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Filling the Skype for Business Feature Gaps

Guest Post by David Maldow, Founder and Lead Analyst of Let’s Do Video

When it comes to business communications, Skype for Business is the 800lb gorilla in the room. It has to be part of the discussion. Microsoft has two huge advantages in the enterprise UC battle right now. One is that Skype4B is part of most Office 365 bundles. Deployment isn’t an issue for Microsoft, as their product is already probably on your desktop. The other big strength of Skype4B is its directory. It has been around for so long that most people you need to reach probably already have a Skype account of one form or another.

In addition, Skype4B isn’t a bad product. It is a full-fledged UC solution, with presence, text, audio and video. It also has an amazing level of synergy with the rest of the Office365 suite. Clicking on a co-editor’s comment in a Word document, and being able to start a Skype meeting with them from within Word, is really next level collaboration.

Unfortunately, Skype4B does have some gaps when it comes to addressing the business video needs of the enterprise. In order to fill these gaps, a robust, fully featured, business video solution with strong Skype4B interoperability is needed. It isn’t necessarily a good idea to simply replace Skype4B with another full featured service. If your working teams are already using Skype4B and enjoying productivity increases as a result, you don’t want to take that away from them. They key is to find a service that interoperates well with Skype4B. That way your meetings are enhanced, rather than replaced, by the business video service.demo

Zoom is a full featured business video service which announced native interoperability with Skype4B in March 2016. Native interoperability means that Skype users can dial directly into a Zoom meeting from Skype. They don’t have to shift from Skype to Zoom, and don’t pay per connection. They simply call into the Zoom meeting on Skype, just as Zoom users call into the meeting on Zoom.

This native interoperability allows Zoom to be used as an enhancement, rather than a replacement, for Skype4B. As a result, the feature gaps of Skype4B can be addressed without the need to change services. Here is a short list of features and capabilities that Zoom adds to the Skype4B experience:

  • All-hands meetings (large meeting capacity of 500 video feeds)
  • Video Webinars (up to 10,000 attendees)
  • Training with Video Breakout Rooms
  • End-user controls over personal preferences
  • Recording meetings
  • Better bandwidth efficiency
  • Including more than just Skype for Business / Lync participants
  • Include a H.323/SIP room system
  • Mac or Linux users

One way to look at it is that Zoom can turn Skype4b from a simple UC business communications tool into a full business video suite. All without inconveniencing your workers or disturbing their existing communications workflow.

Finally, using the Zoom cloud service to support your group meetings can improve the quality of the calls, regardless of whether users connect by Zoom or Skype4B. As shown below, calls hosted on the Zoom cloud offer far greater network resiliency than Skype4B. Removing packet loss-based distractions from video meetings is an immediate productivity boost for your working teams.

Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 12.02.15 PM

In an ideal world, all video services would be on an even playing field and Skype4B would not have this head start on enterprise deployment. If this were the case, many enterprises would probably choose a more robust collaboration solution. However, with Skype’s massive directory, and its placement within Office 365 bundles, it will continue to be the 800lb gorilla in the room. With this in mind, your best bet is to enhance your Skype4B deployment to ensure to truly will meet your users’ business video needs.

Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 3.32.41 PMAbout the Author:

David Maldow is the Founder & CEO of Let’s Do Video and one of the visual collaboration industry’s most prolific writers, authoring 150+ pieces of public content. Let’s Do Video is a news website covering business video technologies and strategies. LDV’s mission is to provide third-party educational content and news to the visual collaboration community. LDV is more than the typical industry resource, adding intense thought leadership to the best public facing industry coverage on the web.