Earlier this year, 'Skype for Business' launched in preview form along with a preview version of 'Office 2016'. Microsoft has been wise to offer free technical previews to eager consumers to help mold and improve its software before it is available for purchase. Today, Microsoft has announced another technical preview of the communication tool available to Office 365 enterprise users..
The software will be available to those that are eligible and will have expanded features that are listed below.
- 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.
Those eligible will be able to select some or all of the features listed above to trial. For now, pricing and availability are unknown, but Microsoft intends to make the service officially available by the end of the year.