As early as 2011, Microsoft announced its intent to merge Lync with MS Skype. Today, Office 365 Enterprise users (don’t have Enterprise? That’s ok, keep reading) can download the result of Microsoft’s efforts for unified communications with the new Skype for Business services.
In terms of efficiency, this marks a leap forward for businesses that bank on Office 365 to improve internal operations and communications by enabling people “to connect with one another across all forms of human expression,” shares Zig Serafin, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President.
With Skype for Businesses in place, users are set to enjoy the following advantages:
- Familiarity—following the same look and feel of the popular service, users can enjoy the familiar and intuitive interface that lends itself to ease of use and seamless adoption.
- Expanded Reach—users now have voice and video access throughout the entire Skype network.
- Improved Service—Skype for Business improves on existing Lync features, doubling the functionality of the service and ensuring that no feature will be lost.
- Skype Meeting Broadcast allows users to host virtual meetings—from quick powwows to major town halls. Additional features include integration with Bing Pulse and Yammer, to encourage users to engage and allow for real-time, dynamic feedback.
- PSTN Conferencing allows Skype for Business attendees to access meetings simply by dialing in via landline or mobile, regardless of whether they have internet access.
- Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling allows users to use traditional call features with additional ones such as hold, resume, forward and transfer.
“With these new services, we will bring traditional calling and conferencing into the new era of workplace communications, and also add an entirely new way of communicating at much higher scale with much greater flexibility over the Internet,” Serafin adds.
Also in the pipeline are Microsoft’s plans to provide direct connectivity support through Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365, as well as a slew of fully functional services that will add more functionality for the service.
Ready to try it out?
If you’re a current Lync Server customer, you can simply upgrade to the new Skype for Business Server—no additional hardware requirements needed.
If you’re an existing Office 365 user, note that you’ll need an Office 365 enterprise plan or Skype for Business Plan 2.
Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about Skype for Business or other communication / collaboration solutions.