Budget airline Jetstar was one of the first Australian companies to upgrade to the third generation of Microsoft's unified communications product, Lync.
Jetstar said today it would upgrade about 500 staff from the previous Office Communications Server (OCS) to Lync to "untether [them] from the desk phone".
"Desk phones, and their extension numbers, have been an anchor that has restricted true mobility," Jetstar chief information officer Stephen Tame said.
Microsoft announced general availability of Lync today after going into beta about a month ago.
Boxed versions would be available from December 1 while a hosted version would be incorporated into Office 365 – a "cloud" product due to launch in Australia through Telstra T-Suite next year.
Lync was the third generation of Microsoft unified communications; the first two were Live Communications Server (LCS) and Office Communications Server (OCS).
Microsoft Australia's Lync marketing manager Jaron Cohen declined to provide statistics on the size of the OCS user base in Australia.
Dimension Data's general manager of Microsoft solutions Brian Walshe told iTnews he expected the "large installed base" of OCS to upgrade.
"Everyone with Software Assurance will look to upgrade to Lync," he said.
In addition to Jetstar, it was understood that there were at least two more local customers piloting Lync: one unnamed financial services firm that was part of the official Microsoft beta (and may also be serviced by partner Dimension Data) and a second unnamed firm trialling the system through Dimension Data.
Lync differs from previous versions of Microsoft's unified communications architecture because it includes more sophisticated enterprise telephony and voice functions and streamlined management tools.
"With Lync, we've reached an additional level [of functionality] one needs to replace an IP or circuit-switched PBX," Cohen said.
"It's always been part of our vision. We made it very clear that it would take us three versions of the software to get to the point we could replace a PBX in an organisation.
"We started with LCS, added conferencing and basic voice telephony features in OCS and we're now delivering a PBX replacement platform with Lync."
Walshe said that "hardcore telephony" inclusions in Lync such as call admission control and remote site survivability had "filled out the telephony side" of the product.
"The hardcore telephony bits were really where OCS was lacking," he said.
Walshe was excited by the potential of Lync. He said it allowed several of his staff to work on a tender document concurrently and to communicate with each other on edits from within a single application.