How Microsoft’s latest tech focus could improve your meetings

Even though Skype is a widely popular conferencing and communications tool among consumers, it hasn’t impacted the business world quite the same. Despite Microsoft’s 8.5-billion-dollar acquisition of the service in 2011, and the rebranding of their corporate telephony service from Lync to Skype for Business, many companies haven’t made the leap.

That may be about to change, thanks to the latest update Microsoft will be rolling out for Skype for Business. At the Microsoft Convergence 2015 in Barcelona, the company Spain revealed that Skype for Business will receive a bevy of enterprise calling features that have been sorely needed.

What Features Will the Update Introduce?

The latest version of Skype for Business will be rolled out as part of Microsoft’s enterprise office suite, Office 365 E5. The update will allow businesses to make the jump to Skype for Business, replacing their traditional phone service completely with the online service. In addition to providing all the benefits of an online-based service, the new version will cover traditional calling features offered by the existing phone hardware.

For some, making the leap to a cloud-based phone system seems like a scary prospect. However, once you learn how online phone systems work it’s easy to see the myriad of benefits that come from modernizing your go-to communications system. Not only will you enjoy much lower overhead expenses and operating costs, but you can increase the capabilities of what you can do with the system and how many users can tap in.

Broadcast Entire Meetings

The new features coming to Skype for Business will allow users to broadcast their meetings to a variety of clients, employees and customers all through a single platform. The new update will introduce support for backend and existing phone hardware along with PSTN conferencing devices — as previously mentioned — which means people can tap into an ongoing meeting from a landline or mobile phone. This is extremely important, as not everyone has made the leap to the cloud.

Zig Serafin, the Corporate Vice President of Skype for Business, believes that the new features will encourage businesses to finally give up their traditional phone service.

“Our goal here,” Serafin says, “is to modernize workplace communications, and help companies move off multiple systems and onto one where calls, video, charts and other content sharing are all possible regardless of the device you’re on.”

Streamline Channels

The update will introduce more features than integration with traditional phone services. Users will be able to broadcast meetings and communications via several channels including voice, video and screen sharing all through a single link — the user merely needs to share the related link and everyone can tap in. Skype Meeting Broadcast can support up to 10 thousand participants at a time, all of whom can be connected to the stream from a variety of devices including traditional landline and mobile phones, smartphones, PCs, tablets and more.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the update is the co-authoring support that will be introduced via Skype for Business. As with Google’s online office suite, meeting participants will be able to share documents and edit them simultaneously. This feature allows users to keep notes in real time while the meeting is ongoing, and collaborate on projects remotely as a team.

In a time where technology is constantly evolving, corporate communications systems and tools should do the same. Sadly, there hasn’t been much innovation in the field until now. Microsoft is taking things a step further with their Skype for Business service, and opening up many more possibilities for their customers in the process.

Image by Startup Stock Photos



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