Communicate directly with customers via Skype for Business inside your mobile apps

Communicate directly with customers via Skype for Business inside your mobile apps

By Skype for Business Team as written on

The Skype for Business team is always on the lookout for new ways to bring greater value to our customers. We look for new and innovative ideas that connect people together utilizing the power of our platform. Today, we are pleased to announce that the Skype for Business App SDK Preview is now available for download. This new SDK enables developers to seamlessly integrate instant messaging, audio and video experiences into their custom iOS and Android applications.
At Build 2016, we previewed the Skype for Business App SDK and highlighted the ease of seamless integration into native mobile and tablet applications powered by Skype for Business. We showcased a real-world solution created by MDLIVE—a pioneer and visionary in telehealth and leading provider of online and on-demand healthcare delivery services and software—that connects patients and physicians together via mobile devices in a new, convenient and efficient way. And by collaborating with Microsoft and Office 365, MDLIVE is able to offer a secure and HIPAA-compliant system for patients and providers to communicate, share and review patient medical records, lab results and provide assessments.


“Skype for Business will provide MDLIVE with a much more scalable architecture, so we can accommodate even higher volumes of video consults daily,” said Randy Parker, founder and CEO of MDLIVE. “The adoption of Skype for Business also enables us to deliver a significantly improved user experience for both patients and physicians.”
The initial focus of the SDK Preview is to power “remote advisor” solutions that enable consumer mobile and tablet applications to communicate with Skype for Business organizations. Businesses can leverage the power of their existing Skype for Business Server and Skype for Business Online infrastructure—including the familiar native clients they use today—to reach customers never before possible.
Whether you are looking to add voice, video or chat functionality into a new or existing application, the Skype for Business App SDK Preview makes it easy. The availability of these features is an important step in our Skype Developer Platform roadmap to combine the power of cloud voice, meetings and messaging with new cloud APIs and SDKs that work across a range of web and device platforms to drive new scenarios and help developers and partners re-imagine how they engage and win customers.
Download the Skype for Business App SDK Preview today. We look forward to your feedback on these new features and can’t wait to see what you build!
This preview release is a part of the larger Skype for Business developer opportunities announced at Build 2016. For more information on the Skype Developer Platform or additional resources be sure to visit the Skype Developer Platform.
—James Skay, senior product marketing manager for the Skype for Business team

Expanding the reach of Skype for Business meetings and voice services in Office 365


Expanding the reach of Skype for Business meetings and voice services in Office 365

By Zig Serafin as written on
Three months ago, Microsoft launched Skype for Business Cloud PBX, Meeting Broadcast and PSTN services to provide a complete meetings and voice experience in Office 365. Already, thousands of Office 365 customers are using these services, and many more are trialing them. Today, we’re announcing our first major geographic expansion of these services; new support for hybrid deployments; new, modern meeting room solutions; and improvements to our unified reporting, management and analytics.

PSTN Conferencing available for purchase in 32 countries

As of March 1, 2016, customers in 17 additional countries—Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia and South Korea—can buy dial-in conferencing as part of their Office 365 subscription. Now customers in 32 countries total can simplify their infrastructure using Skype for Business Online for all of their meeting needs, and take advantage of flat-rate, per-user, per-month pricing to simplify budgeting and accounting for conferencing services. Our PSTN conferencing service will include local dial-in numbers in more than 60 countries by the end of this month and nearly 100 countries by the end of June.

New Cloud PBX features and general availability of the Cloud Connector Edition

We’re also pleased to announce that the new Cloud Connector Edition of Skype for Business Server will be generally available starting in April. All versions of Skype for Business Server allow customers worldwide to use Office 365 Cloud PBX with the carrier calling services of their choice, and the new Cloud Connector Edition allows customers to quickly connect existing phone lines and phone numbers to Office 365 by delivering these proven hybrid capabilities as optimized, pre-configured virtual machine images. This summer, we will deliver a preview of our new virtual Organizational Auto Attendant in Cloud PBX, enabling customers to use Office 365 for automated handling of business calls and using speech recognition.

