Quite a lot of responses to my last post! Thank you to everyone for the comments.
I’d intended to discuss Tom’s AutoAssist app in today’s post. But you brought up a lot of good points – let’s address all of them and see what else we can find out!
When the User Does Not Have Lync
Jay asked about remotely connecting to user PCs which do not have Lync.
When I tested out using Lync for remote access, I also tested it on a home desktop. Why? Because I knew it did not have Lync installed. I wanted to see if the remote access would fail, or show an error, or have nothing happen…
…Or auto-install Lync Attendee.
Which is exactly what it did. Attendee auto-downloaded, just like it should, and connected to the Lync Meeting. The remote login continued just like I described last week.
However, I should point out that this test was done before I installed AutoAssist.
AutoAssist: Speed Boost for Accessing Lync-Enabled Computers
Tom’s AutoAssist application does exactly what he claimed – it automates the Meeting invitation acceptance, so you get right to requesting control of the user’s PC. Essentially, it lets you skip Steps 2 & 3 in last week’s how-to.
For an IT admin or support tech who does a lot of remote support, this is an ideal timesaver. You can download AutoAssist free at http://autoassist.thoughtstuff.co.uk/.
We tested AutoAssist in the office. And it worked great! The app runs in your taskbar, ready whenever you are. It does have one limitation though – users must be Lync contacts. Which is understandable, given the app’s nature. I tried sending a $share$ invite to one of my Lync-free computers and received “Error ID 504 (source ID 239)”.
So there’s your answer Jay. AutoAssist doesn’t like to work if the remote user does not have Lync already installed. Lync however does facilitate remote access in such a situation, by using Lync Attendee. You’ll just have to follow all the steps.
Hmmm. Maybe AutoAssist could prompt for Attendee download. Might take some federation-related configuration. Tom, what do you think?
Privileged Apps: Legitimate Obstacle
Two commenters brought up the issue of remote-controlling privileged apps. This IS an obstacle for Lync, like Shaun said. Applications like LogMeIn incorporated tools for seeking administrative permissions, facilitating work with restricted apps on user PCs. Lync does not include the same tools.
Lync can still access most applications running on standard permissions. Privileged apps are an inconsistent obstacle popping up here and there. It’s something to keep in mind…and to keep a backup remote access solution around, just in case.
Unattended Access: Snarl in Lync Remote Logins
Currently, using Lync for remote access does require someone on the other PC to accept the meeting invitation & give control. If they are not there, LogMeIn could provide Unattended Access. Lync? Not so much.
Quite frankly, this is something I didn’t test initially. But it is definitely a problem. I would say this is the weakness Lync must work around when it comes to remote access. We’ll have to see if there is a way we can automate the Lync Meetings invitation. (Hey, maybe AutoAssist could do it!)
Finally, Mike mentioned a bot he’d coded. Mike, I looked at your site, but I didn’t see this bot! Could you give us a link?
I did see some interesting Lync add-ons though. Like this: Lync Custom Status 2014. It has quite the features list – creating custom status alerts, adding personal notes, adjusting call handling options…I’ll have to pick up a copy & test it out. Go check out his blog at MikeSel.info if you like programming, Lync and how-to’s.
So it seems Lync Server is not a perfect solution for remote access & control. I did say it wasn’t 100%, but all of these topics are valid and important to keep in mind. We’re fortunate at least that Lync DOES allow for so much remote control as it is.
Plus, we have capable developers working to expand it! We appreciate your work. Please keep it up!
If you’ve created an add-on for Lync Server 2013 (remote access-related or not), please comment or email & let us know. I’d love to showcase the add-ons on the Lync Insider.