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Skype for Business, so much more than video chat


So most people know of Skype but how can it be used within business? Skype for Business is an application within the Office 365 suite which allows video/voice chat, conferencing, instant messaging, online meetings, presence and much more.

What many people might not be aware of is that you can also use Skype for Business Cloud PBX which can replace a traditional business phone system. Skype for Business integrates seamlessly with other apps in the Office suite such as setting up online meetings, live presence status and click to dial in Outlook.

So what are the key features?

  • Communicate with individuals or groups of people from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Screen sharing facilities and online meetings.
  • Integration with other Office 365 products.
  • Cross platform Skype apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and more.
  • Web application for clientless online meetings.

Online Meetings

Online meetings allow users to schedule audio or video meetings with up to 250 users. Meeting organisers can then use the screen sharing and file transfer features to either present with no interaction or to collaborate and interact with other meeting participants.

Meeting participants who are not skype for business customers can join the meetings using the web app which uses a small browser plugin.

Scheduling of online meetings is done through Outlook client or the Outlook web app which automatically sends calendar invites as well as a URL to join the meeting. The process is almost identical to setting up a standard Outlook meeting request except you click the Skype for Business meeting button in the ribbon instead.

Meeting organisers can record online meetings to be played back at a later date using the recording manager. These recordings are saved locally by default and do not expire, however all other meeting media such as shared documents will expire after 15 days.

Cloud PBX

Cloud PBX is Microsoft’s hosted phone system which allows businesses to have all the benefits of a cloud based phone system with the added benefit of seamless integration to existing Office applications. Users can still have desk phones but can also make and receive calls using desktop client and mobile applications while in and out of the office.

Key benefits vs traditional phone system:

  1. Hosted in cloud so no need for hardware and the associated maintenance costs.
  2. Always updated automatically with latest features.
  3. Can be used anywhere in the world if there is an internet connection.
  4. Integrates seamlessly with many other applications.
  5. Easily scalable as your business grows.

So what is the verdict?

Microsoft are constantly updating the features for Skype for Business and expanding the Office 365 portfolio. With more than 1.2 billion people using Microsoft Office it’s hard for businesses of any size to ignore the benefits that Skype for Business integration could provide.

If you’re interested in finding out how your business could benefit from Skype for Business, get in contact with our experienced Infrastructure team who will be able to advise you on any of the Office 365 applications.

Author: David Johnston, 24 April

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