Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Skype for Business Readiness Series (2/15)

Today I joined the second session of the Skype for Business Readiness WebCast Series and the topic for today was the New Windows Client Experience.

The Webcast was recorded and will be made available offline within a month from today and also the slides will be available for download one month post the session.

Emoticons in S4B are synched with the ones in Skype.

Nikolay Muravlyannikov did a good job presenting, I especially liked his use of the term "PBX plastic phone", made it clear somehow.

With the new S4B client there is a new CsClientPolicy flag named "EnableSkypeUI", this will control if the s4B client will get the Skype look and feel or look like the current Lync 2013 client. A lync administrator can control this setting but not the end-user. There are a S4B or Lync 2013 "skin" available, but not a Lync 2010 skin. The server side client policy is not yet available for Lync Online tenant administrators and it is not available using a Lync 2013 server back-end.

Rate my call is feature from consumer Skype that will be in Skype for business as well.


After a voice/video call is completed the user can rate the quality of the call, this data 
will go to the backend QoE database which has been expanded with some new tables. How often the users will see the rate my call dialog box is configurable by the administrator using a client policy frequency setting. The frequency can be set between 0% (to never show the rate my call dialog box) to 100% (to always show the rate my call dialog box.) The default frequency is set to 10%.There will be some kind of report to access the "rate my call" information, but this is still under development.

Several questions and comments on the support of response groups mobile clients came during the session. Seems to be a feature many users are missing in the product.

Here comes the QnA session, 35 questions and answers, enjoy!

New features

Can we run the Lync 2013 client and the S4B client at same time?

Can we run the Lync 2013 client or the S4B client at same time as the Skype consumer client?

Will the S4B client work with a Lync 201x server?
Yes, the S4B client can be used against Lync 2013 and Lync 2010 (plus Skype for Business Online as part of Office 365)

Are there any changes for S4B in regards to Federation?
Yes, it will be possible to search directly in the Skype Consumer Directory and also to add users with a Skype ID.

Will Skype consumer users be able to look up S4B users in the directory?
The Skype Directory only contains Skype consumer users, but they can add a S4B user using the SIP address.

Will the S4B to Skype federation still require Microsoft ID on the Skype consumer side?
Skype ID and Microsoft Account will both be supported for federation with Skype consumer users.

Can the chat history be present on all devices like it is on skype; Start a conversation on the mobile and then switch to the desktop where both my sent and received messages are present on the desktop?
This functionality is called Server Side Conversation History and will be included in Skype for Business Server. For Server side conversation history to work the user mailbox must be on Exchange 2013 or Exchange online. (There were some conflicting information about if this would work with Exchange 2010 or not.)

What kind of logging/troubleshooting features are there on the client for diagnosing user issues?
The logging and troubleshooting aspects of Skype for Business should be the same as for Lync 2013. There will also be support for sending new telemetry data from the client.

Are there any changes in the copy-paste experiences?
Yes, there are improvements to the copy/paste and text selection experiences.

Will debugging tools be the same as the ones we can find with Lync 2010/2013?
CLS is used on the server side. And we are introducing some new UI features in the resource kit to make management of CLS easier.

Do call-via-work require S4B servers or is it only a client feature?
Call-via-work requires a Skype for Business backend.

How long does it take to place a call via work? is there a great delay for the user?
The initial call from the client uses UCWA to place the call. There should not be any delay as long as web services connectivity is working as expected.

Is it possible to have your Presence show "In a Call" when receiving an inbound call using "Call via Work"?
For incoming calls that are answered on the desk phone, the presence on Lync does not change to "In a call".

Can a Lync administrator preconfigure the number used in "Call via Work"?
Yes, this is possible.

Will call-via-work work together with location based routing?
Yes, this should work.

Call-via-work, is not that already available with Lync 2013?
Yes, call-via-work for mobility was already available, where a call placed from the mobile app, the server calls the user's phone back via PSTN. Call-via-work on the Skype for Business client is used for outbound calling to leverage the desk phone/mobile phone to make calls.

If an organization would use Mobility extension to fork an incoming call to both a PBX Phone and Lync Client, would a user be able to control and/or pick up the call on the Lync Client (when call via work is configured)?
Yes, it should work the same way. So the Lync client would ring.

During IM sessions sometimes the server sends CANCEL request and the IM's are lost, client responds with a 487 session terminated if IM is not reached within 60 seconds?
With S4B server, there are new client policies to control the time before which the spinning wheel will show up. Then there is the auto-accept feature for mobile clients so that the messages are accepted just like in the desktop client. This again needs S4B server + Exchange 2013.

Will there be Skype for business windows 8/8.1 app (metro)?
No. No change for desktop apps like S4B client, but stay tuned for our universal apps feature with Windows 10.

Unchanged features

Will there be Language Packs for the new S4B Client?
Same as those available for Lync 2013 desktop client

Will persistent chat be available in Skype for Business?
Persistent Chat will be available in the S4B client; similar as in the Lync 2013 client and Persistent Chat is still separate Server Role.

What is the size in MB of the S4B client?
The size is similar to Lync 2013 client.

Is the new client exe still lync.exe or skype_something.exe?
In the current release the Name is still lync.exe. This is good in case you have applied QoS using a group policy for lync.exe. There are no plans on changing this exe name or DNS records anytime soon.

What is number of multiview streams in video conferences - same 5 video streams?
Similar to Lync 2013, any number of participants can share video. Video of the most recent active speakers will be visible as part of the "standing" portion of the gallery in the client.

Where is the whiteboard and other collaboration features?
The whiteboard and other collaboration features are available via Present > More ...

Are all the security features (encrypted IM, voice, and video) still in Skype for Business and will it stay?
Yes, that is not changing.

How can regular users differentiate between S4B and consumer client users?
Skype contacts in your contact list will appear as [DisplayName - PresenceState - Skype]

Regarding the Monitoring role, a backend SQL Server will still be required, we cannot use SQL Express for that?
No changes in backend requirements for Monitoring.

What codecs will the Mediation Server support in the communication with a gateway/SBC?
Same as in Lync Mediation Server 2013.

Will the client tracing folder be in the same location?
Yes, the client logs location is not changed from the Lync 2013 client.

Will we still need to fill in the PIC request for Skype federation?

Will the snooper tool be included in S4B reskit tools?
Yes. Snooper will be in the Debugging Tools like it is in Lync Server 2013 Debugging Tools now.

Features "missing"

Will there be a web interface for users without a client install?
No, Lync Web App (new name?) is only for meeting joins, there is no web client for p2p sessions.

Will it be possible to login with multiple accounts in a S4B client?
No, only one user will able to login on a client at a time.

Is recording done on the server side or still on the client side?
There is no server side recording supported.


  1. I'm also interested to know what the requirements for Server Side Conversation History are. I attended the session and also came away with conflicting information.

  2. Hi Miha, ok let's try to ask the team again for clarification. Another session coming up today in about 15 mins...

  3. Ok, got a new answer now: Server Side Conversation History needs Exchange 2013 or Exchange online. It will not work on Exchange 2010.

  4. Hi, thank you I was 90% that was the case, but now it's confirmed. A shame...for us at least.

  5. Good info and now it it close to the RTM version. I hear rumours...

  6. Hi,
    I have question, in our company we dont use exchange, we use postfix, so if we buy Skype for busines, so we won't have converstion history without any exchange server? does it work or saves converstions (server-side and/or client-side) without any version of exchnage?

    Thank you

  7. Correct - you need Exchange to get conversation history in Skype for business. Check out this post for some more QnA on conversation history: