Over the last year Microsoft has been moving Skype for Business (SfB) forward in leaps and bounds. With a Windows 10 facelift, video-based screen sharing, O365 Groups integration, offline messaging and the inclusion of smart contacts list, the underlying functions are expanding at an impressive rate:
- A new look for the user interface
- Video-based screen sharing in meetings
- Offline messaging, delivered to the recipient once they appear on-line
- Pre-loading of document and attachments for meetings
- A launcher for Skype for Business directly in the 0365 interface
- Switch between devices without going on hold
- A leaner sub-system for Skype for Business 16, meaning less space for the App
- Co-author options, allowing for more real-time collaborations
- Contextual tips to help you get the most out of the Skype for Business experience
- Modern authentication methods, including ADAL and SAML for added security
- Support for your O365 Groups within the Skype for Business interface
Embedding SfB in Automotive
A SfB interface being introduced in the Volvo 90 series is a good example of where Microsoft see this technology moving, outlined in an excellent article in Tech Crunch:
The Skype integration is a way of getting around the messier parts of joining conference calls, including entering long participant pin codes, and sometimes sequential button requirements that feed you through a chain of options before you ever even get to the meeting itself. Volvo and Microsoft are clearly doing everything they can to position this as a distraction reducer, rather than the other way around….
SOFTEL has been embracing these new functions through low-level development using the UCMA/UCWA sub-systems, creating a facilities security solution which provides access/restrictions in building infrastructure, with SOFIA. Comprised of “Reception”, “Desktop”, “SOFIA Go” and a central server element, our fully-integrated solution works directly with facilities and building security elements, allowing egress and denial of access from remote staff interfaces.
Integration with the Internet of Things
The exposure of the underlying elements for SfB means we can expect to see much more in this space from service providers and application developers. Integrations with IoT devices are high on the agenda, with security authentications (ADAL/SAML) ensuring completely secure communications channels, built to industry standards.
With over 1 billion mobile app downloads so far, and 3 billion minutes of calls per day, where is Microsoft taking SfB next, and how can that benefit unified communications and contact centers? Not only can we expect an integration with Salesforce in the coming year, but the introduction of SfB Mobile on a platform level opens the door for enterprises to provide voice and video channels based on the skype framework, via SIP direct to the contact center. This will provide a much-needed alternative to the frequently buggy iteration of SIP and VoIP deployed through Android and iOS devices, providing a reliable and sturdy communications channel for contact centers.
With more integration methods arriving this year – and more providers and developers involved in the integration of Skype for Business – it’s going to be a busy year for this premium offering from Microsoft. Moving into the O365 landscape can also mean changes for your contact center, too. At SOFTEL we are SfB experts and we can help you analyze, design, implement, support and integrate SfB applications in your organization.
Contact us and we’ll guide you through what Skype for Business can do for your enterprise!