The Growth of Skype for Business

Since Microsoft re branded and updated its Unified Communications package from Microsoft Lync to Microsoft Skype for Business there has been an incredible uptake for the service.

In 2011 Microsoft purchased Skype for 8.5 billion dollars and though, initially it remained relatively unchanged it has now become a major facet of Office 365's cloud service. Indeed in the last year usage of Office 365 has trebled and has become the leading enterprise cloud platform.

What Skype for Business offers is the ability to leverage Microsoft's Unified Communications platform to set up meetings with anyone at any time. In fact it is possible to set up online conferences with up to 250 people irrespective as to whether they subscribe to Skype themselves.

New Enterprise capabilities include an increased focus on several factors which are crucial to any business : security, transparency, privacy, ease of use and the ability to gain data insights.

Unified Communications ( of which Skype for Business is a conduit ) is a term which describes the "integration of multiple enterprise communication systems accessible from multiple devices." - this means that once should be able to access video conferencing, private messaging, voice calls, data etc from a range of endpoints which include mobile phones, headsets, telephones, tablets, PCs etc.
Of course this means that strict protocols and industry standards need be maintained to ensure a consistent and user friendly experience.
Manufacturers such as Polycom, Plantronics, Jabra, Yealink and Sennheiser all are accredited Microsoft Technology Partners which allows them early access to developments so that they can deliver cutting edge, certified products which will tale full advantage of any new features or improvements to the platform.

multi device usage in SKype for business

It is interesting to note that the rise of such platforms is a part of the concept of "consumerisation of IT" - this is the way in which the increase in personal usage of relatively high end IT products has increased expectation in the workplace.
When someone finds it incredibly simple to set up a three way conference video call on their mobile at home it is nt difficult to see that, in business, they will expect similar and even better features and performance from their products - some of which are shown below.

Some Top Skype for Business Endpoints

Jabra Motion Office

Jabra Motion OfficeThis could be seen as the future of Unified Communications - a lightweight, unobtrusive headset which fits over one ear and which is powered and charged by a solid controlling base station.
The base itself houses a colour touchscreen to access a range of call handling and enterprise features. This headset can connect to softphone, deskphone and mobile. A worker can easily wear this all day( it boasts up to 360 hours standby time ) and connect to all devices necessary - even coming with a micro USB adaptor for PC connection when on the move.
View the Jabra Motion Office »

Sennheiser SP 20 Speakerphone

Sennheiser SP 20 SpeakerphoneWhilst the highest performance Conference units will cost upwards of several hundred pounds we have to admire the simplicity and portability of the Sennheiser SP 20 Speakerphone.
Rather than one of Polycom's 'spider phones' which can handle large meeting rooms this is perfectly aimed at the UC/ SFB adopter.
It is, in its essence, little more than a portable and self powered computer speaker ( connecting via USB or 3.5mm jack ), but in reality it is a high powered and fully duplex conference unit which has incorporated many of Sennheiser's bespoke sound enhancing features such as Voice Clarity, Echo Cancellation, HD Sound and a Noise Cancelling and fully duplex microphone.
View the Sennheiser SP 20 »

Polycom VVX601 Media Phone

Polycom VVX601 Media PhoneAt first phones were telephones and then they became IP phones, then IP endpoints and now we have the IP Media phone - the Polycom VVX 601 has a large touchscreen display via which one can access a full range of options which include not only voice, but video conferencing as well.
It has two usb ports as well as a traditional RJ9 headset port.
The phone can be powered over ethernet ( POE ) which makes deployment over Unified Communicatiosn ( or Skype for Business naturally ) all the more convenient.
View the Polycom VVX601 »

If you are interested in endpoints for your Skype for Business platform, be it headsets, conference phones, telephones or just require further information as to how moving to a Unified Communications/ a Hosted IP telephone system could help your business then please get in touch here or call us on 0844 824 6664 - our Skype for Business Certified products can he seen here