2015 was the year of Skype for Business. Since its rebrand, SfB has really taken off in the corporate environment and is widely used for IM and presence, as well as for voice and video calling. Has it now become the de facto standard for desktop communication?
At StarLeaf, we see many more customers asking about integrating their meeting rooms with Skype for Business compared to those who previously asked us about Microsoft Lync. The rebrand, combined with Skype’s ease-of-use as a desktop application, certainly has made a difference. With Microsoft’s recent announcement extending its offering to enterprise voice support, it is clear that the adoption of Skype for Business is only going to continue.
While SfB has captured the desktop user’s imagination, the same cannot be said about the Skype for Business meeting room experience. Getting a high quality video and audio experience that is as easy to use as the desktop application has been very difficult to do. Yes, there are solutions out there (some provided by Microsoft themselves) that try and bring Skype for Business into the meeting room but, so far, these solutions have not enjoyed the same widespread adoption.
On the face of it, a BYOD policy could make a lot of sense as a solution; the IT department don’t need to manage the large number of new huddle rooms and users can join meetings from their desktop application connected to a monitor with USB microphone & speaker. In practice however, the interoperability nightmare of rooms outside of the IT department’s responsibility means that they are likely to be used less than they should be as they tend not to stay working for very long. Couple this with a poor audio and video experience; trying to get peripherals to function as they should do, and it is easy to see that these spaces won’t be as well-used as first imagined.
From a user perspective, it is clear that video meeting room users want to be able to easily join Skype for Business meetings just as they would at their desk but with the added advantage of a high quality meeting room experience. This means no complicated dial strings, pin codes, or SIP URIs. Why should you have to dial email@example.com and then enter a 9 digit pin to join your weekly meeting?
Equally for remote participants, it should be easy to add a local meeting room into the meeting without having to jump through many complicated hoops. Today, this is difficult with Skype for Business – have you noticed there is no video dial-in information in a Skype for Business invite?
That’s why StarLeaf launched the GTm 5250 Skype for Business meeting room solution, specifically designed for joining Skype for Business online meetings at the push of a button. Easy to manage and simple to use.
It runs Skype for Business natively so has the same functions and features that you get with the desktop application, but is an appliance not reliant on the dreaded Windows updates.
The user interface enables a smartphone-like dialling experience. You dial contacts by name, you have a favorites list, and you can enter meetings at the push of a button. Meeting rooms that weren’t initially invited to the Skype for Business meeting can easily be added even if the meeting organizer is from a different company.
As well as being simple to use, the GTm 5250 has all of the audio and video functionality that your meeting room needs to get the best meeting room experience. From single screen huddle rooms with a desktop microphone, through to dual screen collaborative boardrooms with multiple ceiling mounted microphones, multiple PTZ cameras, and high end AV connectivity: the GTm 5250 can slip seamlessly into any environment.
Making the meeting room experience both simple and great quality is what StarLeaf is all about.
The growth in Skype for Business is a huge opportunity for people who have either never used video for their meetings before or have tried but found it too difficult to use in the past. Wouldn’t it be a shame if Skype for Business continues to be restricted just to the desktop world?
If the future is video and if 2015 was the year of Skype for Business on the desktop, is 2016 the year of the Skype for Business enabled meeting room?
Find out more about the options available for extending SfB from the desktop to the meeting room in this whitepaper.
Publish Date: March 29, 2016 5:00 AM
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