Lync Users, Welcome to Skype for Business
In 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype for more than $8.5 billion, beating out partnership or acquisition offers from Google and Facebook. It was Microsoft’s largest acquisition ever, and an uncharacterist...
In 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype for more than $8.5 billion, beating out partnership or acquisition offers from Google and Facebook. It was Microsoft’s largest acquisition ever, and an uncharacteristic move from a company that prefers to buy smaller organizations to avoid integration issues that come with large purchases.
According to a Microsoft insider, the company made a strategic choice by acquiring Skype. Microsoft’s long-term business plans included investing heavily in the IP (Internet Protocol) communications market. Purchasing Skype allows the company to benefit from Skype’s sizable user base and peer-to-peer video services. Since Microsoft products already overlap with Skype in many ways, this simplifies integration.
Specifically, Microsoft Lync was a service allowing companies to set up private networks facilitating professional communication and corporate management simultaneously. Lync included instant messaging, video conferencing, file-and screen-sharing capabilities, and other work-related features.
However, with the purchase, Microsoft replaced Lync with Skype for Business. While Lync was free, Skype for Business is a paid service.
In addition to the services offered in Lync, Skype for Business provides integration with Microsoft Office, stronger security measures, and audiovisual recording capabilities.
This article provides details regarding the additional communications, security, and productivity features of the new Skype for Business service.
- Simplified messaging: For meetings and instant messaging, commands are easy to find and implement, and messages are formatted so you can easily pinpoint the sender of each message. In addition, a new feature called “file transfer preview” allows you to view a file sent through instant messaging before you download, forward, or delete it.
- Audiovisual recording: This Skype for Business feature lets users record audio or video of meetings for future reference.
- Accessible call controls: The dial pad, depending on the type of call, remains visible for the duration of the call or can be accessed with one click.
- Emojis: Skype for Business includes the same set of emojis included in Skype for recreational users.
- Skype-inspired design: Skype for Business relies on a user interface native to Skype, rather than Lync. Lync users will recognize functions they are accustomed to, but updated security and reliability (see below).
- Skype for Business calls via desk phones: Depending on whether your desk phone is configured (must be PBX – Private Branch Exchange) to be compatible with Skype for Business, you may be able to make Skype for Business calls from your desk phone. The contact will see your number as the company’s primary phone number.
Simplified messaging and emoji’s make instant messaging more personal and navigable. Accessible call controls using desk phones for Skype for Business calls make meetings easy and convenient. Though the Skype-inspired design diverges from the traditional Lync interface, the vast number of Skype users makes it likely most Lync users are already familiar with the Skype interface.
- Encryption: Any traffic related to Microsoft Office 365, which includes Skype for Business, is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS). Those attempting to intercept Skype for Business messages, calls, or presentations will see encrypted text.
- Rate my call: This feature targets Skype for Business server administrators. At the end of each call, Skype for Business asks users to take a survey, which helps administrators compile call data for further analysis used to improve Skype for Business services.
- Sign-in logs: Skype for Business logs every time a user signs in. If there are errors signing in, the Skype for Business sign-in log will register the error, as well as the steps taken by the Skype for Business system to rectify those errors.
Skype for Business’s security measures ensure you can safely conduct calls, meetings, and conversations anywhere, and on any WiFi network. The transparency Skype for Business security features provide and the feedback sent through Rate My Call, promise high quality and security for all users.
- Tabbed Conversations: In Skype for Business, you can engage in several discussions easily accessible through conversation tabs.
- Integration with Microsoft Office: Skype for Business integrates with Microsoft Office to enhance productivity. For example, Presence reveals which users are active or in a meeting. This visibility crosses over to sending emails in Microsoft Outlook. Through Skype for Business, users access Outlook calendars which display a user’s availability in the Skype for Business interface.
- Remote Control: While on a call, users can remotely share a desktop to illustrate their points in real-time.
- Call monitor: This popular Skype feature allows users to move between the Skype for Business window and other windows while participating in a call, maximizing user productivity.
- Integration with Skype directory: Skype for Business allows users to search millions of other Skype users. Currently, this only searches Skype users, not Skype for Business users. It is also possible to search using a contact’s associated email address.
Skype for Business, like Lync, is a service meant for the workplace and productivity one of the key factors it performs well. Tabbed conversations and call monitor enable users to multitask, making the most of their workday. And integration with Microsoft Office and the Skype directory avoids wasting time spent on unnecessary scheduling conversations.
For Lync users, Skype for Business communications, security, and productivity features will change the way you collaborate on projects and conduct meetings and conversations.