Microsoft today launched a variety of new, promised features for Skype for Business in Office 365 to offer a complete platform for meetings, calling, video, and sharing. The application includes new features like Skype Meeting Broadcast, PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling.
Earlier this year, Microsoft had promised to launch new enterprise features in Skype. A month later in April, we received Skype for Business and later in July, three of the promised features in preview. Microsoft had said that the features would be out of preview by the end of this year and sure enough, enterprises can get all three starting December 1.
Microsoft has launched the Skype Meeting Broadcast feature which the company expects to be used for virtual town hall-style meetings as well as public webinars. This will allow a user to share a Skype meeting online for up to 10,000 people to view and attend. The broadcast will be accessible via a desktop browser or a mobile device and users will be able to participate in real-time polling via Bing Pulse and chat via Yammer.
The second noteworthy update is PSTN Conferencing. This feature will allow you to add people without Internet access to your meetings by using their landline or mobile phone. The feature will allow you to join a Skype for Business meeting in Office 365 by dialing in too.
Lastly, the new Skype includes Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling which allows you to make and receive regular phone calls on Skype for Business. Office 365 users can subscribe to Microsoft calling plans and phone numbers too. This is initially available in the US with other markets coming up soon. Features like hold, resume, forward and transfer are supported on calls by the Skype for Business client.
If you’re wondering what the pricing for the new Skype for Business subscriptions are, here’s your answer:
All these features are part of a new suite called Office 365 E5. In addition to the Skype for Business update, enterprise customers also get a new set of features.
These new features added to E5 include Delve Analytics, which uses rich dashboards to provide insights on time and relationships, Power BI, a business analytics service that enables information workers to analyze data via live data dashboards, interactive reports and visualizations, Customer Lockbox, which gives customers new approval rights, transparency and control over their data in the cloud, Advanced eDiscovery, which integrates Equivio machine learning, predictive coding and text analytics capabilities and Advanced Threat Protection, which protects against unknown malware and viruses by applying behavioral analysis.
Microsoft has stated that it has hundreds of application partners from all over the industries which are building solutions for Skype for Business. Hardware partners like Polycom RealPresence Trio are also building audio conferencing solutions for the communication app.