Back in March, Microsoft announced their intention to deliver Skype for Business Voice and meeting services with Office 365. A preview program was announced in July to allow customers and partners to try the new platform before general availability. At this juncture, the purpose is to test their services at scale, to capture feedback, and to let customers get an early look at the solutions.
The previews include:
Skype Meeting Broadcast – Permits Skype for Business meetings via the internet for up to 10,000 users. Attendance is via a browser and support most any device.
PSTN Conferencing – Limited to US customers and designed to allow people invited into SfB meeting in Office 365 to join via a regular phone.
Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling – Again limited to US customers, it allows SfB users in Office 365 to make and receive call on cell phones and land lines in their SfB client. There is a very limited set of call features.
A very important note. These services are a very early look. There is not parity at this time between premise/hybrid Lync/SfB server deployments, nor will there be for some time at general availability. There are a lot of caveats in design and features and a lot more information and knowledge needs to be forthcoming before it’s time to plan a move to the cloud.
I strongly recommend that anyone interested in considering a future move to Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling engage deeply with a qualified Microsoft Gold Communications partner with strong UC experience. Success in taking advantage of these new services is critically dependent on a solid plan.
Tim Krueger, PEI