First there was Skype, a well-liked app for instant messaging, video chat, and voice calls. Then Microsoft bought the company in 2011, offering it as a consumer product alongside Lync as a business application. Last year Microsoft announced it would drop Lync and replace it with Skype for Business, which combines features of Lync and Skype.¬†Understandably, many people are confused as to what is actually available and how it works. This blogpost from us at ONS hopes to rectify that. Here’s what you need to know about Microsoft Skype for Business.

Types of Skype Services

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Skype for Business Server 2015

This on-premises server allows instant messaging, PSTN connectivity, enterprise voice and video conferencing.

 

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Skype for Business Online

You can use this service through Microsoft Cloud or Office 365. Features include instant messaging, peer-to-peer VoIP and video conferencing. It lacks enterprise voice and PSTN connectivity, but these features are in development.

Skype Client Types

Image: Skype.com

Image: Skype.com

Skype for Business

This client type replaces the Lync client as part of the Office suite. It works with both Skype services listed above. It’s currently available for Windows and Windows Phone but will hopefully soon be available for OS X, iOS and Android.

Image: Skype.com

Image: Skype.com

Skype

This client is designed for consumer downloads and makes free service available for personal use. Its features are more limited than that of Skype for Business. For example, Skype allows 25 people per conference call while Skype for Business allows 250. There are clients available for Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, Blackberry and Fire OS.

Advantages ‘Skype for Business Server’ Has Over Its Cloud Version

  1. Skype Meeting Broadcast – This feature allows up to 10,000 people per meeting broadcast, making it ideal for webinars.
  2. PSTN Conferencing – Enables users to dial in to a line from a landline or mobile if they can’t join using their internet device.
  3. Cloud PBX With PSTN Calling – This function lets users make traditional phone calls through their Skype for Business client, even if they don’t have on-premises PBX. Admins can assign numbers to different users.