The Lync Room System (LRS)

“If only someone would build Lync for a conference room”


Lync is at the center of one of the biggest transformations in the way we work since the advent of the PC. The workforce is more distributed, with more flexible working hours and getting things done increasingly relies on collaboration with people in multiple locations. Bill Gates was referring to this trend when he said at the launch of Lync 2010, “Lync is the most important thing to happen to the office worker since the PC came along”.


In Lync 2013 we have made significant investments in video and collaboration to make it really easy for individuals to collaborate from anywhere and on any device. The new video gallery enables all meeting participants to see and be seen and our mobile clients enable users to communicate and participate in a meeting from any device.


Lync 2013 is the fourth release of the Microsoft unified communications product line starting with Office Communicator 2007. The level of innovation we have seen since the start of our unified communications journey has been dramatic, if not unprecedented.


One area which hasn’t kept pace with this level of innovation is the meeting room, which is an area where information workers (IW’s) spend a lot of time during the course of a day. As more and more meetings involve remote attendees, the capabilities and expectations of these remote attendees make very clear how far behind the meeting room experience has fallen compared to desktop and mobile.


The best effort of the industry to bring communications to the meeting room to date has been with videoconferencing systems (VTCs). Over time, we’ve heard from many of our customers who are dissatisfied with their current videoconferencing experience that they wish it would just work and be as easy to use as their desktop.


So what exactly are the problems with conference rooms that make them so hard to use? Many of us who go to meetings on a regular basis know them well:

Time spent getting the meeting started: We’ve observed that it takes 8 to 10 minutes on average from the time someone tries to start a meeting to the time 2-way video is established and content is available in the meeting. Challenges abound in everything from getting the projector working to getting the laptop to project to getting video started.


Videoconferencing equipment is not well utilized: Most large companies have deployed VTCs in some meeting rooms but their usage is often limited to those who had the need to install and took the trouble to learn how to operate them in the first place. If you ask everyone else what they know about VTCs, they will probably comment on the camera at the front of the room pointing at the wall and the remote control on the table. This is primarily because the user interface for VTCs is not intuitive and even once it has been learnt, you still need to know the identity of the room you want to call to be able to establish a connection. VTC vendors have tried to improve this experience in recent years but it’s still not as intuitive as using the PC on your desk.


Remote attendees feel isolated: For most meetings with content and remote attendees, the in-room participants need to choose which of the two to show in the meeting room as there is only so much screen real estate available. Most often, the in-room attendees choose to show the content which is the subject of the meeting, and not the video of the remote participants. Without the 2-way video connection, out of sight is like being out of mind and remote attendees aren’t able to contribute effectively to the meeting.


Meetings are hard to manage: When you finally get the meeting started, you still need to worry about managing the participants, the audio/video and the content being shown in the meeting.  


“If only someone would build Lync for a conference room” – anon.


We decided it’s time to do exactly that, and at Lync Conference in San Diego, CA, we are announcing Lync Room System in conjunction with our partners Crestron, LifeSize, Polycom, and SMART.


What is a Lync Room System?


Lync Room System is a meeting room solution consisting of integrated hardware and software delivered by our partners and optimized to join Lync meetings. With Lync Room System you can join an online meeting with one touch and be ready to collaborate with remote attendees in seconds. It has all the equipment you need for great meetings:

1.       High definition touch displays (1080p) for showing video and enabling collaboration. Lync Room Systems are available with 1 or 2 front of room touch displays depending on your room size

2.       High definition video camera for capturing the room in full 1080p resolution

3.       Wideband audio for clear sound from the room and to the room

4.       Table-top touch meeting console to enable the meeting controller to manage the meeting without distracting the other attendees

It’s all brought together by the Lync Room System Edition software, which is a full Lync client optimized to bring the immersive meeting experience to a meeting room setting. It makes joining meetings as easy as on your PC and breaks down the barrier between in-room and remote attendees. Being able to see content and high definition video side by side makes remote collaboration more effective.




Lync Room System from SMART, showing the table top console, 2 front of room touch screens and front of room camera


When joining the meeting, content and video are automatically shown on large screens. You can easily launch an interactive whiteboard (as shown above) for immersive collaboration with in-room and remote attendees. Using the console, you can switch between different views and manage meeting content, as well as add remote attendees if needed.



The home screen


Lync Room System launches into the meeting calendar view, so you can see what meetings are scheduled for the room and join with one touch. Unlike using many VTCs, you don’t need to know the name of the room or people you are calling or the virtual meeting room being used. All you need to do is send a Lync meeting invite from Outlook for the room to show it in the calendar and enable it to join, just the same as joining a meeting from your PC.




