Users can start or join an ad-hoc Skype for Business Meeting with just a few clicks in the Skype for Business client or in Office. Skype for Business lets users escalate simple instant messaging conversations or email conversations to PC-based, multiparty audio and video meetings with shared desktops, applications, and documents.
Skype for Business provides for Skype for Business-based, multiparty (three or more users) audio conferencing capabilities. Skype for Business multiparty audio provides users with an adaptive audio codec for optimal performance under varying bandwidth conditions, visual call and roster controls, network quality indicator, and powerful user management features (for example, drag and drop a participant name to add them to a meeting).
In addition to audio, Skype for Business enables users to connect through high quality video sessions. Both person-to-person and multiparty (three or more users) sessions are supported. Active speaker video is available only for multiparty sessions. With Skype for Business, users can easily schedule an online meeting with video or seamlessly escalate an IM session to a video call.
The video experience is enhanced by the following features:
- HD video
Users can experience resolutions up to HD 1080P in two-party calls and multiparty conferences.
- Gallery View
In video conferences that have more than two people, users can see videos of participants in the conference. If the conference has more than five participants, video of only the most active participants appears in the top row, and a picture appears for the other participants.
- H.264 video
The H.264 video codec is now the default for encoding video on Skype for Business desktop clients. H.264 video supports a greater range of resolutions and frame rates, and improves video scalability.
In Skype for Business meetings, presenters have access to the following meeting controls:
- Mute or unmute all attendees, or mute individual attendees.
- Block attendees from starting video.
- Hide names on the pictures.
- Change permissions so that all participants are attendees instead of presenters.
- Send email invitations to additional people.
- Backstage content preview if the user is a presenter.
In a Skype for Business meeting, participants can select from the following options depending on how they want to view the meeting content, presenter, or participants:
- Gallery View shows all the participants’ pictures, or videos, plus meeting content.
- Speaker View shows the presenter’s picture or video at the lower-right corner of the meeting window, plus meeting content.
- Presentation View shows only the meeting content.
- Compact View shows the tiles of the participants’ pictures in a compact window.
Skype for Business provides powerful PC-to-PC and multiparty data sharing capabilities. Desktop sharing enables presenters to broadcast any visuals, applications, webpages, documents, software, or part of their desktops to remote participants in real time, right from Skype for Business. Audience members can follow along with mouse movements and keyboard input. Presenters can choose to share the entire screen or only a portion.
Application sharing enables presenters to share control of software on their desktops without losing sight of participant feedback or text questions. Presenters can also delegate control of the application to meeting participants.
Skype for Business provides multiparty web conferencing capabilities including virtual whiteboard and annotations. A whiteboard is a blank canvas that can be used for collaboration, with text, ink, drawings, and images. Annotations made on whiteboards can be seen by all meeting participants. The whiteboard feature enhances collaboration by enabling meeting participants to discuss ideas, brainstorm, take notes, and so on.
The polling feature enhances collaboration by enabling presenters to quickly determine participants’ preferences. During online meetings and conversations, presenters can use polling to gather anonymous responses from participants. All presenters can see the results and can either hide the results or show them to all attendees.
The recording feature allows organisers and presenters to record all aspects of a Skype for Business session, including who entered the meeting, audio and video, and content from IM conversations, program sharing sessions, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, whiteboards, and so on. Organisers and presenters can choose 480p, 720p HD, or 1080p Full HD as their preferred resolution for client-side recordings. Recordings are saved to the organiser’s or presenter’s computer. To make a recording available to others, the organiser or presenter can move or copy the recording to a shared location.
With the Lobby feature, users decide who gets into the meeting directly, and who waits until the presenter lets them in. This feature is recommended for large meetings, or meetings that will involve confidential or sensitive information. Different Lobby options can be set for users who are connecting through a Skype for Business client and users who are dialing in.
Skype for Business now supports both authenticated and unauthenticated Skype for Business attendees. If a user receives a Skype for Business Meeting invitation but does not have an account with your organization, he or she can still join the meeting by using Skype for Business and signing in with the Guest account.
The Skype for Business desktop client includes an Outlook plug-in that provides users with single-click scheduling of online meetings in Outlook. Participants can join with a single click from the Outlook reminder, or through the Outlook meeting itself. Organisers can set up meetings using predefined conference properties, or can set meeting types and admission policies for specific needs. Details (such as meeting time, location, and attendees) follow the familiar Outlook template, and conference call-specific information (such as dial-in number and meeting passcode) are automatically populated (access phone numbers require a third-party dial-in audio conferencing service).
Skype for Business Online users who also have Exchange Online can use Outlook Web App to set up Skype for Business Meetings. Details (such as meeting time, location, and attendees) follow the familiar template, and conference call-specific information (such as dial-in number and meeting passcode) are automatically populated (access phone numbers require a third-party dial-in audio conferencing service).
Skype for Business Web Scheduler provides a web-based way to schedule a Skype for Business Meeting. It provides a browser-based conference management experience that includes operations such as the following:
- Scheduling a new online Skype for Business meeting
- Viewing a list of existing meetings that the user has organised
- Viewing and modifying details of an existing meeting
- Deleting an existing meeting
- Sending invitations Joining an existing meeting