicemail retrieval continues to work.
- Just turn off call forwarding to let calls go to voicemail.
- No limited functionality: IM/Presence/Contacts continue to work (wink)
Some challenges with this solution:
- users need to have a mobile phone and be willing to use it for work
- there needs to be central capacity to handle a branch down scenario
- Lync Mobile forwarding will not work with Response Groups
Obviously this is a work around, and only for small branch offices. But, for very small branch offices this could be a basic, alternative survivability option. If you have additional ideas, let’s hear them!