July 1st Microsoft opened up the preview for Skype for Business which allows select customers who have an E4 License or Skype for Business Plan 2 to enroll and test out the following: Skype Meeting Broadcast: 10,000 person internet meeting, with integration into Bing Pulse as well as Yammer integration.
PSTN Conferencing: Allows you to create a Skype for Business meeting with a dial in number when your Skype resides in the cloud.
Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling: This is the ability to make and receive traditional phone calls via Skype for Business without having to have a traditional on premise solution.
I was able to get into the preview program for the last two, Broadcast Meetings is not something that applies to my current situation. I have been wanting for awhile for the Cloud PBX to come to fruition, as I find that in this day in age of the cloud, that being able to offload this functions is great from a management standpoint but even better when considering DR Solutions. Telephony is usually the hardest to place in a Disaster Recovery situation as it requires you to maintain a secondary circuit, and to a certain extent, a secondary location that is available if needed. For most small and medium size business the expense tends not to be outweigh the risk. In the case of Skype for Business PBX, it lives in the cloud and thus your disaster recovery location becomes anywhere you have a quality internet connection. Considering SMB's that could be people working from home, or multiple smaller venues via computers.
Dial In Conferencing:
From a configuration standpoint, the process was pretty painless. Upon acceptence into the preview program you receive an e-mail with some one time codes that you need to enter into your Office 365 portal. This works just like adding an additional license of any of the Office 365 products. Once you have enabled the PSTN Conferencing you will notice that your "Microsoft Bridge (preview)" will have a list of numbers from different regions.
Once those numbers are available you can then go into the user properties, dial in conferencing and select the provider of Microsoft. Once you have selected Microsoft you can select from one of those numbers.
This becomes the number that is added to all of the users Skype for Meeting requests. You will also notice that a Passcode is created for that user as well. This is to allow for multiple users to use that dial in conferencing number.
When the one time code mentioned above is applied to your account you will then see a "Skype Voice" option on the left hand side of the Skype for Business Dashboard.
Upon Clicking this, you will see phone numbers (preview) and voice users (preview). Under the phone numbers option, you will see a blue button that will allow you to add new numbers by region and area code.
When you want to add a phone number to a specific user, you can select the voice users (preview) tab and find their name. If they do not have a phone number currently you can assign a number, if they do you can change\remove.
At this point the next time they login to the the Skype for Business Desktop Client, or Lync 2013 client on the iPhone they will see the dial pad, and have the ability to send and receive calls through Skype.