Last November, Microsoft announced that it would consolidate its two main communications platforms, Lync, and Skype. Over 100 million workers use Lync, and Skype sees some 50 billion minutes of traffic a month, so they're two behemoths joining together. This week, Microsoft announced its first Technical Preview of Skype for Business, giving customers a chance to try out the Skype for Business client, server, and the new service running in Office 365.
Today Zig Serafin, Corporate Vice President for Skype for Business, announced three new services for the consolidated service. This summer, in an expansion of the technical preview in the US, Skype for Business will introduce audio and video conferencing in Office 365, along with enterprise-grade PSTN connectivity, also beginning in the US, but rolling out globally by the end of the year. This mean that from within Office 365, customers will be able to carry on audio, video, and written conversations, all using Skype for Business.
Microsoft will work with a number of telephone partners around the globe, including ATT, BT, Orange, TATA Communications, and Vodafone, using the newly announced Azure ExpressRoute connection to Office 365, to securely manage the communications across Microsoft's global datacenters.
Microsoft also is bringing Skype Room Systems to Skype for Business, enabling the some 50 million company meeting spaces around the world to connect with each other, all built on a Windows 10 based platform. Microsoft announced an expanded relationship with Polycom to deliver Polycom RoundTable purpose-built for Skype for Business, and of course Microsoft's Surface Hub, the new mega screen introduced at the January Windows 10 event, is also Skype for Business ready.