Skype for Business, previously known as Microsoft Lync Server, is an easy-to-use messaging interface that integrates common forms of business communication and online meetings, such as instant messaging (IM), voice over IP (VoIP), presence, file transfers, voice mail, web conferencing, video conferencing and email.
Skype for Business can be used on virtually any Windows PC or mobile device as long as you have a good internet connection. It can be deployed on premises, the cloud or as a hybrid service.
Skype for Business can either be licensed as a stand-alone product or be included as part of the Office 365 application suite. It’s available as an on-premises server, which is the Skype for Business Server or a cloud-based service called Skype for Business Online.
Exclusive features that are available with the Skype for Business Server include the persistent chat, which is a topic-based discussion session that remains active after users leave and Enhanced 911 (E911). Being part of the Office 365 Business Premium and Business Essentials plans, Skype for Business Online supports HD video and audio conferencing for over 250 people and enterprise-level technical support.
Through Polycom RealConnect, Skype for Business also offers interoperability with Polycom video conferencing. The service also lets you conduct sessions users on Cisco and Polycom video conferencing endpoints. Microsoft’s video conferencing hardware vendors are Logitech and Creston.
Other features include:
Using open standards like the H.264 video codec
Controlling communication across Windows 8 devices and architectures.
Whiteboarding, file sharing and also screen and app sharing within a communications session.
Mobile push notifications, external keyboard support, and screen reader.
An automated and custom presence that’s based on Out of Office or Outlook Calendar status.
An auto attendant system capable of answering and routing inbound calls.