Along with the arrival of spring came the availability in Australia of Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing via Office 365.
What does it mean for enterprises, particularly those who are already Office 365 subscribers?
Office 365 and Skype for Business customers will all see value in this announcement. It’s the first stage of Microsoft’s roll out to the Australian market of the Enterprise Voice features of the Cloud hosted version of Skype for Business.
Existing Office 365 customers already leveraging Skype for Business for collaboration will be able to extend the current multi party conferencing capability to incorporate non Skype for Business users over traditional PSTN communication.
Customers who have invested in Skype for Business Enterprise Voice solutions on-premises will be able to access these extended Cloud features under a hybrid deployment model for scale and global reach, as they become available. This will enable organisations to choose how to deploy services, based on their technical, business and commercial requirements.
Feedback from our customers on the roadmap for Skype for Business has been very positive. Organisations of all sizes see real value in having the flexibility to deploy an Enterprise Unified Communication and Collaboration platform, such as Skype for Business, in a variety of deployment scenarios – On-Premises, Hybrid and Cloud. This flexibility is a strong influence in the strategic investment decisions they’re making.
What exactly is Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing?
Commonly known as a dial-in conference, in Skype for Business, a PSTN Conference is any conference where at least one participant dials in to the audio portion using a PSTN (public switched telephone network) connected device – landline or mobile.
With Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing, users can create meetings that contain dial-in phone numbers, and participants can then use those numbers to call in to a meeting over the PSTN, in addition to their traditional Skype for Business clients. With this service, Microsoft is directly facilitating a rich calling experience, extending the Skype meeting experience to the Cloud.
What are the benefits?
When announcing, the release is Australia, Microsoft pointed out organisations spend millions of dollars with conferencing providers to allow people to dial in to virtual meetings from PSTN connected devices. Now there’s a cheaper and simpler approach.
Some of the benefits of Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing include:
- Easier for remote meeting participants – useful for individuals who are on the road or otherwise cannot attend a meeting using a mobile device or PC, particularly if they don’t have access to a good internet connection
- Promotes collaboration – Skype for Business Online is more attractive as a pure collaboration and ultimately one step closer to Cloud PBX with PSTN calling
- Saves money and streamlines operations – organisations can reduce their reliance on expensive hosted conference call providers
- Simplifies meeting organisation – meeting hosts just create meetings with a dial-in phone number, and external participants can now call into a meeting using their landline or mobile phone in addition to the native Skype meeting join experience
- Streamlines management – Skype communication capabilities can be managed from within the Office 365 admin center, and because PSTN Conferencing works seamlessly with Office 365 it provides a single point of administration
This is a really exciting announcement.
At the forefront of this innovation, Ensyst as a Microsoft Office 365 High-Touch and Gold Communications partner is actively working with clients, helping them understand what this means to their Unified Communications strategy and roadmap.