Preview New Skype for Business Features in Office 365

Written by Shawn Lyles

July 6, 2015

Preview New Skype for Business Features in Office 365skype for business preview

I use Skype for Business daily, communicating with co-workers, customers and potential customers, whenever the need to reach out may arise. Skype for Business allows for the productivity that Microsoft has envisioned for their products and services.

On July 1st, Microsoft released new Skype for Business features in Office 365 for preview. At the moment the functionality is very basic, primarily just dial tone.

Available now, Office 365 enterprise customers can register for these 3 different previews:

Skype Meeting Broadcast: Eligible Office 365 customers worldwide are able to broadcast Skype for Business meetings on the internet for up to 10,000 people, who can attend in a browser on nearly any device. Skype Meeting Broadcast is intended to make it easy to host large virtual meetings that can imitate “Massive Conference” type meetings and public webinars. The preview includes integration with Bing Pulse, for real-time polling and sentiment tracking. Yammer is also included to enable attendee dialogue during your broadcasting. Skype Meeting Broadcast preview is available to customers with an Office 365 enterprise plan (E1 or E3).

PSTN Conferencing: Customers in the United States will be able to join a Skype for Business meeting via Office 365 by dialing in with either a landline or mobile phone.

The dial-in capability is in addition to the single touch join options on PC, smartphone and browsers, which allows people to join an online meeting in places with no Internet access. PSTN Conferencing in Office 365 will also allow people to add others to a meeting by dialing out. PSTN Conferencing is available to Office 365 enterprise plans (E1 or E3).

Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling: Also available in preview to Office 365 customers in the United States, this feature provides people with the ability to make and receive phone calls in their Skype for Business client, and manage the calls with features like hold, resume, forward and transfer. This preview is built on Microsoft’s proven enterprise voice technology that is available in Lync Server and Skype for Business Server.

Later in 2015, Microsoft will ship their Cloud PBX for customers worldwide, with a configuration option that will allow customers to use existing on-premises phone lines for inbound and outbound calling. Cloud PBX with PSTN Conferencing is available to Office 365 enterprise plans (E1 or E3).

Later in 2015, Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 will incorporate Microsoft’s strategic partners (AT&T, BT, Colt, Equinix, Level 3 Communications, Orange Business Services, TATA Communications, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone) and deliver direct connections to Office 365 Skype for Business. ExpressRoute will enable Office 365 customers to create private connections between Microsoft datacenters and their premises. Additional data privacy and dedicated connectivity will offer a more predictable network performance and the ability to better manage network availability.

A demonstration of the Skype Meeting Broadcast experience is available on the Office Mechanics YouTube Channel.

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