Gurdeep Singh Pall, Microsoft corporate vice president for the Skype team, was on stage at Ignite 2016 today to announce several important updates to Skype for Business, the company’s enterprise communication service. New Skype for Business apps are coming to Mac and iOS users, but the exec also highlighted real-time transcription and translation in Skype Meeting Broadcast, a new dynamic conference ID feature and more.
New Skype for Business apps for iOS and macOS
In October, the Skype team will deliver an important update to the Skype for Business app for iOS that will make it a much better messaging and VOIP app. Leveraging the iOS 10 CallKit framework, the new client will be able to behave like a native app and allow users to accept Skype for Business calls via the lock screen or put such a call on hold to take a cellular phone call. "It works just like a phone," the exec said.
Skype for Business for Mac will also be globally available in October following the release of several preview versions in private beta earlier this year. Pall explained that the Mac client has been written from the ground up and "provides high-definition audio and video, in addition to features like one-click join for meetings and edge-to-edge video and desktop sharing to make full use of a screen."
Real-time transcription and translation in Skype Meeting Broadcast
The Skype team has also announced that a preview of real-time transcription and translation in Skype Meeting Broadcast will be available to Office 365 business customers by the end of 2016:
Skype Meeting Broadcast in Office 365 lets you produce, host and broadcast meetings to large online audiences. These new services will provide live closed-captioning for presentations spoken in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese and German, and allow viewers to select their preferred language for captions. More languages will be released throughout preview.
New dynamic conference IDs for Skype for Business online meetings
Later this year, all Skype for Business online meetings will have a dynamic conference ID to deliver a better experience to users in a meeting:
Dynamic conference IDs provide a unique conference ID for each Skype for Business meeting, offering enhanced security and smoother transitions between back-to-back meetings. If a meeting organizer’s meeting is running long, the meeting will no longer be interrupted by a guest of the next scheduled meeting.
Latest geographic expansion of PSTN Conferencing
PSTN Conferencing, a Skype for Business feature which allows employees to attend meetings from virtually any device wherever they are is becoming available in more countries:
Customers in Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Uruguay and Vietnam can now purchase audio conferencing as part of Office 365. People can join Skype for Business meetings using local numbers from 90 countries and 400 cities across the globe—virtually everywhere. Default city numbers are available to every Office 365 customer, and customers can now acquire dedicated toll numbers or toll-free numbers in hundreds of cities across the globe via the Office 365 admin portal. Starting in October, we are also releasing previews of PSTN Calling in France and Spain for testing.
New generation of Skype Room Systems
A new generation of Skype Room Systems will also soon be available for companies looking for conferencing solutions for their meeting rooms. New products from Logitech, Crestron and Polycom, will be available to business customers in the coming weeks and months. Additionally, Polycom announced RealConnect Service for Office365, a new Azure-hosted service that will allow users of teleconferencing solutions from Cisco and others to join Skype for Business meetings. You can get more details on Skype Room Systems over here.
Skype for Business has made some strides since Microsoft introduced it as a Lync replacement back in 2015. "We power over 1 billion meetings per year, more than any other provider," explained Pall. We invite you to read his full blog post to learn more details about the latest Skype for Business innovations.