Changing in-room meeting views from the console


The console lets you pick the views of the meeting you want to show in the room with one touch. Sometimes you want to see the video gallery of remote attendees for an immersive 2-way conversation, sometimes it’s the content and gallery together.



Using the console to manage meeting participants


From the Participants tab of the console, you can check who’s in the meeting, add or remove participants and mute attendees if the dog is barking and they forgot to mute themselves.


For IT administrators, since LRS is just another Lync endpoint, it is managed the same way as Lync clients. Whereas existing VTCs require separate infrastructure, LRS is part of the Lync deployment and uses the same server infrastructure. This integrated manageability dramatically reduces the complexity of deployment.

Each of our partners will be delivering integrated room systems according to our hardware specifications in order to ensure reliability of the meeting room setup and consistency of the experience for end users. Stay tuned for more information from them about availability and features.


-Anton Krantz,  Principal Group Program Manager

Comments (85)

  1. Anonymous says:

    IS there any way to get this client without the hardware? please respond to

  2. Anonymous says:

    @RaiJain – Can you be more specific? We have LRS 15.03 installed and Lync/Exchange CU3 – Still the same issue with OWA Online Meeting option…

  3. This is one of my most wished for features, great to see it become a reality! It would be even nicer if we could download the Lync Room software so we can build our own rooms 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    I know this is focused on Enterprise but has great possibilities as part of Office 365 for Distance and Distributed Education.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We are rolling these out globally for several customers. Let me know if you want to learn more or see the system in action.

  6. Anonymous says:

    We are looking to build an LRS

    Need a point of contact to discuss details.

    Adi Regev


  7. lmunck says:

    Neither Polycom, Crestron, nor Smart has taken a single step away from the classical video/voice/tvscreen setup of classical conferencing vendors. I.e. each room is a significant investment and a complex endeavor to set up and manage, and the market is
    already dominated by Cisco.

    A miniPC or tablet with this software on, that utilizes the existing projectors, an optional Kinect to make existing whiteboards two-way interactive (you’re already doing this in retail), and manageable through existing SCCM infrastructure, would have been
    a game-changer. This is just more of the same.

    So stop selling yourself short! Utilize the great opportunity you have in this space and create something unique!

  8. techiegz says:

    Awesome. I can't wait to replace all the junk conferencing systems at our businesses and clients'.

  9. Manny Ho says:

    Can you help me resolve issue with my microsoft office communicator 2007 R2 Version 3.5.6907.83.  My contacts status are all in white.  No green(online), yellow (away) or red (busy) are appearing on all my contacts.

  10. love it says:

    Will stay tuned.

    Manny: Maybe you should ask your IT department..

  11. mike says:

    Will the lync room system edition be available for download/purchase, or is this something we'll have to buy integrated into 3rd party hardware? I would love to integrate this into existing presentation hardware and not have to replace what we're already bought.

  12. malc says:

    Looks very good. No mention of costs yets, is this going to be silly money?!

    I hope not.

  13. Gary H says:

    @ Malc: I don't think you can find any room based Conferencing solution on the marekt right now that is not 'Silly Money'.

    I hope partners/vendors have a decent upgrade/trade up plan for this so those who have already invested in VC dont get burned.

  14. NotAlwaysDissatisfied says:

    VTC is cool and even useful, but I was disappointed to see the Lync 2013 still doesn't support group IM chatrooms for the non-Windows participants.

  15. TechMan says:

    Does that then mean that in the future then having Lync Room System there are no need even for separate virtual room systems even for virtual meeting room systems for LifeSize, Polycom… All fully integrated with Lync Online Meeting, of course 3rd party high-end room devices is required as a endpoint.

  16. Henrik Börjesson says:

    Wait to see this implemented soon.

    Really looking forward to it.

  17. Aba says:

    What about interoperability? Still need federation to communicate externally (only Lync to Lync support)?

  18. Polycom Supported devices ? says:

    Does anyone have an information what devices will be supported for this Lync Room System (LRS), for example from Polycom?

  19. Anton Krantz [MSFT] says:

    @Mike: Lync Room System is sold as an integrated offering by our partners. Crestron, LifeSize, SMART and Polycom announced plans at Lync Conference to launch Lync Room Systems this year. An integrated offering of HW and SW ensures that the system works as designed and as qualified by Microsoft. This avoids a lot of the reliability issues in meeting rooms today because of different equipment that does not work well together.

  20. Anton Krantz [MSFT] says:

    @Aba: Lync Room System is interoperable with 3rd party videoconferencing systems in the same way as Lync. See…/hh239758 for a list of interoperable products and the features they support.

