Skype for Business was recently “introduced” by Microsoft and more will be coming in the next few weeks/months. While the introduction was considered big news, there was not a lot of concrete information about what the change meant. We wanted to do a brief summary of what has been said/heard/discussed about the changes that will be occurring and what you can expect. We will be following this post with more specific information as it becomes available.
How Skype for Business Differs from Lync 2013
Microsoft has given us a sneak peak at some of the new and improved features that Skype for Business will bring to enterprises. The big question for most is whether or not this is a rebranding or is Skype for Business something new? The short answer is this. Skype for Business is mostly a rebranding with some new additions sprinkled with the usual bug fixes.
When will Skype for Business be released?
Microsoft hasn’t given an exact date of launch but it is expected to be in the first half of 2015. Our guess is that Skype for Business will show up online over the next few months while the official release will be made following the Microsoft Ignite in Chicago in May.
How do we upgrade to Skype for Business?
In short there are four ways in which you can upgrade Lync to Skype for Business. The biggest upgrade feature anticipated is the in-place upgrade path for Lync 2013 deployments without the need for additional hardware. Microsoft has put a lot of emphasis on this in all of their discussions with Skype for Business.
So what’s new in Skype for Business?
As to be expected, the list of what will be new within Skype for Business is formative and will remain that way until Skype for Business is released. There are a few new features in Skype for Business that we do know about at this point. One new feature is the ability to have video calls between Skype for Business clients and Skype consumer clients. Skype for Business will also support video calls with users on existing legacy video conferencing systems. There will also be changes in the client and administration UI. The client will look similar to the Lync 2013 client but with Skype consumer color schemes and icons.
Will the Client Update be pushed out as an Office update?
The client update will not be a MS Office Update. The Skype for Business Client will be a complete new client that is installed to an endpoint. The installation of this client will remove the Lync 2013 client from the endpoint.
Will Lync Phone Edition devices get software update for Skype for Business?
At the moment Microsoft are saying no and plan to use the Lync 2013 Phone Edition software for all Lync to Skype for Business upgrades until further notice.
Jacob Eker, PEI