Microsoft has unveiled a number of announcements for their Skype for Business Online offering, mostly revolved around conference calls and online meetings. Many of these new features are currently in production for thousands of Office 365 customers and Microsoft is ready to expand those capabilities outside of the U.S. and offer them to customers around the world.
The first announcement is an expansion of the PTSN Conference service, adding 17 more countries for a total of 32 countries total. This service allows business customers to simplify their conference-call in service, allowing for local numbers to be routed from more than 60 countries. This will allow companies to easily setup international meetings without a ton of additional costs.
The next was aimed at customers who want to bring over their existing phone lines into their Office 365 environment with the new Cloud Connector Edition of Skype for Business. This product will seamlessly connect existing phone lines and numbers to Office 365 with optimized, pre-configured virtual machine images. This will allow Office 365 users to get the same flexibility in carrier calling choice as on premise Skype for Business customers currently enjoy.
Also, starting in May, Microsoft will be offering a preview of Skype for Business PSTN Calling services in the UK, where users will be able to trial acquiring and assigning numbers, calls, voicemail, and other features. This will allow UK Office 365 business customers to preview having their entire communications service managed by Microsoft and integrated through Office 365.
Microsoft also announced Project Rigel, their new goal at bringing the rich online meeting experience to the standard conference room, discussed here.