Last November Microsoft announced that the next version of Microsoft® Lync® would become Skype for Business. Early in March the company also announced that a new client, server and online service would become generally available to business users in April. With the new roll out coming soon, you may still be asking, what exactly is Skype for Business?
Skype for Business is a unified business communications solution that will merge Skype’s familiar interface with Lync’s enterprise capabilities. The software delivers an expanded feature set and the enterprise-grade security that Lync users have come to expect. The software is built right into Microsoft Office® so the following features are easy to access from different Office applications:
Instant Messaging: Just like the previous version of Lync, Skype for Business features a list of contacts integrated from a user’s Microsoft Outlook ®. This list of contacts has an aesthetic blend of Skype’s signature blue icons and Microsoft’s simple clean lines, packaged together to make the software easy to navigate.
Users have the ability to see who’s available for communication through a presence feature on the contact list. Users’ statuses will change based on their availability in their Outlook calendar. They can also change their availability manually.
Through IM, users can add additional members to a chat, transition video and audio calling and transfer files to make sure the collaboration is as successful as possible.
Video and Audio Calling: As mentioned previously, Microsoft integrated Skype’s familiar interface into their new program. Right from the contact list or contact’s information in other Office applications like Outlook, users can access one-click video or audio calling by hovering over a contact’s name where they will see Skype’s familiar calling buttons.
A feature sure to be popular with users is Call Monitor. With Call Monitor, users can move back and forth between a full Skype for Business window and compact version of the call that lets the user monitor call progress.
File Transfer: Lync has always had a file transfer ability, but now with Skype for Business, the process is much easier. Instead of going through a menu inside the IM chat window to attach a file, users can now simply drag and drop the file into the chat window. A preview of the file’s title, type and size is available before accepting the download.
Skype for Business is the next chapter in unified communications, enabling collaboration for enterprises all over the world. A technical preview is now available for IT teams to start planning for the upgrade deployment. To learn more about Skype for Business and how it can benefit your company, click here.
Photos courtesy of Microsoft.
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