Now Lync users can conduct everyday business and collaboration “face-to-face” with customers, partners and suppliers who use Skype. Other potential use cases are recruitment, remote education and virtual healthcare.
The video integration between Lync and Skype currently requires a Microsoft account to make connections, but this won’t be necessary with Skype for Business. Skype for Business adds video calling and access to the Skype user directory (not just those Skype users signing in with a Microsoft account) making it possible to call any Skype user on any device.
What’s in a name?
Microsoft announced last month the next version of Lync would be released in the first half of 2015, renamed Skype for Business.
“In the first half of 2015, the next version of Lync will become Skype for Business with a new client experience, new server release, and updates to the service in Office 365. We believe that Skype for Business will again transform the way people communicate by giving organizations reach to hundreds of millions of Skype users outside the walls of their business”.
While emphasising features of the new version, Microsoft has been at great pains to reassure business clients there would be no change to the underlying Lync platform, all the components, technology, infrastructure, and associated capabilities stay as Lync – just the name changes.
But it’s more than a name change. We expect more functionality to be announced with the re-branding likely to take place in March/April.
The move to Skype for Business will be very straightforward. Current Lync Server customers will be able to take advantage of these capabilities simply by updating from Lync Server 2013 to the new Skype for Business Server in their datacentres. No new hardware is required. For Office 365 customers, it’s even simpler. Their updates will be available automatically.
Here is the video introducing Skype for Business.
Image source: Office Blog