What is in the new Skype for Business user client?

20 avril 2015 par Rija Raharinosy
What is in the new Skype for Business user client?

A lot of you have started to engage with Solulan asking questions about what exactly is going to change with the arrival of Skype for Business. The purpose of this post is to provide you a succinct overview of the changes in the new Lync, now re-branded Skype for Business user client. Again, this post focuses only on the client side. I will post another article focusing on the changes available on the server side.

First of all, it is important to know that you currently have the ability to download and preview the new Skype for Business client today. It is available HERE for technical evaluation until end of April 2015.

Just a note of caution, it is important to know that if you run a version of Office 2013 that you have downloaded from the Cloud (Office365 Click2Run version), you will not be able to work with the client as Click2Run Office 2013 does not support the Lync client skin update. So, what you have to do it to uninstall your current Click2Run Office 2013 version and then install a version that lets you install Office2013 with an MSI. You can find one version at the Microsoft TechNet evaluation center HERE.

 

1. New look and feel

The Skype for Business client is quite similar to the consumer version of Skype.

Contact list looks similar to the consumer version and uses the same buttons and icons (presence indicator, buttons, icons, and apps sounds are quite familiar to Skype users).

Joining a meeting is very similar to the way you would join a call with Lync 2013

There are fewer menus and flatter task hierarchy which allow you to find your controls and commands

Chat texts in bubbles and messages sent within 60 seconds are combined into one bubble.

 

2. Skype directory integration

This new feature also require Skype for Business Server 2015 and enable Skype for Business users to connect over the internet with hundreds of millions of Skype users in business to business and business to consumers scenarios. As a Skype for Business client user, you will be able to reach the Skype directory and add contacts. The same trusted security mechanisms already in place in Lync are used to encrypt both signaling and media using TLS/SRTP.

 

3. Call via Work

This is a new functionality that allow Enterprise users to make voice calls from the Skype for Business Client and requires Skype for Business Server 2015. Basically, when you place a call, you call will be routed from Skype for Business to your desktop phones. Once you answer the call on your desktop phone, the call is then directed to your destination number. Once the call recipient answers, and the call is established, Skype for Business will serve as your control panel. You will be able to manage your presence and call control from the Skype for Business client. Call via Work only applies to outbound calls.

Please note that your server admin can enable and configure Call via Work for your business. As an end user, you will have limited configuration capabilities and pretty much the only thing you will be able to do is to turn this feature on or off for your account (only once Call via Work is enabled by your server admin) and setting the PBX or the PSTN phone number that Skype for business is able to call. Please note that if the number you input is set or locked by your admin, you will not be able to make outgoing calls using this option.

 

4. Dual user experience or client roll out management

Microsoft has thought through the roll out process of Skype for Business and has included a dual user experience. Basically your IT Server admin can decide which user experience to push to the end users, either the new user experience described above or the Lync 2013 user experience released in the later version of Lync. The choice of user experience is done by the IT Server Admin through the in-band setting:

Set-CSClientPolicy – EnableSkypeUI: true

Or

Set-CSClientPolicy – EnableSkypeUI: false

The whole point of this is to enable IT Admin staff to manage change by controlling the process and timing of the new client roll-out. The default user experience depends on which version of the server you are using. The table below will provide you more information:

PLATFORM DEFAULT CLIENT
   
Skype for Business Server 2015 Skype for Business
   
Skype for Business Online Skype for Business
   
Lync Server 2013 Lync 2013
   
Lync Server 2010 Lync 2013

 

Some new features are only available in the new user experience:

FEATURE SKYPE FOR BUSINESS EXPERIENCE LYNC EXPERIENCE
     
Emoticons YES YES
     
Skype for business Search YES NO
     
Call Monitor YES NO
     
Call via Work YES NO
     
RCC NO YES
     
Rate my Call YES YES
     
Server Side conversation history YES YES
     
Skype/Lync video interoperability YES YES
     
Skype ID interoperability YES NO

 

5. Call monitor

Call Monitor enables you to move back and forth between a Skype for Business window, typically when you are actively engaged into your call and a miniature version to enable you to continue monitor call progress while you are multi-tasking.

 

6. Rate my call

Available with Skype for Business Server 2015 deployments on premise only, this feature enable your IT Server Admin to collect data on the quality of your calls, access standard reports, and export CDRs for call quality analysis. User are prompted to take a survey after completing the call.

 

7. Quick access to call controls

Dial pad access and call control has been improved. For PSTN calls, the dial pad and call control are now visible during the call.

 

8. Emoticons

It is now possible to include emoticons in your IM interactions as it is in the consumer version of Skype. Users have the options to turn on or off the emoticons. This settings is done by the user at the client level, not available at the server level.

 

Conclusion

In summary, there are a lot of changes that you can be excited about with the new Skype for Business client. It will improve upon the massive changes that Lync 2013 has been able to provide the Enterprise world with the usability of Skype that you and I have been enjoying for many years, in the consumer world.

Microsoft has done a great job merging the two worlds together and we think at Solulan that it is a great time for your organisation to review how Universal Communications can help your organisation reach the next level.

What kind of platform are you looking to work with in the near future?

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