Going with the idea of what’s new, this one isn’t so new. We’ve had Group Chat since Office Communications Server 2007 R2. In both OCS 2007 R2 and Lync, Group Chat was difficult to setup, somewhat painful to administer and lastly, it had a completely separate client which kept it from being widely adopted.
In Lync 2013, Group Chat has changed to Persistent Chat. Biggest thing is that no longer do you have a separate client. It is integrated into the Lync 2013 client as you can see here:
The next great aspect of Persistent Chat is that all of the administration has been brought into the Lync Control Panel. No longer do you have to worry about command line or a separate web site to create rooms.
Organizations would be wise to pay attention to Persistent Chat. The ability to have a recording of all of the IM’s is great for brainstorming and other communications. Almost every one of our clients could utilize Persistent Chat and find it useful, even if it is just to let their staff know when the burritos arrive each morning.
Adam Ball, PEI