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We all know Skype thanks to the way in which it has connected us with many people anywhere in the world. However, given the growing demand for international connections in the workplace, meetings, conferences and information exchange, in which executives from their roles demand direct and fluid communication despite not being in the same place, the alternative is born Skype for business or Skype for business.
Skype as we know it is close to 17 years in the market. Its growth has also revolutionized the way we communicate, not only through text, but through voice and video that was the main objective of its creators Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom. By presenting their “crazy idea” to Estonians Priit Kasesalu, Ahti Heinla and Jaan Tallinn, they created the technical solution to develop it and start its first version.
Nowadays, Skype, already in the hands of Microsoft since 2011, is considered as one of the pillars of strategy of cloud services of this company, providing the possibility, not only to maintain effective communication between millions of people in the world through any device, but, opening towards the business field, in which more entrepreneurs, investors and business strategists, expand their chances of success by taking Skype business to the maximum advantage.
What Skype can do for your company
One of the keys to achieving a company’s success is effective communication inside and outside it. It is no surprise to anyone that today an effective conference can be held over the Internet, but the greater the tools and possibilities, the greater the scope and productivity that we can obtain from it.
This is precisely what makes it possible to use Skype tools once we obtain the Skype for Business license. Barriers and any geographical constraint are left aside and interaction and communicative exchange are facilitated in a successful, simple and very friendly way for the user.
Another important aspect that is necessary to assess, are the exclusive benefits offered by being linked to Office 365, because its features, unlike conventional Skype, are specially designed for business.
What does this mean?
- When hiring Skype for business, a solution adapted to the needs of our company and that differentiates us from our personal needs is acquired. The characteristics of this service are based on the activities, tasks and efforts of a company, including sharing and doing tasks, delegating, writing down the calendar and working organically on goals and objectives.
- Integration with Office 365 makes it possible for information to flow in a simpler and more organized way. Thanks to the harmony that is achieved by joining productivity tools with communicative tools, you can easily work from this platform with the applications that you have always been accustomed to: Word, Excel and Outlook, respectively, therefore, here the progress Labor and productivity are elements that are fulfilled optimally and efficiently.
Skype for Business Features
When we analyze the advantages of creating a business Skype account, we realize that, they definitely thought about it very well. Its designers took into account aspects that perhaps we ignored that we might need in our company.
Let’s go deeper and take a look at the main differences:
- While conventional Skype allows us to make a conference with a maximum of 50 users, in the business you can share a screen working with up to 250 people in a simultaneous call.
- From 10 to 10 thousand people: The number of meetings with Skype for Business is now unlimited, and it can be done from any device, be it Android, iOS, using Skype for Business for Mac, or Skype for Business for Windows.
- Other types of resources that are always attractive and often end up being essential for a team, for example, collaborative whiteboards and the ability to annotate directly in PowerPoint. The question and answer sessions that remain there, and are part of this integrated system with Office 365 license that leaves everything in the cloud, maximizes the productivity of each meeting and the communication of the team of the work team; taking her to another level.
- The fluid communication that necessarily is personally left behind. And the useful resources of the office, are transferred to this platform, developing in a simple and enriching way for the business.
- As for instant messaging, the contributions that this software allows us to consider are varied. Users can, for example, let their team know by status, if they are present, available, absent, offline or if they have requested not to disturb. This information is present in the entire suite of Office 365 applications.
- Through the Internet Protocol (IP) network it is possible to send and receive messages in real time and is available for a Skype to Skype communication or between several entities. For added security, the MI text has an encryption.
- Call Plans: Skype for Business Online includes call functionalities in the RTC or switched telephone network. These allow searching, assigning and acquiring telephone numbers to its users so that they can make and receive calls inside and outside the organization.
For those with their assigned phone numbers they have the possibility of making voice calls on all devices with Skype for Business and can control the calls through various functions such as deactivate / reactivate audio, suspend / resume, transfer and call forwarding.
Online business aspects that went to the next level
Skype, in the hands of Microsoft (Microsoft Teams) went much further with this to provide greater possibilities for business communication over the Internet and led to terms that probably never came to think. Its 4 main aspects are:
- Online meetings: With more possibilities than ever, making high-quality audio conferences and video conferences is much more than a myth today. Having Skype for business web and holding conferences in this way with anyone and anywhere is now much simpler and more efficient.
The features of scheduling assistance, note taking, screen sharing and the possibility of recording meetings, as well mentioned, are one of its greatest strengths.
Another highlight is that you can keep everyone informed about the meeting, before, during and after the event, sending invitations, sharing the agenda and showing the content in the room with the participants, enjoying quality HD audio and video .
- Live events: Did you think you wouldn’t have participation because you couldn’t go? This no longer has to happen. It is possible to organize large-scale meetings and events and completely live. Presentations, webinars and events for the entire company can be given with up to 10,000 attendees inside and outside the organization.
- Audioconferences: With a global dial-up number, people can join meetings and connect with each other directly via any telephone. You just have to download Skype for Business for PC, or download Skype for Business for Mac as appropriate, and hire the service.
The possibility of only using the mobile phone to be able to enter a meeting is a useful option in the event that people are traveling, do not have access to a PC at that time, or when Internet connectivity is limited, a meeting Only audio can go well and meet the requirements.
