Microsoft adds new calling features to Skype for Business

Microsoft is adding new features to its high-end Skype for Business service, just as Amazon and Google are trying to get into the enterprise cloud-conferencing game.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
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Microsoft is adding two new calling features to Skype for Business Cloud PBX.

The company is adding an Auto Attendant feature, providing an automated answering and call routing; plus a Call Queues capability, which allows incoming calls to be routed to the next available live attendant in the order received.

Microsoft announced both features at the Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando today, March 27.

Microsoft is beefing up its Skype for Business service at the same time as cloud rival Amazon is getting into the conferencing space with its own Chime service; and Google is trying to reposition its Hangouts service to appeal more to enterprise conferencing users.

Microsoft also announced a preview of a new Skype for Business Call Analytics dashboard at the event, which aims to provide IT pros with better visibility into call issues.

In 2015, Microsoft began offering three new Skype for Business services as part of its high-end Office 365 E5 plan: Skype Meeting Broadcast; PSTN Conferencing and Calling and Cloud PBX. Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling provides users with the ability to make and receive traditional phone calls in their Skype for Business client and to manage these calls using hold, resume, forward, and transfer.

In the last six months, Microsoft added more PSTN Calling and Conferencing features, including iOS CallKit integration; Skype for Business client for Mac; and a new Skype for Business Server Cloud Connector edition for connecting on-premises telephony systems to Skype for Business Online.

In other Skype news, the Skype for Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app is no longer in preview. Microsoft removed the preview tag from the app last week and added a few new features, such as support for Skype SMS, the ability to search Skype chats for specific messages; and the ability to switch microphone, cameras, or transfer to new devices during a Skype call.

Microsoft is continuing to offer the more fully featured Win32 version of Skype client (for now), alongside the UWP version.

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