Last month, we announced that the new Skype for Business client for Windows desktop and the online service in Office 365 have begun rolling out. Continuing the momentum, today at the Microsoft Ignite conference, we talked about modern meetings, which require that participants in any location can see, hear and collaborate within the meeting as easily as if everyone is sitting in the same room. We announced today that later this year we will deliver the ability to broadcast Skype for Business meetings to up to 10,000 people at a time. We also showed two new features coming this summer to Skype for Business: pre-loaded meeting attachments, which speeds meeting start times by having meeting content automatically show up at the start of a call; and in-call co-authoring, which makes it easy to initiate a co-authoring session so multiple people can work together on a single document right from within a meeting.
Today, we’re also pleased to announce that Skype for Business Server is now generally available, and Office 365 and Skype for Business Server customers can now reach anyone in the entire Skype directory with Skype Directory Search.
IT pros will love the key improvements and new features of Skype for Business Server, such as support for SQL Server AlwaysOn; native video interoperability with Cisco Tandberg VTCs; and a call quality dashboard to provide richer reporting options. With the server release, we’re also delivering enhancements to the Skype Developer Platform, and have announced a public preview of our new Skype web SDK, which enables developers to build tailored experiences for the web that integrate communications (messaging, A/V, presence) directly in-line with their own content and activities.
Partners are already taking advantage of the extensibility in Skype for Business. Genesys, a market leader in customer care solutions, today announced that they are building on the Skype Developer Platform to deliver native integration with Skype for Business in their Genesys Customer Experience Platform. In addition, Event Zero, Nectar and Unify Square have plans to announce tools for IT pros that add to the built-in management and monitoring capabilities that help customers successfully plan, adopt and operate a Skype for Business communication environment. You can learn more about Skype for Business partner solutions here.
We’ve made it easy for Lync Server 2013 customers to adopt Skype for Business Server via in-place upgrade. Customers can utilize existing hardware to quickly take advantage of the new server capabilities. In addition, customers who upgrade to Skype for Business Server will be able to take advantage of future cloud enhancements such as broadcast meetings via a hybrid server and cloud approach.
Moving ahead with Skype for Business
We released the Skype for Business client for Windows desktop as part of the April Office update, and expect that even more customers will automatically upgrade from Lync to Skype for Business with the May Office update. If your organization is using Lync today and has not yet adopted the Skype for Business client, now is the time to take action to ensure your end users are aware and ready for the change. Here’s what you can do to get ready:
To best prepare for Skype for Business Server and the new innovation we’re delivering in the coming months, including broadcast meetings, get in touch with one of our global or national launch partners. These system integrators have the highest level of experience, training and commitment to the Skype for Business platform in their respective geographies, and are ready to help customers benefit from Skype for Business.