  21. Salty says:

    Very cool and will suit our circumstances ideally (we're going Lync 13 enterprise and have a lack of vidcon capabilities). I'm looking forward to further announcements. Will the room software allow for exchange / outlook  integration? I imagine it will but it would be good to know. Thanks Anton

  22. iavarone consulting says:

    I am used to deploy video room systems from CISCO Polycom and Lifesize and currently deploying Lync 2013 in a large corporation. In this article I miss a few hard facts, such as the fact that Microsoft Lync like any Video conference system relies on network bandwidth, and a proper video server infrastructure. In my current enterprise deployment i was shocked to see that we need at least 8 Servers (including 3 backup servers) and deal with a very complex licensing model. The interoperability with other video systems is highly complex.  Lync clients only make sense if you already have a large Microsoft environment. The interactive whiteboard sysem from smart  relies on a connected PC runnin g a Microsoft OS and a Lync client and does not have an own video codec. What we see on top of the dual screen solution from Smart seems to be a "better" web cam. Real room systems feature excellent cameras that deliver crisp HD images, up to 12x zoom and adaptive whitebalance. these cameras are very expensive as good video relies on good lenses and this fact will remain a costly factor also in the future. Professional MCUs currently ensure better multipoint layout features than Microsoft Lync can offer today. VOIP integration into a common CISCO environment is also a big challenge! Next week I have an appointment with SMART and will find out how the participants on the other sides will see the presenter how is touching the screen and perhaps obstructing that webcam that is facing the wrong direction, namely the audience. Does the SMART system support multiple cameras? I will watch this place and send 1st hand experiences to this community – I am currently also trying to find out whether the Polycom CX 5000 camera could be combined with the SMART board. – Cheers, Don

  23. alex says:

    Hi, I m an interior designer and am taking up a project to design an office space in the next month . Needless to say, conference room is going to be a part of the project. All I had been reading till now is about projectors, printers and desks one should have for the employees to say…WOW! What a conference room! What an office or something innovative. Thank you for sharing this new technology as it gives me lots of options to save space and not compromise on any of my ideas.

    You know all I was reading until now is…/essential-office-electronics-printer-projector and now I realise it was just the starting point. I can do a lot more!

  24. Chris Neto says:

    I just wrote an article for Corporate TechDecsions on how LYNC can be a Game Changer in both the AV and VTC industries. Here is the link to the Infocomm 2013 Game Changer article:…/game_changers_at_infocomm_2013

  25. Dan Freeman says:

    Though not "Lync Certified" We have been using our camera (and the VDOPC) with grat success- actual 1080p resolution with true Pan, Tilt, and Zoom.

  26. Anita Bhat says:

    One of my clients just told me that he heard that the LRS idea was being scrapped.  Is this true?  If it is, can someone speak a little bit about why?

  27. sudheer says:

    @ Anita LRS idea is not scrapped and the first version of it is already in the market. As of now Crestron and SMART are selling the product.

  28. Hugh Richards says:

    At Conference Room Systems we build lync systems shipped ready to install and use.  Check it out

  29. Ricardo Meechan - GCICOM @rm83 says:


    We deployed 2 room systems this week but we think we have found a potential bug. If the meeting is created using Outlook Web Access 2013 (using Calendar > New Event > Online Meeting) then the room system will fail to join the meeting with the message "we can't join the meeting right now". Unfortunately, this customer cannot use the native Outlook Client to create the online meetings (but testing this method, the room system can connect to the meeting without issue).

    I obviously would need to raise this with PSS but I'm hoping to contact the LRS team directly as our customer is needles to say, very irate that they have purchased a system that doesn't work the way they would expect.

    I ask anyone with a LRS to test this out by using the "online meeting" button within Outlook Web Access 2013.

  30. Las Fernando says:

    Good overview of the problem and the potential solution

  31. RaiJain says:

    LRS can now join the meeting scheduled/created using Outlook Web Access 2013.

  32. Lync Noob says:


    Is the LRS software only available to specific partners or is it available for download or in SDK format to allow for custom development and deployments ?

  33. sherif says:

    I just deployed LRs Crestron  all things working fine however the lrs portal showed that all LRS are offline

    do you have any clew

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  52. J-P says:

