Skype for Business expands Office 365 services for meetings and voice

A few months ago, Microsoft launched Skype for Business Cloud PBX and Meeting Broadcast and PSTN Services. At the time, the PBX services utilized the cloud to eliminate the need for separate PBX (Public Branch Exchange) systems to connect workers globally. Meanwhile, the Meeting Broadcast meant that Skype could be used by employees connected at the office through a traditional landline, as well as those using mobile devices. Since then, many Office 365 customers have used both of the services, and Microsoft is reacting to the popularity accordingly.

The Skype for Business team is announcing a geographic expansion of these services, new support for hybrid developments, new meeting room solutions, and improvements to their unified reporting, management, and analytics.

As part of the announcement, PSTN conferencing is now available in 17 additional counties, including, Brazil, Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Japan, and Poland. This means that Office 365 users in 32 countries can now take advantage of Skype for Business' pricing and confrencing services. The team also promised that conferencing will include dial-in numbers from more than 100 countries by the end of the June.

The team has also announced a new Cloud Connector Edition of Skype for Business Server. Available starting in April, all versions of Skype for Business Server will allow customers worldwide to use the Office 365 Cloud PBX. A new Cloud Connector Edition will also allow customers to connect existing phone lines and numbers to Office 365.  In addition, a new Virtual Organizational Auto Attendant will be delivered in April to Cloud PBX, which will enable Office 365 customers to handle automated business calls using speech recognition.

For folks outside of the US, the announcement details that a preview of Skype for Business PSTN Calling services will be available in the UK. To sign up, interested users can visit the Skype preview page.

Surface hub
Surface hub

Under a new project that is also part of the announcement, the team is aiming to bring the Skype Meeting experience, introduced with the Surface Hub, to every meeting room across the world. With Project Rigel, the aim is to use Windows 10 devices and Skype for Business online meeting technology to easily connect remote users. They will be working with Logitech, Polycom, and Cisco to accomplish this, and to connect traditional video teleconferencing to the Office 365 Meeting experience.


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