PSTN Calling Preview outside the U.S.

Starting in May, we will offer a preview of Skype for Business PSTN Calling services in the UK. With the preview, customers in the UK will be able to trial number acquisition and assignment, inbound and outbound calling, voicemail and other features—all provided by Microsoft and seamlessly integrated as part of Office 365. Office 365 customers in the UK can register for the preview today at the Skype Preview sign-up page.

Project Rigel—bringing the Skype Meeting experience to every meeting room

Over 97 percent of meeting rooms are currently equipped with traditional projectors or displays and only a telephone for including remote participants. But for meetings to be as effective and engaging as possible requires web and video conferencing with features like screen sharing, IM and whiteboard. Without these capabilities, people lose the benefits of rich interaction, remote participants have a sub-optimal experience and the whole team is less productive due to longer meeting startup times.
Today, we are announcing an initiative, codenamed “Project Rigel,” to address this problem. Project Rigel will bring a Skype Meeting experience pioneered on Microsoft Surface Hub to nearly any meeting room with a display or projector. It will use Windows 10 devices for center-of-room touch control and Skype for Business online meeting technology to easily connect remote users. Hardware partners including Polycom and Logitech will certify elements of their portfolios for use with Project Rigel systems, including the Polycom RealPresence Trio and CX5100, and Logitech ConferenceCam Connect, ConferenceCam GROUP and PTZ Pro Camera. Logitech also plans to deliver a purpose-built smart dock for Project Rigel to seamlessly connect the system elements in a meeting room, while Polycom plans to deliver a portfolio of complete Project Rigel systems. We expect the first systems based on Project Rigel to be available in the second half of 2016.

Connecting traditional video teleconferencing systems to the Office 365 Meeting experience

Roughly 3 percent of meeting spaces today include traditional video teleconferencing systems, or VTCs, from Cisco, Polycom and others. We’re pleased to be working with Polycom on two new efforts to extend the Skype Meeting experience to these dedicated video endpoints. First, Polycom will provide an update to its RealPresence Group Series products, which will add both Office 365 integration and a user interface consistent with the Skype Meeting experience. Second, Polycom will provide a Cloud Video Interoperability service, hosted in the Microsoft cloud, which will enable a wide range of existing VTCs, including Cisco and Polycom systems, to connect to Skype for Business meetings in Office 365 and will include audio, video and content interoperability. We will work closely with Polycom to ensure that Office 365 customers can easily take advantage of this service. Both offerings are expected to be available in the second half of 2016.
Through these innovations, we will deliver with our partners a complete range of video conferencing solutions based on Skype for Business in Office 365, establishing a new standard for cloud, hybrid voice and video capabilities for any business meeting room.

Unified management, reporting and analytics for enterprise communications

Finally, in keeping with our goal to make the Skype for Business management tools powerful and easy to use for IT professionals, we will add powerful management, reporting and analytics tools to our communications cloud in the second half of this year. IT admins will be able to understand usage patterns, analyze call quality and quickly troubleshoot issues in both cloud and hybrid Skype for Business deployments via a single pane of glass within the Office 365 admin portal.

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For More Information on Microsoft and other Cloud Solutions, Contact Us at 800-208-4037


Case Study: Marquette University

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]case study marquette - managed solution

Case Study: Marquette University improves communications with familiar voice and conferencing solution

As written on
Marquette University is a coeducational institution in Wisconsin with 11,700 students and 2,700 faculty and staff. The university prioritizes its commitment to providing students and faculty with comprehensive communication tools. As the next step to updating its voice, conferencing, and instant messaging solution, Marquette is moving to Skype for Business and anticipates increased collaboration, flexibility, and adoption, in addition to cost savings.

Business needs

Marquette University is a private Jesuit college in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with 8,400 undergraduate students, 3,300 graduate and professional students, and 1,200 faculty. There are 11 different schools and colleges within the university that offer a comprehensive range of majors. Marquette is a nationally ranked institution with notable designations as a Changemaker Campus and the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Marquette is an early adopter of technology and aims to provide students and staff with comprehensive communications solutions that include voice, conferencing, mobile, and instant messaging capabilities. University students and faculty rely on these solutions every day: professors conduct remote classes; students from the business school interview for jobs out of state; the IT team works with vendors outside of the university; and various departments use videoconferencing for events and meetings. “We like to stay current on technology, if not on the cutting edge,” says Dan Smith, Deputy CIO of IT Services at Marquette University.
In 2012, Marquette deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2013 to begin hosting its own conferences. At that time, the university started to retire its private branch exchange (PBX) telephone system and installed voice over IP (VoIP) to reduce costs and provide a wider range of communication options to the campus community. Its goal was to complete the PBX migration by summer 2015.
The university also hoped to increase adoption of communication tools by providing a solution that was familiar to users. It wanted to improve flexibility and productivity with more mobile and video use and encourage students and staff to communicate more easily with people off campus. However, users were only able to use VoIP to communicate with outside partners who were federated in the same system.
“Trying to get solutions that let students and faculty communicate with people outside of Marquette has always been a challenge,” says Victor Martinez, Windows Team Lead at Marquette University.


Skype for Business was the natural next step for Marquette. It offered similar functionalities as Lync 2013, in addition to the intuitive interface of the Skype client that many students and staff were already familiar with.
In early 2015, the IT services department at Marquette began the process of upgrading Lync Server 2013 to the Skype for Business Server 2015. The migration went smoothly as the IT team mirrored the production environment, which included servers and full functionality.
“It was like spinning up a side-by-side environment with our current environment. We were able to move users as needed, and then add additional users as we became more confident with the new solution,” says Martinez.
The university has been working toward retiring its PBX system for the past three years. Now in its final phase, it began migrating users directly from the PBX system to the Skype for Business Server, and is rolling out the Skype for Business client to the migrated users.
Marquette currently supports 330 users on the Skype for Business client, and it has already prepared an additional 30,000 accounts that are licensed and ready for use—enough to support all current staff and students, and new enrollments for the upcoming academic year. Marquette also expects to support 4,000 to 5,000 phones on the Skype for Business Server.
Marquette sees the new Skype for Business client as a hybrid between the consumer Skype client and Lync 2013. “The changes aren’t as drastic as we thought they might be. The overall place where you go to do things or look for things has basically stayed the same. There’s a continuity that people will see as they go from Lync 2013 to Skype for Business.”


By moving to Skype for Business, Marquette anticipates increased user adoption and collaboration and improved flexibility. It also continues to reduce overall telephony costs by migrating users from its previous PBX system directly to Skype for Business.
Increased adoption and collaboration with familiar interface
Skype for Business offers the capabilities of Lync 2013 plus the familiarity that many users already have with Skype, meaning the campus community will be more likely to use the new solution.
“Some of the UI that you see within the Skype for Business client now mirrors the Skype interface on the consumer client,” says Smith. “We expect to see more widespread adoption as people can easily find and communicate with other Skype users and bring them into conversations.”
It will also be easier to collaborate with students, partners, and vendors outside of the university. “Now we can communicate with people worldwide who are using Skype while we’re on campus using Skype for Business—connecting this way is really powerful,” says Martinez.
Improved flexibility with mobile and video capabilities
Marquette believes users will start taking advantage of the Skype for Business mobile app that includes video, audio, IM, and content viewing and will provide the flexibility that students and faculty need to get work done anywhere, anytime. While desktop clients have dominated traditionally, that is likely to change at Marquette as many students are heavy mobile users.
“We’re going to see a lot more people use mobile and tablet devices to access Skype for Business for presentations and videoconferences,” says Martinez.
Recently, the IT department has received more requests for video support. Because Skype for Business provides messaging, audio, and video apps from a single solution, Marquette can offer students and staff new ways to collaborate, both internally and with users outside of the university. “A lot of external users already use Skype, which makes the experience of joining our meetings a lot easier,” says Martinez.
Continued cost savings
As part of Marquette’s migration process, it moved its telephony system from a physical connection to a virtual connection through Session Initiating Protocol (SIP). By moving to a SIP connection, Marquette saved approximately $125,000. “Disabling the ports on the PBX system saves us money as we continue to move this project forward,” says Smith. To date Marquette has saved approximated $95,000 in PBX costs.
Marquette is meeting its commitment to provide cutting-edge communications tools to student and faculty, without making additional investments in its IT infrastructure. The university was able to utilize its existing hardware for its new communications solution. “Skype for Business doesn’t require different hardware than what we currently have,” says Martinez.


Case Study: Dr. Oetker

case study dr. oetker -managed solution

Case Study: Dr. Oetker

As written on
Consumers know Dr. Oetker as their favorite baking goods, cereals, and pizza brand. The German food company is rapidly expanding and is using Skype for Business to bring employees in 40 countries closer together. Using Skype for Business, employees develop products, interview job candidates, and provide tech support more efficiently and often without time-consuming travel. The software works well with the other Microsoft tools staff use every day, and conversations are more secure within the corporate IT infrastructure.
Dr. Oetker is a household name in Germany and is fast becoming one in 40 other countries. In business since 1891, Dr. Oetker ranks among the leading branded goods companies in the German food industry, with its baking powder, cake mixes, frozen pizzas, cereals, and snacks as well as dairy products. It is headquartered in Bielefeld, Germany, and employs more than 11,000 people.

Needed: one tool for everything

As the company expanded globally, Dr. Oetker shored up its technology tools for communicating and collaborating. “The Dr. Oetker brand prides itself on quality, and achieving consistent levels of quality when manufacturing products all over the world is impossible without tight communications among global teams,” says Frank Pickert , Senior Executive Manager IT Services at Dr. Oetker.
“The company had standardized on Microsoft Lync Server 2013 as its technology lingua franca, but that software was limited to communications within the company and with partners that also used it. The human resources (HR) staff members could not use Lync Server 2013 to interview job candidates, so they ended up using third-party web-based conferencing products that were outside the governance of the IT department.”
“We had to pay for multiple tools, employees had to learn different tools for internal and external communications, and we didn’t have control over the conversations that happened on these unsanctioned tools,” says Christian Plitt, IT Manager, Infrastructure and Shop Floor Solutions at Dr. Oetker. “We wanted one tool for everything.”

A tool that everyone knows

Dr. Oetker found that one tool in Skype for Business Server 2015, the successor to Lync Server 2013. “We really like Skype for Business because of its full integration with the Skype consumer product and the ability to search for contacts in that product,” says Kathrin Worner, IT Specialist, Infrastructure and Shop Floor Solutions at Dr. Oetker. “Our employees and outside partners immediately knew how to use it, and this was not the case with other tools that required a big investment in user change management.”
“By using Skype for Business, we can bring colleagues together who would probably not otherwise meet.… This is very useful in helping people feel like they’re part of the same organization.”
-Christian Plitt, Dr. Oetker, IT Manager, Infrastructure and Shop Floor Solutions
Also, Skype for Business is under the control of Plitt’s team, unlike the other collaboration solutions that employees had been using. “With Skype for Business, our data resides on our servers,” Plitt says. “It’s critical that we keep conversations about strategy, pricing, new products, and other topics confidential.”
To date, about 200 employees at Dr. Oetker already use the Skype for Business client, and the company plans to roll it out to all 3,000 employees who are currently licensed for Lync Server 2013. “Skype for Business use is spreading by word of mouth,” Worner says. “We’ve received very enthusiastic feedback. It’s become an indispensable part of daily communication for the teams that use it.”