- Devices: Cameras, headphones, speakers, desk phones, conference phones and room systems, are the various devices for meetings that this Teams allows to connect, thanks, in addition, to its certified partners among which are HP, Lenovo, and Yamaha, among others.
What are the costs of Skype for business
Once we know all the functionalities (if we have not yet acquired it) the first question that arises is, how much does it cost? Well, Skype for Business is acquired with office 365 as explained above, and it offers at least 3 types of plans or packages, to choose the one that is most attached to our requirements and needs.
- Office 365 Company Essentials: It is the most basic plan that costs 4.40 Euros, respectively. This plan includes basic tools and business services on PC, Mac or mobile, excluding desktop versions. Among its services are Teams, OneDrive, Exchange, and SharePoint, as well as the web and mobile versions of Office applications, mail and calendar, storage and use of shared files and technical support.
- Office 365 company: With all the services included in the basic plan, but also with the Office Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and Access applications (PC only). Desktop versions for PC and Mac computers are also included in this plan, which costs € 8.80 per user per month.
- Office 365 Premium Company: It is the most complete of all plans with all applications and services included, in addition to the security and compliance that are vital points for every company. (Protect email against malicious software spam and threats, in addition to controlling who accesses the information of our company and when they do) and has more than 1000 security and privacy controls. Technical support is also part of this plan, online and telephone continuously. It has a cost of 10.50 Euros.
All these costs of each plan are per user per month and with an annual subscription. You can see them on their website:
How many Skype users are there in the world? Those who love him and those who hate him
Skype is of great preference for an exorbitant number of users worldwide, and is, in fact, the most used VoIP service with somewhat more than 300 million users per month. Since 2016 the company has not given more details of official figures, but it is estimated that it will continue to be around this figure.
These data, so far, can only yield positive and encouraging results for the company. This means, among other quantifiable aspects, that Skype has more than 1.4 million connections every minute and there are more than 2 billion connections per day. At some point, an infographic presented on the official website of the company, reflected that this figure is enough time to travel to the moon and return at least 225 times.
Other independent studies have also shown valuable data, such as that international calls via Skype account for a third of world traffic, and that the service, until a few years ago, did not stop experiencing significant growth.
But not everything is rosy, and Skype is no exception. Although we have shown all its positive aspects that really fulfill the function of connecting people, as we can see reflected in these figures, Skype also has detractors who have experienced bad service and have drastically divorced the company, leaving strong complaints and inconvenience expressed in different social media.
What can be a disadvantage for a user when setting up Skype for business?
Certainly, when evaluating opinions, testimonials and reviews, there is no platform that perfectly meets each of its features 24 hours a day and for all its billions of users. All of them have their technical failures at some point, and the important and key thing at this point for such a momentous company is that their technical service and customer service in these difficult situations to manage, stay active and provide timely response.
Some alternatives to Skype for business
Of course there are, even beyond the famous Google Hangout, and Slack, a platform that is being used today, connecting workers and entrepreneurs of the same company and providing simple and good features, which also stand out for its benefits and availability for free.
Let’s see some examples:
- Facetime: This video chat program is intended for Iphone, Ipad and Mac devices, in which it is also possible to make video conferences with 32 participants simultaneously, and offers the option of Internet telephony with or without video. In many cases this platform is already pre-installed on the devices and has an end-to-end encryption. A negative point is that it does not include sending files, and that it is only available for Apple.
- Google Duo: It is a good option if it is simplicity and for the most basic aspects. Its main function is video calls between two participants and videoconferences of up to 8 people. Whoever receives the call can see who is on the other side of the phone before answering thanks to the live preview. This application is available for Android and iOS users, and the latter do not have to create an extra Google account because their phone number is enough.
- Wechat: It is available for almost all operating systems except Linux. It has multiple features including video conferencing with up to 9 participants, IP telephony with or without videos and file transfers. An important disadvantage presented by this application is that its data protection does not have a very good reputation.
- Whereby (former Appear.in): It has a very good reputation, mainly because of its friendly features and speed. Its app is available for Android and iOS, but the web version is great on mobile and is quite complete and interesting. There is a free version that allows up to four participants in a videoconference, and the payment, for less than 10 USD, can be included 12, and book up to 3 rooms with the name you want to choose. With an added USD 5 these can be recorded.
- Gluppi: It is the most recognized alternative to business Skype because it has been able to take business communication into account and has not left this aspect lightly, also claiming that it facilitates unified communications which generates multiple possibilities to take advantage of it (while Skype for business allows communications by chat, voice and videoconference)
It also works with instant messaging for short consultations, a virtual switchboard in which different departments are managed and automated messages, cloud storage, audio conferencing, videoconferencing and IP telephony can be programmed.
It is always important to know how we can get help if you need it for any technical problem that comes our way. So, when in doubt, Where can I get help for Skype for business? The company explains that if you are an active customer, you can visit the technical support from Microsoft office so that your case is attended in a personalized way.
To get in touch with any eventuality, check if your question is explained in detail on its support page, or contact the assistance service.
If this functional tool for your company is not yet among your options, you could join the list of the more than 300 million users who have connected through this platform, and have found in it the way to make their business even more productive with employees and customers anywhere on the planet.