Microsoft Teams to Replace Skype for Business
Anyone who’s ever read my blogs (here’s one!) or attended my presentations and webinars knows that I love analogies. When the “New Vision for Intelligent Communications” announcement was made during this year’s Microsoft Ignite conference, I immediately thought of cell phones and cameras.
Before you ask what this has to do with Microsoft Teams replacing Skype for Business, allow me to explain how history repeats itself: The first photograph was developed in 1816, and 157 years later (in 1973), the first call was made on a handheld mobile phone.
Now, imagine the shock and horror when it was announced that cell phones would come integrated with cameras! (Yes, there used to be a time before #selfies.) I still giggle at the thought of protests where the “Camera People” would hold demonstrations against the “Cell Phone People.”
Fast forward to today, and the smartphone has come to redefine both cell phones and cameras. In the short span of 17 years, it’s effectively replaced address books, spiral notepads, CDs, postcards, and so much more. Just think about all the functions your smartphone is used for on a daily basis! (e.g. Text messaging, voicemail, email, social media, scanning, etc.)
Do you get my analogy yet?
How Microsoft Teams Will Come to Replace Skype for Business
Here’s what I really mean: Cell phones represent Microsoft Teams and cameras represent Skype for Business. Even though they’re both successful, coexist harmoniously, and have separate functions, it makes more sense to combine them into one! A single platform that delivers both functionalities makes it much more efficient and effective for users.
For Office 365 users, it doesn’t make sense to use both Skype for Business and the light version within Teams. Following this announcement, Skype for Business won’t necessarily disappear, but rather, resurface inside Microsoft Teams with all its features intact.
During the “New Vision for Intelligent Communications in Office 365” session, Lori Wright definitively stated, “Microsoft Teams is core to [Microsoft’s] vision for intelligent communications—bringing together conversations, meetings, files, Office apps, and third-party integrations to provide a single hub for teamwork in Office 365. Teams will evolve as the primary client for intelligent communications in Office 365, replacing the current Skype for Business client over time.”
Introducing New Features & Enhancements in Microsoft Teams
Over the last 6 months, Microsoft Teams has seen new features and enhancements that deliver more communication capabilities, including scheduled meetings, Outlook calendar integrations, meetings on mobile, and guest access. However, moving forward into the new year, Microsoft Teams will enable far greater functionalities.
For example, audio conferencing will enable participants to join a Teams meeting by dialing a phone number, thereby opening a universal presence that includes messaging and calling interoperability between Teams and Skype for Business.
Other new features and enhancements coming by Q2 2018 include:
New Messaging Capabilities
Screen sharing during chat and federation between organizations.
New Meeting Capabilities
Meeting room support with Skype Room Systems and cloud video interoperability that allows third-party devices to connect
New Calling Capabilities
Voicemail, which enables users to use their existing telco voice line to activate calling services in Office 365
“To achieve our vision, we are bringing comprehensive calling and meeting capabilities into Teams and infusing those experiences with intelligence.” Praveen Maloo, Microsoft Teams Product Evangelist
Good to Know:
- Microsoft plans to offer and support Skype for Business in Office 365 and Server on-premises.
- For customers who are not ready to move their Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and advanced calling capabilities to the cloud, a new version of Skype for Business will be released towards the second half of 2018.
The difference between evolution and revolution is drastic change, and we cannot move forward without inciting a significant change in the way we do things. Whether it’s the slow and gradual integration of cell phones and cameras or Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, the inevitable convergence of technologies will facilitate a more effective way to create, collaborate, and connect over content.
There will definitely be some amount of push back and embracing over Microsoft Teams replacing Skype for Business, but in the long run, it will come to pave the way for the future of collaboration. In the meantime, you can anticipate taking advantage of all its new features and integrating them into your workflow!
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Tracy is a Microsoft MVP and an energetic, hyperactive adrenaline junkie who sees challenges and issues as opportunities and thrives on improving processes, environments and the general quality of life. Her broad knowledge about IT and Business gives her the ability to communicate on both levels and convey meaningful requirements and narrow the (ever present) gap between the two.