Preview of New Skype for Business Services in Office 365

In March, 2015, we announced our intention to deliver a full set of Skype for Business voice and meetings services in Office 365, starting with public previews this summer. Today we are launching the Skype for Business Preview Program, which will enable existing Office 365 customers, including partner companies, to try our new cloud communications services before they reach general availability. We have 3 primary objectives for inviting customers to try these capabilities in preview, before development is complete:

  • To validate our new cloud communications services at scale

  • To capture real-world feedback to improve the services and the associated documentation

  • To enable early assessment by customers comfortable with the limitations of pre-release products

Starting today, Office 365 enterprise customers can visit the Skype Preview signup page to register for the following previews:

  • Skype Meeting Broadcast, which enables broadcast of a Skype for Business meeting on the Internet to up to 10,000 people, who may attend in a browser on nearly any device. Meeting broadcast is useful for a variety of scenarios, including internal, organization-wide “Town Hall” style meetings and public webinars. The preview will include integration with Bing Pulse, for real-time polling and sentiment, and Yammer, to enable attendee sharing during the broadcast.
  • PSTN Conferencing for US customers, which allows people invited to a Skype for Business meeting in Office 365 to join the meeting by dialing-in using a traditional telephone. This traditional dial-in capability is in addition to simple, single touch join options on PC, smartphone, and browser, and allows people to join an online meeting even in places with no Internet access. 
  • Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling for US customers, which gives Skype for Business users in Office 365 the ability to make and receive calls from landline and mobile phones in their Skype for Business client, and to manage these calls using features such as hold, resume, forward and transfer. This preview is built on the proven enterprise voice technology available in Lync Server and Skype for Business Server.

The Meeting Broadcast preview is open to Office 365 customers around the world, as well as Skype for Business Server customers with an Office 365 tenant. PSTN Conferencing,
PSTN Calling, and Cloud PBX are limited to Office 365 customers in the US only at this time. In the fall, will ship Cloud PBX for customers worldwide, with a configuration option for customers to use existing on-premises phone lines for inbound and outbound calling