Enterprise Connect Day 2

Zig Serafin, corporate vice president of Skype for Business, showed during this mornings keynote the capabilities of Microsoft’s new Surface Hub which includes Skype for Business integration.  Serafin showed the audience just how easy it is to share and collaborate on content.

In a flash, he pulled up an aerial view of Orlando, zoomed into the Gaylord Hotel, rotated the image showing it in a front-on 3-D view even then marked up the image, pulled it into a digital whiteboard and inked it up to ask team members to zero in on a specific location. And then he ended the session, sending off his “meeting” notes, including the image and everything else he’d scribbled on the whiteboard, to live in a OneNote folder for later recall.

Cool stuff, to be sure, but this was not the real meat of Serafin’s keynote messaging today. That would be the news that Skype for Business is now here, as is clearly evident from branding you can see any which way you turn at Enterprise Connect. Skype for Business brings together the best of Lync with the best of Skype in a newly evolved client, Serafin said. That client is downloadable now for technical review, with general availability planned for next month.

Skype for Business includes the full Lync feature set, plus some enhancements, he said. But Lync now features a more adaptive, responsive, and familiar Skype experience, is part of the Office 365 cloud architecture, and has enterprise-grade high availability and disaster recovery for secure, compliant communications. And, of course, Microsoft has tapped into its Skype expertise to amp up the video calling experience from within Lync, Serafin said. The goal is to ease the ability for users to quickly and easily launch audio and video calls without losing any functionality of Lync.

The moves that Microsoft is making with Skype for Business boils down to the company’s goal of creating a “comprehensive productivity experience.” Toward that end, Serafin announced that the company is offering enterprise voice services, including audio conferencing in Office 365 and enterprise-grade PSTN connectivity.  And Serafin announced a slew of new or enhanced partnerships, including global carriers and Polycom for SMB video.

Content first appeared on No Jitter.