What is Skype for business?
Skype for Business is a UC system (Unified Communication system) that integrates the well-known channels of business communication. This consists of video, instant messaging, voicemail, file transfers, video conferencing, web conferencing, email, and VoIP (voice over IP). Skype for Business was originally called Microsoft Lync & there is still a close relationship between the two companies, with Skype for business announcing in 2019 they will be ending the online service by 2021 & encourage customers to use Microsoft service instead.
Skype for business or Lync 2013 has all the features listed above too. All you need is a decent internet connection and a phone number and you’re ready to go. Unlike an original conference system, with Skype for Business (also known as Skype4b S4B, SFB, SfB) you can effortlessly control the meeting mute or remove attendees, invite additional participants, and initiate business meetings. So, if you have an account you can use all these features with ease.
It can be used as a singular product or as part of an Office 365 package (Office 365 Lync Online). It can be introduced in 2 different ways, either a cloud-based service or an on-premises server. There is also a similar collaboration application called Microsoft Teams. It has very similar capabilities, the only different is that Skype for Business allows PSTN calling and conferencing, whereas Microsoft Teams does not.
There are quite a few features that are available to Skype for Business exclusively. These include E911 (Enhanced 911) and a persistent chat feature. This is where a topic-based discussion stays open after the all the users leave, perfect for keeping track of ideas! When you have an Office 365 Business essential plan and/or a Business Premium, Skype Business Online can support high definition video, and audio video conferencing.
This can be a conference of 2 people to 250 people! Which is brilliant for bigger companies. Alongside with the conferencing feature, you can get enterprise level technical support, but if that doesn’t work you can always contact your IT department to sort the issue out. So, if you’re having issues with your account status please contact your IT department or the enterprise level technical support.
Is skype for business free?
Skype is free, but Skype for Business is not. There are 2 plans that are available for your business. The Online plan 1 is around £1.62 per user per month (Yearly contract). This plan doesn’t offer much though, it only covers the basics. The difference between Skype and Online plan 1 is very little, they are pretty much the same.
The Online Plan 2 is around £4.46 per user per month. This includes high-definition video to group conferences, desktop sharing, Outlook schedule integration, the ability to record meetings, remote control, and you can join meetings from a web browser (including anonymous connections).
One other option is a Skype for Business server. This is for more sophisticated setups. With this service you can get conference room integration, E911 support and dial-in audio features. You will most likely have to get this from a third-party integrator though, so pricing will be at their discretion. This means with these third-party integrators you can get a Skype for Business service installed at any site you agree with them.
What is the difference between skype & skype for business?
Skype and Skype for Business may sound the same, but they are quite different. Skype is free and normally is used for personal calls or video calling, its especially popular with people who have friends or family overseas. Whereas Skype for Business, as the name suggests, is for businesses. One difference is that Skype does not have enterprise support, but SfB does. Skype also has a limited functionality compared to its corporate which you can read about above.
Skype may be suitable for some companies (under 20 employees), it’s just depended on your usage and what futures you would need. Skype is free when both people have the application installed, but to communicate with non-Skype clients it will cost a connection fee, which can be paid on a per call basis monthly.
If your company has more then 20 employees and needs futures such as conference calling, Skype for Business will be your best bet. With Skype you would have to pay for each Skype account separately (if you’re making non-skype clients calls that is), but with Skype for Business it can be kept all under one roof. In turn you can pay for all the users in bulk rather then paying for each person individually, which saves a lot of time and hassle.
In terms of dashboard and overall look, Skype and Skype for business is quite similar. For example, there is a feature called Skype Connectivity, which allows you to search and add skype users, this is used on both types of Skype. If you’re concerned about the transition being confusing, try not to worry as they look quite similar, so it should be easy to find your way around.
What you need to know before getting Skype for business
There are two main things to consider:
As explained previously, which Online Plan you choose is depended on the number of employees and what features you need.
In terms of internet connection, there is two main options to consider. One is the stability of your line, the second is the speed. If your line is unstable and keeps dropping out it will be nearly impossible to use Skype for Business. You would keep dropping out of calls, you wouldn’t be able to hear anyone in your conference etc. Now onto speed, if your line is extremely slow then your calls will lag and make it hard for you to efficiently communicate with your clients/colleagues.
One way to solve these occurrences is to get a superior type of internet called an Internet Leased Line. Internet Leased Lines never drop out and give you consistent speeds, get one of these and you’re on your way to having crystal clear conference calls and impeccable communication.