Microsoft Teams integration with Skype for Business

The voice/video/meeting component of Microsoft Teams is built on the next generation of Skype for Business infrastructure (which is touted to bring about the unification of the Skype consumer and Skype for Business platforms).

There is a number of integration differences when looking at Microsoft Teams as well as Skype for Business Server vs. Skype for Business Online. In short Microsoft Teams does not talk to Skype for Business Server, only the Online version as part of Office 365. This is documented so should not come as a surprise, and hopefully will be addressed when the product is fully released sometime early this year, if not in the near future.

However, it is important to note with the below screenshots that I am using Skype for Business Online, but the other users are on-premises.

The presence display carries between both systems:

Users in Microsoft Teams are presented with a feature limitation warning on talking to someone on Skype for Business:

There is a nice icon in Teams to show the user that the other person is using Skype for Business:

Users receive a toast notifications from both Skype for Business & Microsoft Teams:

Where the conversation continues depends on which toast notification you click.

Skype for Business meetings show up in Teams:

If the user clicks on the Join button on a Skype Meeting from the Teams client – it will re-direct them to the web interface of Skype for Business and from there launch the client.

A more in-depth look at the integrations is available on Richard Brynteson’s blog.

Experiences with Cloud PBX (Skype for Business Online)

Over my years at Paradyne I had run Lync in a variety of environments – on-premises, in a datacentre, and with a couple of different hosted service providers.

Being acquired by Generation-e just over a year ago allowed us to bring the Paradyne cloud skills together with the Generation-e unified communications skills – specifically with Skype for Business.

For the past year we’ve been running in an on-premises environment, and have held off moving our users to Cloud PBX in Skype for Business Online for a couple of major reasons:

  • No Response Groups (aka Hunt Groups)
  • No PSTN calling

In fact PSTN Conferencing was only made available in Australia on the 1st of September 2016.

When I visited the Hyperfish office in Kirkland WA late last year I was jealous of their use of full Cloud PBX functionality – something we couldn’t have in Australia.

So the only choices available in Australia (and most other parts of the world that aren’t USA, UK or France) for organisations that have Skype for Business on-premises infrastructure is to utilise a hybrid deployment where all calls are still routed via the on-premises infrastructure but users live in Cloud PBX. A simplified version utilises the “Cloud Connector Edition” which requires less on-premises infrastructure. Anyway, I digress.

To get Cloud PBX working with on-premises infrastructure is somewhat straight-forward and available in this article:

The experience

As an end user I haven’t really noticed any difference. The only thing that threw me is that instead of having a localised dial-in conferencing number assigned based on user location policy, in Australia we only have a single number with a Sydney prefix (02). How I was thrown was when I dialled in a customer they asked me if I was Sydney-based (I am actually based in Melbourne).

However you can assign numbers from various capital cities to individual users by following the process on this support page:

(I have since done that for myself and now have an 03 Melbourne prefix for my dial-in number.)

I don’t really do much international conferencing with parties that don’t already have Skype for Business – but if that were to arise I can easily enable PSTN conference dial-in numbers for other countries:

The only loss of functionality is the Unified Messaging functionality. As we were using Exchange Online there was no Australian language pack available which meant we never had voicemail preview (speech to text conversion), so all I’ve lost is the embedded media player:

And now instead receive the voicemail as MP3 file attachment:

Apart from that the experience is no different than on-premises. The call quality both when on a PSTN call or conference call is superb, and we can now see the usage details in the Skype for Business Online admin centre:

As well as the ability to see call quality in the Skype Call Quality Dashboard:

My migration experience: barely noticeable.

My usage experience: same as before.