Lync is now Skype for Business

Skype for BusinessSkype certainly has name recognition.  Since its inception in 2003, it has grown to a community of over 300 million. With so many users that stay in touch with family and friends through Skype, the addition of Skype for Business will bring anywhere – anytime communications to your company.  Add ease of communications to a powerful business platform and you have Skype for Business.  It gives a robust, enterprise-class experience.  Skype for Business has the Lync features you love with some great new additions!

Content and graphics excerpted from Microsoft’s Office Support site.

  • New look and feel
  • Call via Work
  • Skype directory integration
  • Dual user experience
  • Call Monitor
  • Rate My Call
  • Quick access to call controls
  • Emoticons

New look and feel

If you’re a regular user of the commercial version of Skype, then Skype for Business will seem very familiar: the Contacts list, presence indicators, buttons and icons, and even the app sounds should make you feel right at home. Learn more.

Skype for Business Contacts listOf course, all the essential Lync features are still there—like the Quick Actions buttons, which let you IM or call a contact (and more) with just one click or tap.

Contact quick actions: IM, audio, video, contact card, and moreIn the Skype Meeting window, the simplified arrangement of controls and menus makes it easy to find the command you need. In the conversation window, chat text is formatted so you can easily see who’s talking, and tabbed conversations allow you to keep track of several discussions at once.

IM window with two conversations, and meeting window with Present menuIf you’ve ever had someone send you a file during an IM conversation, then file transfer preview is another feature of the new Skype for Business look and feel you’ll appreciate. When someone sends you a file, select Download in the IM window to update the file’s icon, or right-click or tap and hold to forward, preview, or delete it.

Preview a file sent to you during an IM conversation

Call via Work

Important   This feature is available only if your organization has Skype for Business Server 2015.

Call via Work allows enterprise users to make voice calls from the Skype for Business client. When a user places a voice call, it is routed from Skype for Business to the originator’s desktop phone. Once the originator answers the phone, the call is then directed to the destination number. The call recipient answers, and the call is established with Skype for Business serving as the control panel. The originator can manage their presence and call controls from Skype for Business. (Call via Work can only be used for outbound calls.)

Diagram of the call via work process

Server admins enable and configure Call via Work for the enterprise. End users have limited configuration capabilities, which include turning the feature on or off for their individual account (once Call via Work is enabled at the enterprise level) and setting the PBX or PSTN phone number that Skype for Business should call. If the number has been set and locked by the administrator, the call outgoing call options will be unavailable to the end user.

Screen shot of the Call Handling dialog with the Outgoing Calls section highlighted

Skype directory integration

Important   This feature is available only if your organization has Skype for Business Server 2015.

Skype for Business users can connect over the Internet with hundreds of millions of Skype users in business-to-business and business-to-consumer scenarios. From the Skype for Business client, users can search the Skype directory and add contacts. Audio and video quality are improved through the use of the SILK codec that Skype already uses. The same trusted security mechanisms already in place for Lync are used to encrypt both signaling and media using TLS/SRTP; firewall traversal is handled through STUN, TURN, and ICE protocols. (For more information about ports and protocols, see Ports and protocols for internal servers in Lync Server 2013.

Call Monitor

Call Monitor is a popular Skype feature that’s now available in Skype for Business. With Call Monitor, you can move back and forth between a full Skype for Business window, for those times when you’re actively participating in the call, and a compact version that lets you continue to monitor call progress—and mute or end the call—while focusing on other tasks.

The compact Call Monitor window appears during an audio or video call whenever the main conversation window is minimized. To show the full conversation window again, simply double-click or double-tap the Call Monitor.

Screen shots of both full Skype for Business windows and minimized window

Rate My Call

The Rate My Call feature lets Skype for Business Server 2015 administrators collect call data, access standard reports, and export raw data for further analysis. This feature is available for on-premises deployments only. Users are prompted to take a survey after completing a call.

Screen shot of the call quality rating dialog

Quick access to call controls

Access to the dial pad and call controls is much improved. For public switched telephone network (PSTN) calls, the dial-pad and call controls remain visible throughout the call. For non-PSTN calls, the dial-pad and call controls are accessible with one click.

Comparison of call controls in PTSN and non-PTSN calls

Emoticons

Skype for Business now includes the same set of emoticons found in the consumer version of Skype. You can turn off emoticons in Skype for Business by going to Options > IM. No server setting is available.

Screen shot showing available emoticons and the control for turning them on and off

About Mary

Mary is the CEO of LAN Systems. She is an electrical engineer who feels her greatest strength is the ability to connect with people. LAN Systems provides IT managed services and solutions to growing companies and non-profit organizations. You can contact Mary at mary@lansystems.com.

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