Skype for Business
by Kate Smith, Director, Sales & Marketing
Today’s modern business is one of instant and ever present communication in which employees have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips. Customers expect prompt attention with answers to their questions and issues quickly. In our business, customer service is at the forefront, and I rely on technology to access resources that enable me to provide the best level of service for my customers. The Microsoft Office Suite complete with Skype for Business enables me to communicate and collaborate with my team effortlessly.
What we know today as Skype for Business originally had roots in Office Communicator 2007. Office Communicator 2007 boasted collaboration, enabling users to share documents, screen share, etc. through IM and voice. Further iterations of the software saw feature enhancements and stronger integration improvements. Office Communicator 2007 R2 hit the market in March of 2009, followed by Microsoft Lync in December of 2011, and Lync in 2012. In November 2014, Microsoft announced that Lync would be replaced with 2011’s acquisition of Skype and that Microsoft would combine functionality of Skype and Lync into one cohesive product. Microsoft then launched Skype for Business in April of 2015 and Skype for Business along with Office 2016 in September of 2015.
According to the Microsoft Skype for Business website, “with Skype for Business you can simplify your infrastructure with one platform for calling, conferring, video and sharing.” (Microsoft, 2016) Skype for Business Offers feature-rich functionality including device agnosticism, end-to-end meeting solution, cloud-based PBX for calling, and security and manageability.
The following product descriptions are pulled from the Skype for Business website.
Skype Across Devices
- Experience inspired by Skype.Get all your communication and collaboration in one place. No need for multiple apps and solutions — one client, one set of sign-in credentials. All with a familiar experience that invites people in.
- Cross-platform support.Connect to your team anywhere, and to millions of people on Skype, using Skype for Business apps on Android, iOS, Mac and Windows, in browsers, and on compatible IP Phones.
- Presence, location, contact card.Know who’s online, where they are, and how to reach them. Rich presence tells you who is available, and contact Cards appear throughout Office apps letting you communicate with anyone – from whatever you’re working on.
- Communicate within Office apps.Collaborate right within your Office documents using IM, screen share, talk or video chat. Schedule meetings and see IM history in Outlook, and start meetings from apps like Word and PowerPoint to present whatever you’re working on.
- Meeting room systems.Easily bring remote participants into meeting spaces of all sizes with Skype for Business Room Systems and Surface Hub.
Complete Meeting Solution
- One solution for every kind of meeting.Audio, video and web conferencing are combined in one user experience and a unified platform, with the ability to schedule a meeting in Outlook or start one in real time.
- Universal audio conferencing.Join over the Internet with smartphone, tablet, PC or browser, or join via telephone.
- Multi-party HD video.Make video a more natural part of everyday business and collaboration, with 1080p resolution, conference sizes of up to 250 participants, and up to 6 people shown live simultaneously.
- Content sharing.Focus on the things you're doing together, even when you’re far apart, with integrated real-time co-authoring, desktop sharing, application sharing, and PowerPoint presentations.
- Expand your reach.Include anyone in a collaborative meeting, even if they are not a Skype for Business user, with anonymous access on a browser or smartphone, and reach thousands in webinar and town-hall style meetings with Meeting Broadcast.
Modern Voice with Cloud PBX
- Anywhere access.Make, receive, and transfer business calls in the office, at home, or on the road, using compatible IP phones, mobile phones, tablets, and PCs.
- Rich calling features.Easily transition from your old phone system to Skype for Business with the voice features you use every day and some you’ve always wished you had. Answer, transfer, hold, and resume with a touch. Make and take calls on behalf of others. Dial-by-name.
And instantly transform a basic call into a collaborative session with text, video, and desktop sharing.
- Calling plans from Microsoft.Take advantage of local and international calling delivered directly from Office 365. Use existing numbers with number porting, or get new ones easily and quickly.
- Cloud connectivity.Connect your existing phone lines and telco operator calling plans to Office 365, and let Cloud PBX users easily call users still on traditional PBX systems.
Global Scale, Security and Manageability
- Authentication and encryption.Rest easy knowing all your communications are secured, with signaling and media encrypted by default. Choose the right level of authentication with Active Directory Authentication Library support, and manage mobile access with Microsoft Intune integration.
- Worldwide reach.Provide services to your users from Office 365 datacenters around the globe.
- End-to-end compliance.Ensure regulatory compliance with built-in security, encryption, archiving, and call detail records.
- Consolidated management.Increase agility and consolidate management with rapid provisioning, reporting and diagnostics of voice and meeting services in Office 365.
Skype for Business is licensed through a variety of options; as a standalone SKU or as part of Office 365 plans. The plan comparison can be found here.
Microsoft. (2016, March 8). Skype for Business. Retrieved from https://products.office.com/en-us/skype-for-business/online-meetings
About the Author
Kate Smith, SecurElement’s Director, Sales & Marketing is responsible for SecurElement’s overall sales and marketing strategy as well as ongoing partner relationships with organizations such as Microsoft, Cisco, Barracuda and many others.