Skype Previews New Features for Enterprise Clients

Meeting broadcasts, landline and mobile dial-ins, and cloud-hosted PBX are a few of the features that Skype will be previewing for its business customers this summer. The Internet communications company took the wraps off its Skype for Business preview version Wednesday, giving clients a sneak peek at the new features while the company works out some final kinks and solicits customer feedback.

Microsoft, SkypeEUs parent company, launched the latest version of Skype for Business earlier this year with the promise that new, enterprise-grade features would be coming in the summer. Clients interested in testing the new functions will have to sign up for the preview program.

Town Hall Meetings and Landline Dial-in

Because it's a pre-release program, Skype said it will not be able to accept all applications, although the company said its goal is to allow as many people as possible to participate before making the next general release. Not all features will necessarily be included in the final version, the company said.

Of the various enterprise features Skype is previewing, one of the most appealing to businesses may be Skype Meeting Broadcast. The feature enables organizations to broadcast meetings to up to 10,000 people, who can attend from browsers on most devices.

Meeting broadcast is designed to make it easy for companies to host large, virtual town hall-style meetings and public webinars. The preview includes integration with Bing Pulse, for real-time polling and sentiment tracking, and Yammer, to enable attendee dialogue during the broadcast.

Another major new feature the company is testing is PSTN (public switched telephone network) Conferencing to allow people invited to Skype for Business meetings in Office 365 to join the meetings by dialing-in using landlines or mobile phones. The new capability should be particularly useful to employees who need to connect from locations without Internet...

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