The big announcement at #MSIgnite 2017 is all about Skype for Business being replaced by Microsoft Teams.

On the face of it, Microsoft’s big announcements made during Ignite, its worldwide customer event, could be disruptive for enterprise customers who are in the midst of the moving to Skype for Business. However, looking beneath the headlines, key details were explained during Monday’s keynote that makes this a great announcement for both Skype for Business and for meeting rooms that currently work with Skype for Business.

  • Microsoft announced a new Skype for Business on-premises server solution; Skype for Business vNext. They announced that this is to launch in Q4 2018 with support to 2020 and beyond.

This confirms Microsoft’s commitment to Skype for Business going forward and ensures that the on-premises Skype for Business platform will be around for a good while yet. This new on-premises solution will bring the latest features from Microsoft Office 365 onto the on-premises platform including refreshed Skype for Business clients and improved interoperability with Microsoft Teams.

  • Microsoft also announced as part of the wider Teams announcement that it has been working on interoperability between Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. This is the news that the enterprise has been waiting for, as it confirms that the underlying communications used in Microsoft Teams now work with Skype for Business.

The interoperability announced on Monday applies to both presence and messaging, and more importantly video calling. This was demonstrated in Monday’s keynote, when Ben Canning dialled a Skype for Business user from within Microsoft Teams, which showed the reality of a true side by side mix of Skype for Business and Teams.

In many ways the announcement that Teams replaces Skype for Business should actually have been the other way round: “Microsoft Teams now works with the 100 million Skype for Business users” would make a more compelling headline!

This is great news both for desktop users of Skype for Business and Skype for Business enabled meeting rooms, whether using Office 365 or an on-premises solution. The interoperability between the two platforms will mean that Skype for Business users and Microsoft Teams users can both make and take calls, and ultimately join each other’s meetings transparently.

The StarLeaf GTm family has been designed from the ground up to work with all of Microsoft’s various communication platforms; it is the only solution for meeting rooms that supports everything from Lync 2010 through to the latest Skype for Business platforms and soon Microsoft Teams.

Interoperability and advanced AV room integration are what the StarLeaf GTm meeting room solutions are all about, and the GTm family is ready to support Microsoft Teams meetings and calling interoperability along with all the features of Skype for Business.

This announcement cements the position of the StarLeaf GTm family as the leading choice for the enterprise looking to combine the highest level of in-room AV integration capabilities within the ever advancing Microsoft communication and collaboration ecosystem.