Microsoft’s Skype for Business preview program now gets a set of three new features which adds more usability to the service. The Redmond giant earlier rebranded its Lync service as Skype for Business, essentially to allow meetings on a large scale meetings and add better functionality to Skype for Business with traditional phone networks. With the launch of these three new preview programs, Microsoft is aiming at making the service much more efficient for enterprise use when it finally launches later this year.
First up, we have the Skype Meeting Broadcast, which allows large-scale meetings possible of up to 10,000 people. While those among who are not directly participating can stream these meetings on their respective web browsers, without the need of any additional plug-ins. The service essentially makes it possible to have town hall kind of meetings or huge public webinars, making it possible to communicate with a large number of people.
Next up, the new update also brings along services specially made to work with traditional telephones. The new PSTN Conferencing feature allows participants of a Skype for Business meeting to join in using their landline or cell phones. Users can also add others people to this service by dialling out.
“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. We can’t wait for you to try them,” said Zig Serafin, corporate vice president for the Skype for Business team.
Finally, the company also announced ‘Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling’ feature that gives users the ability to make and receive traditional calls within the service itself. Users can also manage these calls with features like hold, resume, forward and transfer. This feature is inspired by the enterprise voice tech available in Lync Server, which runs on Azure, though this is the first time the feature has been rolled out to Cloud.
Technical previews have already been launched starting July 1 for the trio of services. Users with a subscription to Office 365 or Skype for Business Plan 2 can participate in these services, while General Availability is expected later this year.
Skype Meeting Broadcast Preview is now available worldwide, while Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing previews are currently only available in the US. In addition, companies using Skype for Business will also be deliver direct connections to Office 365 Skype for Business customers later this year via Azure Express Route for Office 365.