Technical preview of Skype for Business now available to customers

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 17 March 2015
Technical preview of Skype for Business now available to customers

A technical preview of the new Skype for Business communications and collaboration platform is now available to customers.

At the 2015 Convergence event, which is taking place in Atlanta this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella encouraged companies to embrace the open exchange of information and to use intelligent, collaborative tools.

In November 2014, it was announced that the next version of Microsoft Lync would become ‘Skype for Business’, and the new client, server and online service would be generally available from April 2015.

With the technical preview, existing Lync customers have the chance to trial Skype for Business ahead of the upgrade.

“Based on the familiar Skype experience that more than 300 million people use every month to connect with friends and family, Skype for Business delivers an expanded Lync feature set and enterprise-grade security, compliance and control to IT,” said Giovanni Mezgec, general manager for the Skype for Business team. “It also enables people to search for and connect with anyone in the Skype network – inside or outside their organisation. And Skype for Business is built right into Office, so features like presence, instant messenger, voice and video calls, and online meetings are an integrated part of the Office experience.”

A range of elite launch partners are equipped to help deliver the platform on a global scale, with Mezgec reporting a ‘five-fold increase in partners deploying Lync in the cloud over the past year, and over 80% of the channel have been trained on Skype for Business.’

The majority of existing software and hardware solutions that are qualified for Lync 2013 will also be compatible with Skype for Business, due to the efforts of Microsoft’s hardware, software, IT pro tools and network infrastructure partners. This means current Lync customers will be able to get up and running quickly with Skype for Business with the solutions they already have in place.

“Current Lync customers are in prime position to modernise communications with Skype for Business,” Mezgec added. “We invite you to join the technical preview today and connect with a skilled partner to start planning your upgrade.”

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