Better collaboration across global teams

Here’s a sampling of how various Dr. Oetker teams are using and benefitting from Skype for Business:
Plitt is excited about the role that Skype for Business will play in mobile scenarios, such as supporting the company’s hundreds of sales representatives. By outfitting all salespeople with a camera-equipped laptop or tablet PC, Dr. Oetker could help them react faster during the sales process. They could quickly place video calls with corporate support teams to resolve sales blockers or even show supermarket product placement to marketing colleagues to optimize merchandising.
Video is particularly valuable in an internationally operating company, because meeting participants can see facial expressions and reactions of other participants, which helps bridge cultural differences. “By using Skype for Business, we can bring colleagues together who would probably not otherwise meet,” Plitt says. “For example, it’s very difficult for employees in less developed or more remote parts of the world to fly to Germany for meetings. With Skype for Business, they can participate in international meetings and meet their colleagues, and this is also very useful in helping people feel like they’re part of the same organization.”
Dr. Oetker even foresees using Skype for Business with consumers. “At baking fairs and other events, or from their homes, consumers could meet a Dr. Oetker baking expert over video chat and ask questions,” Plitt says. “Skype for Business opens up new communication channels with our customers.”

Consistent interface

In addition to the ease-of-use advantages that Skype for Business offers, Dr. Oetker appreciates the fact that Skype for Business works so closely with the other Microsoft desktop tools that employees use every day. “Microsoft is one of our two strategic software partners,” Plitt says. “We use Microsoft Office and SharePoint Server, and all our desktop computers run the Windows 7 operating system. When we upgrade to Windows 10 and the latest version of Office, Skype for Business will be part of that whole picture and help our employees be more productive. It’s of enormous value to our employees to have consistency across desktop tools and be able to switch quickly and easily from one to another.”
Pickert adds: “As we continue to grow internationally, we’ll use Skype for Business to make it faster and smoother to integrate new employees and offices into the business. Because it’s so easy to set up communications with new employees, we can make them part of the company right away. This helps the business be more agile and responsive to local customers and markets.”

Less time-sapping travel

While Dr. Oetker cannot estimate Skype for Business–related travel savings at this early stage, the company does have a new policy: before purchasing an airplane ticket, all employees should ask themselves, “Could I use Skype for Business for this meeting instead?”
“Communicating using desktop tools saves our people a lot of time, which is more valuable than the actual travel costs,” Plitt says. “Travel kills a lot of productivity, and we can recoup those hours by taking widespread advantage of Skype for Business.”
As Skype for Business use expands across the company through grassroots adoption, the Dr. Oetker IT staff is already eager for upcoming features. “One of the reasons we chose Skype for Business is the fact that Microsoft is innovating in ways that no one else can match,” Plitt says. “A good example is the Skype Translator technology currently in beta testing with consumers. This has the potential to completely change the communications landscape, especially for companies like ours with colleagues in 40 countries.”

You can now use Skype from OneDrive and Office Online


skype for business - managed solution

You can now use Skype from OneDrive and Office Online

By Sarah Perez as written on
Skype announced today further integrations into Microsoft’s suite of online tools, with news that access to the communications app is now available while working in Office Online and OneDrive. This is an expansion of the earlier announcement from this past October, which then introduced the ability to use Skype voice and video from Office Online and Starting now, Microsoft says that you’ll be able to call or chat with friends while using its cloud storage service, OneDrive, both while viewing the contents of online folders or while editing documents directly in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
When using Skype from OneDrive, files open up in Office Online where you can begin to co-edit with Skype’s messaging interface to the right of the screen. When this feature is used, your chat history will remain connected to the document in question and will appear again each time the document is re-opened.
The larger context here is that Microsoft wants to make Skype an integral part of its productivity software, whether that’s in its desktop software, using Office online, or accessing files wherever they may be found – like OneDrive or email, for example.
The news also comes at a time when Microsoft is said to be doubling down on its investment in Skype, having mulled then passed over an $8 billion bid for Slack in favor of its own communications software. Slack has succeeded in claiming mindshare in the business world, to the tune of 2.3 million daily active users – notable growth for the startup.
However, Microsoft Office’s install base dwarfs that – the company said last fall that more than 1.2 billion people use Office, and has over 400 million active users. It makes sense then, that the company believes it can expand Skype’s footprint by way of this large, heavily used productivity suite.
In addition to the announcement of the OneDrive integration, Microsoft also noted that the Skype integration has now completed. Skype is available to all users as of today.

