On Monday, Microsoft announced a Technical Preview for the Skype for Business client! Yay!
This means 2 things: One, we have 1 month to go until Skype for Business Server is here. Two, I can test out the Skype for Business interface.
The client is installing now. I’ll do a proper review next time, after I’ve had a few days to really explore its ins and outs. For now, let me give you a few first impressions:
- Look & feel doesn’t appear much different. This might be intentional – I don’t use Skype too often, but Skype for Business is easy to recognize anyway. Microsoft WAS smart in that their UI functionality appears to emphasize clicks more than touch. I do have a touchscreen laptop, but I still prefer my mouse.
- I don’t like the ‘bubbles’ in IMs. I know it’s a Skype feature and millions of people will recognize it…I just don’t like how they look.
- File transfer IS a bit faster, at least from my perspective.
- Options menus don’t appear to have many changes (if any). Good for Lync users; they’ll have some extra familiarity.
If you want to try the Skype for Business Client Technical Preview, here are some links to help:
Evaluate Skype for Business Client – TechNet Evaluation Center
Skype for Business client on Lync Server resources: Awareness and readiness planning- Office Support
Check back next week for a more thorough review.
Office 365 Skype for Business Users Will Get Enterprise Voice
VentureBeat also has a post with timely #Skype4B details: Skype for Business will offer phone numbers to Office 365 users, available in preview this summer – VentureBeat
From the article:
“Skype for Business will offer Enterprise Voice in Office 365 with PSTN calling and conferencing. The functionality will first become available as a technical preview in the U.S. this summer.”
Honestly, I’m of two minds about this. Of course, adding PSTN calling to an Office 365 service is extremely helpful for Office 365 users. That part is great!
I commented in the past about Lync Online being “near-crippled” without PSTN calling. It appears Microsoft does intend to fulfill its PSTN promise…by introducing it in the next version.
This is where I become a little paranoid. It makes me think that Skype for Business 2015 may be the last version available for on-premise installs.
Will Skype for Business & SharePoint Move to Cloud-Only Soon?
Where does that come from? I’ll explain. See, Office 365 getting PSTN calling is one part of my concern. The other is the rumor I’ve heard that SharePoint is going cloud-only.
We do know that the next version of Visual Studio is moving to the cloud. Some developers are frustrated by this decision. I can’t blame them. I don’t work with Visual Studio myself, but I know people who do. Not having a local environment to work & test within means fundamental changes to their work style.
Will SharePoint take the same road? I’ve seen chatter indicating as such, though Googling doesn’t give me a specific yes/no announcement. Yet.
SharePoint Online does already exist. Just like Lync Online. Which will soon become Skype for Business Online, with pretty much every feature its on-premise sibling has by the end of the year…
See why I’m concerned?
We’ll have to wait and see. If you’ve heard information for or against this idea, please share it with us.
In the meantime, excuse me…I have a new Skype for Business Preview to play with.
Are you trying out the Skype for Business Technical Preview? What are your impressions so far? Please comment or email! I’d love to hear others’ experiences.