How Skype for Business can help you improve collaboration

Thought Leadership on Managed IT Services presented by SecurElement Infrastructure Solutions.

In today’s business world, employees have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips all the time. At the same time, customers expect prompt answers to their questions and issues. In our business, customer service is at the forefront, and I rely on technology to access resources that enable me to provide the best level of service. The Microsoft Office suite, complete with Skype for Business, enables me to communicate and collaborate with my team effortlessly.

What we know today as Skype for Business originally had roots in Office Communicator 2007. Office Communicator 2007 boasted collaboration, enabling users to share documents, screens and more through IM and voice. Further iterations of the software saw feature enhancements and stronger integration improvements. Office Communicator 2007 R2 hit the market in March of 2009, followed by Microsoft Lync in December of 2011, and Lync in 2012. In November 2014, Microsoft announced that it would combine the functionality of Skype and Lync into one cohesive product. Microsoft then launched Skype for Business in April of 2015, and Skype for Business along with Office 2016 in September of 2015.

According to the Microsoft Skype for Business website, “with Skype for Business, you can simplify your infrastructure with one platform for calling, conferring, video and sharing.” Skype for Business offers feature-rich functionality, including device agnosticism, end-to-end meeting solution, cloud-based PBX for calling, and security and manageability.

The following description is pulled from the Microsoft Skype for Business website.

Skype across devices

  • Experience inspired by Skype. Get all your communication and collaboration in one place. No need for multiple apps and solutions — one client, one set of sign-in credentials. All with a familiar experience that invites people in.
  • Cross-platform support. Connect to your team anywhere, and to millions of people on Skype, using Skype for Business apps on Android, iOS, Mac and Windows, in browsers, and on compatible IP phones.
  • Presence, location, contact card. Know who’s online, where they are, and how to reach them. Rich presence tells you who is available, and contact cards appear throughout Office apps, letting you communicate with anyone – from whatever you’re working on.
  • Communicate within Office apps. Collaborate right within your Office documents using IM, screen share, talk or video chat. Schedule meetings and see IM history in Outlook, and start meetings from apps like Word and PowerPoint to present whatever you’re working on.
  • Meeting room systems. Easily bring remote participants into meeting spaces of all sizes with Skype for Business Room Systems and Surface Hub.

Complete meeting solution

  • One solution for every kind of meeting. Audio, video and web conferencing are combined in one user experience and a unified platform, with the ability to schedule a meeting in Outlook or start one in real time.
  • Universal audio conferencing. Join over the internet with smartphone, tablet, PC or browser, or join via telephone.
  • Multi-party HD video. Make video a more natural part of everyday business and collaboration, with 1080p resolution, conference sizes of up to 250 participants, and up to six people shown live simultaneously.
  • Content sharing. Focus on the things you’re doing together, even when you’re far apart, with integrated real-time co-authoring, desktop sharing, application sharing, and PowerPoint presentations.
  • Expand your reach. Include anyone in a collaborative meeting, even if they are not a Skype for Business user, with anonymous access on a browser or smartphone, and reach thousands in webinar and town-hall style meetings with Meeting Broadcast.

Modern voice with cloud PBX

  • Access anywhere. Make, receive and transfer business calls in the office, at home or on the road, using compatible IP phones, mobile phones, tablets and PCs.
  • Rich calling features. Easily transition from your old phone system to Skype for Business with the voice features you use every day – and some you’ve always wished you had. Answer, transfer, hold and resume with a touch. Make and take calls on behalf of others. Instantly transform a basic call into a collaborative session with text, video and desktop sharing.
  • Calling plans from Microsoft. Take advantage of local and international calling delivered directly from Office 365. Use existing numbers with number porting, or get new ones easily and quickly.
  • Cloud connectivity. Connect your existing phone lines and telco operator calling plans to Office 365, and let Cloud PBX users easily call users who are still on traditional PBX systems.

Global scale, security and manageability

  • Authentication and encryption. Rest easy knowing all your communications are secured, with signaling and media encrypted by default. Choose the right level of authentication with Active Directory Authentication Library support, and manage mobile access with Microsoft Intune integration.
  • Worldwide reach. Provide services to your users from Office 365 data centers around the globe.
  • End-to-end compliance. Ensure regulatory compliance with built-in security, encryption, archiving and call detail records.
  • Consolidated management. Increase agility and consolidate management with rapid provisioning, reporting and diagnostics of voice and meeting services in Office 365.

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