Skype for Business

A new Skype for Business look for Lync Room Systems!

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In March 2015, we announced that Microsoft Lync has been rebranded as Skype for Business, bringing the familiar and well-loved Skype experience to the workplace, combined with the trusted enterprise-grade Lync platform.

We are happy to announce that Lync Rooms Systems will be updated with the Skype for Business experience. On November 10, we are rolling out a Cumulative Update to all existing Crestron, Polycom and SMART Lync Room Systems, updating the user interface (UI) and branding to Skype for Business. The Cumulative Update will either be applied automatically, or manually, depending on the policy set by the IT admin. The update does not change the functionality, but users will see a sleeker, darker design theme, attuned to large-screen viewing.

Let’s take a look at the new user interface.

The image below shows the pre-meeting calendar UI on the console. The console, positioned at the center of the meeting room table, is used to control the meeting room experience. The design changes include a dark background theme, round icons and a round presence indicator, as well as the Skype for Business logo.

Skype for Business gets a new look 1

Pre-meeting calendar UI on the console.

The in-meeting UI of the console now also closely resembles the Skype for Business look and feel and includes buttons like Pause Video, Mute Room and New Whiteboard, specific for meetings.

Skype for Business gets a new look 2

In-meeting UI on the console.

The video gallery UI on the displays in front of the meeting room also has been updated to the Skype for Business design.

Skype for Business gets a new look 3

Dual displays in front of room with the video gallery.

The UI of presenting a PowerPoint on the display in the front of the room will not change, though also, here the video gallery on the second display gets a slightly darker background color, as shown below.

Skype for Business gets a new look 4

Dual displays in front of room, presenting PowerPoint.

The end-user education, basic meeting room use scenarios go unchanged. Meeting room organizers will continue to be able to start meetings, share content and change display modalities the same way they did before the Cumulative Update.

System administrators should note that the Admin UI under Options > Settings has undergone minimal design theme change—largely restricted to “Lync” text being changed to “Skype for Business.”

New Private settings

Ever walked past a meeting room and noticed that the Lync Room System calendar is visible through a glass barrier or door? Meeting organizers have always had the option of marking a meeting as Private in an Outlook invite, but this prevents executive administrators from being able to see the subject line. To improve this experience, we’ve added a feature in this Cumulative Update that allows the room admin to turn the room calendar subject line visibility on or off. This feature is accessed on the console in Admin mode, under Options > Settings.

Going forward

Previous Cumulative Updates added quite a number of new features, such as the ability to directly project from a PC in the room into the meeting, a redesign of the dial pad on the console, steps to add a Skype Meeting and the ability for IT admins to install anti-virus software on the Room System. In the next update, we will continue our mission to span a wider range of meeting room sizes and enable additional cameras and sound systems.

Stay tuned for the next update!

—David Groom, senior program manager for the Skype for Business team

  1. We will be evaluating LRS soon. Does this update apply to ALL “Crestron, Polycom and SMART Lync Room Systems” or do we need to keep an eye on specific models that will get this update?

    • Yes, the November 2015 Update applies to all Lync Room Systems products available from Crestron, Polycom, and SMART.

  2. What I would like to see is the ability as an admin to turn off the display of the whiteboard feature. I am getting ready to install 22 Crestron RL2 systems and all of my external displays are not interactive. It seems like it would be a simple change in the code to turn that off/on. For our customer experience, I would really like to see the “Room PC View” to be changed to “Show My PC” . Almost all of our LRS systems have no dedicated “Room PC” and use laptops that are brought to the meeting. The “Room PC View” is confusing, where ‘Show My PC’ is more general and less confusing for the end-user.
    Lastly, can the admin define an NTP server? I only see options to set time zone and the network property fields doesn’t accommodate anything for NTP.

    • We’re looking to enable a wider range of hardware peripherals for Skype for Business meeting room solutions (aka LRS) including non-touch displays. This would require modifying the UI such that it’s clear to the end-user that front-of-room displays are not touch-enabled. As for the “Room PC View” feedback, I’ll share your experience with the internal team – appreciate your observations.

  3. Hello,
    Great news, do you know if the LRS will now behave exactly like a Skype client ? Previously sharing adding content sharing escalated directly to conference mode, can the LRS share content in p2p now ?
    Is there any dedicated blog/information for LRS ?
    thank you,

    • The November Update will not change in this regard. Content sharing will be escalated to conference mode.

      All LRS-related blogs are posted to the Office Blogs site for now.

  4. Are there any legal issues with running LRS on a standard PC? Obviously a license exists for the client via KMS and I know it wouldn’t be supported as the support existed with the hardware supplier?

    • LRS is only available in an appliance form from authorized Original Equipment Manufacturers (Crestron, Polycom, and SMART Technologies).

      • Thanks David, but if i were able to get it to run on a standard PC would a standard Lync license cover this as i cannot find a EULA for the actual software.

      • Hi, David. LRS is not supported outside of the OEM appliance model described above. I’ll send you an e-mail if you have any further questions. Regards, Dave

  5. Are there any plans to redesign the video layout in the LRS? The gallery view it’s very poor at utilising the space on the screen. I’ve recently been evaluating the SMART system 65″ and 84″ where the gallery view results in a complete waste of such large and expensive panels.

    Microsoft really needs to rally up on the design aspect if they really want to be a contender in the VC/UC space. There are many new players out there with very interesting and affordable offerings.

    • We hear your feedback loud and clear, Nico! 🙂

      We are planning a major upgrade next year where we’ll be creating a consistent Skype Meeting experience across meeting space devices in the second half of 2016.

      • That’s interesting. We are testing LRS and considering buying some, but are a bit worried about the future evolutions as its hard to find some inputs or roadmap. Do you have anything you can share on this ?

      • One of the features we would like to see in the 2016 release is the ability of the second screen (in a typical 2-screen LRS setup) to be able to be configured to display content or whiteboard (instead of the usual webcam display).

  6. Can the Skype rooms present or attend a Skype Broadcast Meeting?

    • We tried out such a scenario this summer. We had someone set up a Skype Broadcast event on his laptop. Then, as presenter, he dragged a Lync Room System account into presentation mode. I was then able to control Skype Broadcast PPT navigation from the LRS console.

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