Microsoft has announced that it has delivered on its promised roadmap of bringing Skype for Business Online features to Microsoft Teams.
The company detailing its plan last year had revealed that it planned to eventually replace Skype for Business Online with Microsoft Teams to become the primary client for Intelligent Communications in Office 365.
Microsoft on Friday said it has delivered on its plan with Teams has now achieved “feature parity” with Skype for Business. That means Teams, a new chat-based workspace announced in late 2016 is now ready to take over Skype for Business in the corporate workplace to meet messaging, meeting and calling needs.
As part of their effort to help organizations with no dedicated IT resources to make a transition to Teams., Microsoft says it will provide them “automated upgrades” to its new collaboration platform “Teams.”
With regard to upgrade options, Microsoft says it will contact these customers through email and in the Office 365 Message Center.
To assist, Microsoft also has rolled out resources and guidance over the past couple of weeks to assist Skype for Business customers making a transition to Teams. These tools include a self-serve guidance that features a “proven success” framework for switching to Teams, as well as the upgrade tools required to migrate users.
These upgrade tools are starting to roll out now, and can be access in the Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Admin Center. Microsoft expects them to be “fully” available to all Office 365 customers later this year.
In recent weeks and over the last few months, Microsoft has released many new features to Teams to deliver Intelligent Communications, including integration with Cortana bringing “voice commands” to make a call or join a meeting, among other things.
Teams also added support for inline message translation for users to converse in their native language.
Other features added recently, such as Teams now offers unified presence, federated chat, and contacts, real guest access, cloud-based meeting recording, various calling capabilities, and improvements to the device ecosystem.
Here is a full list of features that Teams now gained recently:
- Cloud-based meeting recording, support for larger meetings of up to 250 participants
- federated meetings that provides the ability to host meetings across many organizations
- meeting lobby so you can qualify dial-in callers before they join your meeting
- dial-in fallback support to ensure people can join a meeting even in the event of network issues.
- boss and delegate support, call queues, auto-attendant, consultative transfer, do-not-disturb breakthrough
- ability to forward a call to a group, and out of office support.
- direct routing helps bringing own telephone service to Teams, which along with Calling Plans provides more choice for dial tone in Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft also made enhancements to the devices ecosystem for Teams, such as:
- Update for Skype Room Systems that enables to join Teams meetings
- Teams app for Surface Hub in the Microsoft Store;
- Teams Conferencing Gateway, which allows to use existing Skype for Business certified SIP-based phones with Teams
- USB HID Support for Teams, enabling customers to answer, end calls and control mute and volume using USB peripherals
Besides, cloud video interop services will now support Teams meetings with existing VTC systems with offerings from Pexip, Polycom, and Blue Jeans. Microsoft plans to make generally available later this year.
Microsoft also has delivered on its promised “end-to-end encryption” for Skype on Windows desktops, iOS, Mac, Android and Linux.
For getting started using Private Conversation, users need to generate an invitation by selecting this option either from a recipient’s profile or in the compose menu. This end-to-end encrypted private conversation should support audio calls, text messaging and image, audio and video file transmission using industry standard Signal Protocol from Open Whisper Systems.
Those using UWP /Microsoft Store version of Skype should note the Private Conversation feature is not enabled as of now.
Microsoft is also testing a new “SMS Connect” feature in Skype that will let users send and receive SMS messages from the Skype app on their PCs or Macs.
Microsoft says over 200,000 organizations now using Teams, including nearly 70% of enterprise customers who use Skype for Business Online.