    I’m very very interested in small scale systems versions of these. While we have 20-30 rooms that warrant the expense of telepressence style systems we have probably 200 that could use a smaller, lower cost unit. Think Xbox with Kinect camera and a TV.
    That would be fantastic. We are rolling out Lync 2013 right now to 9,000 staff and 30,000 students. It’s very impressive (when compared to our Avaya, Cisco, Tandberg, and Polycom products). I just really wish we could bridge the "room to person" gap without
    a.) using PC’s (it’s more to maintain) or b.) paying $7-10,000 for an integrated room based system. I really want Microsoft to expand on the intersection of Lync and "Resources" (in the exchange since). I want my clients to be able to simply book a room (in
    exchange) with a lync endpoint in it and have the meeting launch (automatically or with intervention). We’ve also tried all the Roundtable versions, very neat but you still have to lug them around, have cable all over the place, and you rely entirely on a.)
    the clients endpoint (if it’s not setup correctly the meeting tanks) and b.) the person calling in has to know WHO in the room has the Roundtable plugged in. Otherwise, i’ve been in this business a long time and I have to say this is the first fundamental
    shift in workplace communication i’ve seen that isn’t a mess, hard to use, hard for users to understand, and is broadly supported (needs a linux client please!!!). If you would have told me that I would have committed my enterprise to Microsoft UC two years
    ago i’d have laughed. Now I must go eat my hat!

  53. brad says:

    We are having intermittent issues with connection of the schedule ribbon to Exchange. Is this a known issue and are we close to having a fix?

  54. Ryan Pinke says:

    Lync Room Systems have their pro’s and con’s. It is important to remember that adaptability and flexibility are key to a system that enables the end users to have more room collaboration sessions to meet requirement at hand. Arrive Systems FacePoint is the next generation video conferencing platform that integrates tightly with Lync and can be enabled for any platform you like. Simplicity and ease of use is key for high user adoption.

  55. Walter Nadeau says:

    I am currently doing a project to figure out the best way to connect my 100+ conference rooms with Lync, including HD video, audio and content sharing. We have a mix of Polycom HDX and GS, Cisco C60 and full room telepresence. My progress os far has lead me to believe that this is a very difficult nut to crack. I have done an experiment with pointing 2 Polycom GS-500 codecs at my Lync 2013 cluster, along with Lync 2013 desktop clients. The “Joining the meeting” mechanic is very simple, and users like the experience. The issues are when you are talking about 2 or 3 rooms with HD cameras, and some desktop users and the like. The video quailty in the rooms goes down, and the “active speaker” function gets confused a lot. The new SVC protocol helps some, but it is certainly not comparable to a Polycom RMX/VMR solution, or Cisco TP. So I guess my question is, is there a way to optimize the new Lync 2013 server clusters to be able to do HD video codec processing better? I feel that using my Lync 2013 servers as HD codecs wont scale well. Almost like I am using them for something they are not meant for, which is bridging multiple HD streams, example 3 Telepresence rooms all speaking to each other at once. 9 screens total = a LOT of HD codec-ing. Comments?

  56. Hugh Richardfs says:

    We have a large selection of Lync Room Systems -Come and See

  57. Anonymous says:

    The SMART Room System for Microsoft Lync is SMART’s solution for Microsoft’s Lync Room System ( http

  58. Rob Ingenthron says:

    RE: "For IT administrators, since LRS is just another Lync endpoint, it is managed the same way as Lync clients. Whereas existing VTCs require separate infrastructure, LRS is part of the Lync deployment and uses the same server infrastructure. This integrated
    manageability dramatically reduces the complexity of deployment."

    I don’t disagree with the strategic benefits of Lync in the Enterprise, and I don’t disagree with the above referenced comment regarding benefits of reducing complexity of Lync infrastructure, however, from a security and management standpoint, I very much
    disagree with the above referenced comment. Managing passwords securely is enough work for IT Admins as it is, but when a new system is introduced that requires so much manually-intensive work just to change a password on a single SRS end-point, I really question
    the commitment to security/management. In an Enterprise, it should not require physical human access to a remote site and a non-programmatic (automation) interface.

    At a company with a hundred Lync-enabled conference rooms, it could take days to get passwords changed according to company policy, and if your company policy requires that generic/resource account passwords be changed every 90 days, that becomes a huge burden
    on IT.

    I hope that in all of these marketing materials will be soon reflecting more growth and maturity on the automation side for the sake of truly helping with IT Management of Lync infrastructure.

  59. Grady says:

    Is there anyway to Brand the home screen, or add messages?

  60. Tim Mills says:

    When will the WSUS option on LRS devices work.

  61. Kevin Jeter says:

    Has anyone seen this issue.
    Remote Desktop Setting in configuration disable after a period of time. Have to either reboot or go into setting and re enable. If you know the fix please let me know. thanks

  62. Bruce Hessian says:

    While looking at the calendar, a small lock icon appears in the meeting block. and I cannot connect to the meeting. where does this come from?

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  72. MD says:

    We’ve been using Office Communicator since its’ inception and are now using its’ latest rendition lync. We’ve bundled it with our enterprise office deployment. Right now we are seriously taking a look at the Smart SRS system with dual 55" displays and
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    I have seen. Thank you for presenting this, it provides much more in-depth detail on the product offering than other sites.

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