Conferencing is transforming into a Skype world, we’re just living in it. I’ve recently consolidated our conference vendors to Microsoft’s Skype for Business, thus saving my company over $1,000 per month – you should consider doing the same.
Skype for Business is available as a standalone product or as an option within Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of services. Skype for Business conferencing provides you with all the tools that you need for calling, audio & video conferencing and screen/application sharing.
Recently, Skype for Business has expanded to include Dial-in Conferencing (aka PSTN Conferencing) with Microsoft as the dial-in conferencing provider. In a nutshell, you can add a dial-in toll number (toll free numbers coming soon) to your Skype for Business meeting within your existing Office 365 subscription:
This allows us to have conferences with dial-in numbers from one single vendor. For those of us responsible for managing technology vendors, we can consolidate conferencing vendors down to one – thus simplifying vendor management, billing, user provisioning/de-provisioning, and more.
This sounds too good to be true, right? And, you might be thinking that it’s expensive. It’s a surprisingly affordable to add Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing to an existing plan, see the Skype for Business Online licensing overview which is summarized below:
- Skype for Business Online Standalone Plan 2: Additional $4 per user per month for dial-in conferencing
- Office 365 Enterprise E1: $4 per user per month for dial-in conferencing
- Office 365 Enterprise E3: $4 per user per month for dial-in conferencing
- Office 365 Enterprise E5: Free, E5 includes dial-in conferencing
- Office 365 Enterprise E5 without PSTN Conferencing:
- For E5 licenses purchased through a Microsoft CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) such as FMT Consultants, please contact your reseller to purchase the CSP version of PSTN Conferencing (PSTN Conferencing is required to be purchased separately to comply with tax rules)
- For E5 licenses in regions where PSTN Conferencing isn’t available (see regions where PSTN Conferencing is available), the PSTN Conferencing add-on is not yet available
Provisioning dial-in conferencing to Skype for Business users is very straightforward, it can be performed in the Office 365 Admin Center or via PowerShell. After dial-in conferencing is enabled for a user, his/her Skype Meeting invitation will be updated with a local (toll) number for dial-in users to user. More details are available in the Dial-in conferencing FAQs.
Meeting invitations can also be customized for your company in the Skype for Business admin center, where you can add your company’s logo, help URL, legal URL and footer text:
With all of the recent enhancements to Skype for Business, it’s becoming the one-stop shop for all your conferencing needs. Contact FMT Consultants by filling out the form below to learn more about Skype for Business, including the ability to obtain Skype for Business via our Tier 1 status as a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider