Beth Schultz
Beth Schultz is editor of No Jitter and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect. Beth has more than two decades of...
Read Full Bio >>

Beth Schultz | March 27, 2017 |


Microsoft, Partners Extend Skype for Business

Microsoft, Partners Extend Skype for Business Skype for Business Online gets new voice calling, call analytics, and authentication capabilities, and more.

Skype for Business Online gets new voice calling, call analytics, and authentication capabilities, and more.

With Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017 as the backdrop and an eye on advancing its "goal of putting communication at the heart of productivity with Skype," Microsoft today unveiled several enhancements and partner solutions for Skype for Business in Office 365.

The enhancements and solutions fall into several areas, including improved voice calling and meeting room experiences, as Ron Markezich, a corporate VP for Office 365 and Enterprise Connect keynoter, outlined in blog post. As a platform for meetings, video, and voice, Skype for Business is core to accelerating "how teams and people build, create or produce, whether it be documents or ideas." And these latest developments "drive greater productivity and simplified management" within Office 365 as well as for on-premises deployments, he wrote.

Internal Developments
For improved routing of incoming voice calls, Microsoft has announced availability of familiar advanced calling features for Skype for Business Cloud PBX -- auto attendant and call queues. These two new features are the latest in a series of voice-related moves Microsoft has made over the past six months, Markezich noted, specifically calling out improvements made to PSTN Conferencing and PSTN Calling, which the company made available in early 2016.

In efforts to create a "complete, enterprise-grade communications solution" in Office 365, Microsoft has delivered iOS CallKit integration and the Skype for Business client for Mac. It's also expanded PSTN Conferencing to more than 90 countries with dial-out to 180 countries, and extended PSTN Calling to France, Spain, and the U.K., with preview currently available in the Netherlands. Additionally, it is supporting connectivity between on-premises and cloud deployments via the Skype for Business Server Cloud Connector edition (see, "Looking at Cloud Connector for Hybrid Skype for Business").

For improved visibility for call support, Microsoft today introduced a preview of Skype for Business Online Call Analytics. From this new dashboard in the Office 365 admin console, IT administrators will be able to spot and address network, headset, and other issues users might have with their calls, Markezich wrote. Developed in response to customer requests for increased visibility into calling data, consolidated into a single system, the Call Analytics dashboard delivers real-time telemetry data IT will be able to use in troubleshooting, he added.

Meantime, Microsoft also has boosted security capabilities of Skype for Business Online, with a variety of authentication-related updates. For example, it now supports multifactor authentication for its command line and scripting environment PowerShell, certificate-based authentication, and custom policies for client management, conferencing, and mobility.

Partnership Push
Markezich also shared, in his post, news coming out of three partners: Polycom and Creston for video meeting rooms, and Enghouse Interactive for business process integration. Details are as follows:

  • Polycom has slated April 17 for general availability in North America of its RealConnect for Office 365 video interoperability service, which enables connectivity between an enterprise's existing video conferencing devices and Skype for Business Online.
  • Crestron is introducing a next-generation Skype Room System, the Crestron SR, which will deliver a full native Skype for Business experience while seamlessly integrating with the Crestron control and AV systems. This is the second next-generation Skype Room System to come to market, Markezich wrote, as the Logitech SmartDock began shipping in late 2016. (For more on this, see "Skype for Business Rooms: the Rigel Effect & Logitech's SmartDock.")
  • Enghouse has released its TouchPoint Attendant, an attendant console that uses Skype for Business for routing inbound customer calls. With TouchPoint Attendant, Enghouse has taken advantage of Skype for Business APIs and SDKs released into general availability in mid-February. (For more on Enghouse's partnership with Microsoft, see, "Microsoft Ignite: Skype for Business Cloud PBX Solutions a Key Focus.")

Enterprise Connect attendees can get more information on Skype for Business at Microsoft's booth, No. 504, during Expo hours (beginning today at 4:00 p.m.), and will hear directly from Markezich during his keynote address Wednesday, March 29, at 10:00 a.m., which promises to explore how enterprises can leverage communication and collaboration to empower people, IT, and organizations on their digital transformation journeys.

Follow Beth Schultz and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
Beth Schultz on Google+


August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

June 20, 2018

Your enterprise may have adopted SIP Trunks, but are you up to date on how the latest technology is driving evolution in approaches?

In this webinar, youll learn how the new generation of SI

June 6, 2018

The two largest strategic vendors-Cisco and Microsoft-have been busy making changes to their enterprise communications roadmaps, incorporating collaboration applications as fundamental components.

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.