On Nov. 30, Microsoft extended the list of Office 365 features by adding the new Skype for Business voice and meetings capabilities.
Additions such as Cloud PBX, Skype Meeting Broadcast, PSTN Calling and PSTN Conferencing are now available.
Skype Meeting Broadcast allows users to broadcast a Skype for Business meeting on the Internet to an audience of 10,000 people tops. To attend, other users can use their mobile device or their desktop browser. Chat capabilities are active due to Yammer, and real-time voting happens via Bing Pulse. The Redmond-based company imagines the functionality at work in scenarios like webinars or public opinion consultations.
Skype for Business meeting in Office 365 sports PSTN Conferencing, which works great when you need to invite someone who does not have access to the Internet. It is easy to add guests by dialing their mobile numbers or landline phones. It can be helpful in any scenario where the Internet access is low or nonexistent.
Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling permits users to take and give old-school phone calls in Skype for Business.
"With PSTN Calling, Office 365 customers can also subscribe to Microsoft managed calling plans and phone numbers, starting in the U.S. with more markets coming later" Microsoft says. Using this feature, you may use phone lines for both outbound and inbound calls.
A new suite called Office 365 E5 offers more features than the Skype for Business package, such as novel safety and data analytics functions in Office 365.
• Delve Analytics, giving insight on time spent on certain tasks and business relationships, via visual dashboards.
• Power BI provides live interactive reports, data dashboards and visualizing tools to help information workers with their data analysis.
• Customer Lockbox takes care of the cloud-based data of the customers in a transparent and secure way.
• Advanced eDiscovery, with integrated Equivio machine learning, text analytics capabilities and predictive coding.
• Advanced Threat Protection, a feature that applies behavioral analysis to keep the system safe from unknown viruses and malware.
Thanks to the E5 integrated services, enterprise customers now have full access to these instruments. Microsoft brings the communication stack into Office 365 in an attempt to make it easy for companies to choose its integrated solution. Sources from Microsoft estimate that over 50 percent of enterprises pay for a number of independent conferencing solutions.
Microsoft also teamed up with hardware manufacturers to build audio solutions for conferencing.
Skype for Business services in Office 365 already sports embedded compatibility with desktop phones from companies such as the Polycom RealPresence Trio for groups and Polycom VVX.
When asked about the number of partners who are working on app solutions for the new service, Microsoft said that it is contacting "hundreds" of possible software developers.
The upgraded Office 365 features Skype for Business and can helps businesses run in a more productive fashion due to a complete platform for calling, video chatting, sharing files and meetings.
If you're wondering about the pricing, Microsoft charges $35 a month per user for the full array of features (E5 option), including unlimited conferencing. The company has more affordable packages, Ei3 and E1, which cost $20 and $8, respectively. For overseas business owners, the international calling plans cost $24 more.
With its integrated Office-Skype package, Microsoft's biggest rival is Google's Apps for Work.