Microsoft Turns On Yammer For Office 365 Business Customers


By Sarah Perez as written on

Get ready for Yammer, Microsoft announced today – and it’s not kidding. Microsoft said this afternoon it will begin to activate Yammer for all its eligible Office 365 business customers starting today, in what’s a major push for the enterprise social networking service. The rollout will come in waves, beginning with those customers who have a business subscription, and fewer than 150 licenses, including one for Yammer.

The second phase of the rollout on March 1st will expand Yammer to larger business customers, who have fewer than 5,000 licenses, but excluding those with education subscription.

The final phase, or Wave 3, starts on April 1, and will include those education subscriptions, as well as all remaining customers.

The end result of this push is that every Office 365 users with a Yammer license will be able to use the service from the Office 365 app launcher, as well as start Yammer conversations from within SharePoint, Office 365 Video Portal, and soon, Delve and Skype Broadcast as well.

Effectively, it’s elevating the product to become more of a fully-fledged member of Microsoft’s suite of tools aimed at businesses.

By being baked into Microsoft’s existing products and services, Yammer will become more useful than when it was a standalone product ahead of Microsoft’s 2012 acquisition. For example, Yammer will be hooked into the Office 365 Groups service in the first half of this year, which will let customers do things like turning Yammer conversations into Skype calls, schedule meetings with Outlook calendar, access files in OneDrive, create tasks in Planner, from within Yammer’s groups.

Yammer has fallen out of the limelight since Microsoft bought the company for $1.2 billion several years ago. Not much had been said about the service since. And it’s fair to say that many wondered if Microsoft ever intended to do much of anything with it, beyond making it available for those who wanted it.

But in recent months, Yammer has seen new competitors arise. Currently, its biggest competition is Slack, which Microsoft also recently had to acknowledge the importance of, in its own way – the company introduced Skype integration last month, that is. And Facebook has been ramping up its efforts with its business-focused Facebook for Work, which could pose a challenge to Yammer in the future when it becomes publicly available.

For now, however, Yammer still has a shot at grabbing a foothold thanks to Microsoft’s big push to its Office 365 commercial customers.

With the rollout, Yammer will be switched on by default, though Microsoft says that admins will be able to dial that back, if need be, noting that “if you are not ready to fully adopt Yammer in your organization, you can un-assign Yammer licenses for those who should not access Yammer from Office 365.”

Well, seems like it would just be easier to go live on Yammer than have to go around turning it off for people, doesn’t it?

More details on the Yammer integration is available here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Video conferencing: Work together, all the time, anywhere.


=#Skype4B helps keep Managed Solution's remote workers connected during meetings!
With online multi-party HD video and audio meetings, it feels like working together face to face, virtually anywhere.
Managed Solution provides implementation of the industry’s most robust unified communication functionality solutions. This will give your organization better methods of communication that enable your staff to be efficient through productive working habits.
With Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync), you can search for and connect with anyone in the Skype network–inside or outside your organization.
For more information on Skype for Business (Formerly Lync), please fill out the contact form to the right and a Unified Communications expert will contact you shortly.

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What is a Skype Meeting Broadcast?

what is a skype meeting broadcast - managed solution

What is a Skype Meeting Broadcast?

As written on

Skype Meeting Broadcast is a new component of Skype for Business. As part of Office 365 and Skype for Business Online, Skype Meeting Broadcast lets you produce, host, and broadcast meetings to large online audiences.

How Skype Meeting Broadcast works

You can schedule a Skype Meeting Broadcast for up to 10,000 attendees. You use the Skype Meeting Broadcast scheduling and management portal to schedule a meeting.
You use the familiar meeting experience within Skype for Business to produce a professional, engaging event for their audience. And, attendees can join from anywhere on any device, and engage in the meeting.

Skype Meeting Broadcast roles

There are several roles required for producing a Skype Meeting Broadcast. These include:

System requirements

System requirements for a Skype Meeting Broadcast