This week Microsoft launched a preview of Skype for Business with a clear message: this is just the beginning. Microsoft is preparing for the future of “smart living” with the idea that Skype will be available on any device, anywhere, and users will be able to share date, translate calls and have two-way annotated meetings.
Skype for Business will unify Lync and Skype: according to Microsoft “over 100 million people now use Microsoft Lync to communicate for work, with 79 percent of U.S. enterprises currently using or planning to deploy Lync for telephony.” Combine that with Skype’s 50 billion minutes of traffic every month, and Skype for Business will surely become the preferred choice for business-to-business and business-to-consumer communications.
Through this collaboration users will be able to place calls and start conferences over old school landline connections with a traditional phone number. This is great news; previously this functionality would require businesses to have a Lync Server set-up and pay a separate PTSN service from a third-party. Microsoft is now working with Vodafone (and other companies) to make the transitions between VoIP and landline calls easier in Office 365.
Lync Room Systems is also getting an update to become Skype Room Systems, an initiative to supplement physical meeting spaces with Skype technology. Skype for Business will integrate all of Lync’s features into a Skype-style interface, which will allow Lync users to connect to anyone using a Skype user name. All of the productivity-boosting communication tools will still be available and enhanced.
If your business isn’t using Office 365 currently, now is the time to start thinking about incorporating it into your company. Earlier this week Microsoft unveiled the technical preview of the Skype for Business client, which gives customers an opportunity to trial Skype for Business and begin preparing for deployment. If you have any questions about Office 365, or are interested in Skype for Business (the new service will begin rolling out next month), get in touch today for more information about how we can help you improve your business communication services with Office 365.
360ict provides managed IT services and support for SMEs in central London and the south-east, including London Victoria, Euston, Croydon and Bromley. For more advice on gaining competitive advantage as a mid-sized company, give us a call on 0208 663 4000 or head to our website.