At the Microsoft Ignite event in Florida, several important launches and announcements were made. However, of these, one of the most attention grabbing to us was the announcement that Skype for Business is soon to be replaced by and integrated into Microsoft Teams.
In essence, the company’s corporate VP explained that Microsoft Teams is to become “the core communications client” for cloud-connected users that run Office 365. In other words, it will be the primary communication software for all video, voice, meetings and messaging for workplace collaboration.
So with this in mind, what can users expect from this transition?
Transitioning from Skype for Business
No specific timeframe was given for this transition. Rather, it was said to happen ‘overtime’ although some of the features from Skype for Business have already been combined with Teams. For the time being though, these two communication systems are to continue running side-by-side. The Director of Program Management at Teams & Skype Ben Canning, says that Teams is ready for use now. While existing Skype for Business users can choose to jump ship when they’re ready, Ben suggests that’s those only in the initial stages of implementing Skype should consider using Teams instead.
As both systems can be run parallel, Skype users can try out Teams as soon as they like. In fact, your business could even have some users on Teams while others hold onto Skype for Business. But when it comes to it, the transition over to Teams should be seamless, as both systems share a common backend.
A ‘contacts’ tabs is to be added to Teams, which allows Skype groups and contacts to be automatically imported. Alongside that, ‘calls’ apps are also being added, with several options that include:
• Voicemail with added playback options and transcript
• Contacts, suggested contacts, a-z sorting and speed dial
• Onscreen number pad dialling for calls
• Call history displayed of made, received and missed calls
• Call handling including hold and transfer along with multi-call support
Meetings in Microsoft Teams
Meetings in Teams can be scheduled in an Outlook calendar, in a way that’s familiar to Skype users. This means that it’s easy to use even with little training. That being said, Teams does provide a smart ‘T-bot’ to trains users as they go. Meetings can also be recorded, including an option for transcription. This is extremely handy for getting any team members that may have missed a meeting back up to speed, particularly as you can search specific keywords to jump straight to a relevant part of the recording.
Audio conferencing which is known in Skype for Business as PSTN Conferencing, is available now for preview in Microsoft Teams. Dial-in instructions will be added to users Team meeting and other participants can join with an audio phone even if they haven’t got an internet connection.
As far as we can tell, bringing the capabilities of Skype into Teams is worth embracing and will mean a single teamwork hub with fully integrated and built-in voice and video. If you’re interested in learning more about the amalgamation of Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, call Advance Computer Systems today on 01904 653789 or fill out our contact form here.