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Technical preview for Skype for Business has arrived

By Shannon Williams
Thu 2 Jul 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Microsoft has announced the technical preview for Skype for Business is now available. 

The availability of the preview means Office 365 enterprise customers can now register to preview Skype Meeting Broadcast, PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling.

“These new capabilities will enhance the existing Skype for Business experience, and allow us to offer a complete, enterprise-grade communications solution at global scale as part of Office 365,” Zig Serafin, corporate vice president for the Skype for Business team, writes in a company blog post.

Serafin says in addition to these previews, Microsoft will deliver direct connections to Office 365 Skype for Business customers later this year through Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365.

“ExpressRoute enables customers to create private connections between their premises and Microsoft datacenters, and offers more predictable network performance, the ability to better manage network availability, the reliability that comes with dedicated connectivity and additional data privacy,” he says.

“Office 365 is the world’s cloud for productivity. Through these investments, we are making complete, enterprise-grade communications an integral part of Office 365,” Serafin says. “In doing so, we’re enabling people to connect with one another across all forms of human expression—verbal, written, visual and emotional.”

Preview details:

•    Skype Meeting Broadcast, available to eligible Office 365 customers worldwide, enables broadcast of a Skype for Business meeting on the Internet to up to 10,000 people, who can attend in a browser on nearly any device. Skype Meeting Broadcast makes it easy to host large virtual meetings like internal “Town Hall” style meetings and public webinars. The preview includes integration with Bing Pulse, for real-time polling and sentiment tracking, and Yammer, to enable attendee dialogue during the broadcast. •    PSTN Conferencing, available in preview to Office 365 customers in the U.S., allows people invited to a Skype for Business meeting in Office 365 to join the meeting by dialing in using a landline or mobile phone. This traditional dial-in capability is in addition to simple, single touch join options on PC, smartphone and browser, and allows people to join an online meeting even in places with no Internet access. PSTN Conferencing in Office 365 will also allow people to add others to a meeting by dialing out. •    Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling, also available in preview to Office 365 customers in the U.S., provides people the ability to make and receive traditional phone calls in their Skype for Business client, and manage these calls with features like hold, resume, forward and transfer. This preview is built on the proven enterprise voice technology available in Lync Server and Skype for Business Server. Later this year, we will ship Cloud PBX for customers worldwide, with a configuration option for customers to use existing on-premises phone lines for inbound and outbound calling.

“With these new services, we will bring traditional calling and conferencing into the new era of workplace communications, and also add an entirely new way of communicating at much higher scale with much greater flexibility over the Internet,” Serafin says. “We can’t wait for you to try them.”

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