Plan for clients and devices

Skype for Business Server 2015
 

Topic Last Modified: 2017-04-18

Summary: Review of the supported clients and apps for Skype for Business.

Today's workforce is constantly on the move. Employees need to communicate and collaborate whether working from the corporate office, at regional locations, in home offices, or on the road. Skype for Business Server 2015 supports these needs through a collection of client interfaces that you can deploy to your organization's users. Thoughtful planning ensures that employees get what they need and that Skype for Business is available to them wherever they happen to be.

Skype for Business Server 2015 supports several types of clients, including computer-installed client software, web-based clients, and clients for mobile devices. Each is introduced in this section. If you've previously used a combination of Lync clients, note that there are unsupported Legacy Clients that are incompatible with Skype for Business. Updates take place regularly so check this topic periodically for the latest client information.

Skype for Business 2016 is the recommended full-featured client for Skype for Business Server 2015. See What's new in Skype for Business 2016 for a description of new features. Client feature support is detailed in the Desktop client comparison tables for Skype for Business, and user documentation is at Skype for Business help. This client is included when a user installs Office 365.

A free basic client supporting fewer features is also available. Both versions are available for download at Download Skype for Business across all your devices. The differences between Full and Basic clients are described in the Full Vs Basic section.

Skype for Business 2015 is the recommended full-featured client for Skype for Business Server 2015. The Skype for Business user interface has been fully redesigned and includes newly integrated features, such as Call Monitor, Skype directory integration, emoticons, and more. For a summary of changes, see Lync is now Skype for Business — see what's new. Client feature support is detailed in the Desktop client comparison tables for Skype for Business, and user documentation is at Skype for Business help. This client is included when a user installs Office 365.

A free basic client supporting fewer features is also available. Both versions are available for download at Download Skype for Business across all your devices. The differences between Full and Basic clients are described in the Full Vs Basic section.

The Skype for Business on Mac client is available for download, and is bundled with Office 365 for Mac. See System Requirements for Skype for Business Mac client to review prerequisites.

Clients are available for Windows Phone, and Android. Users can get them at Download Skype for Business across all your devices. Feature support for these clients is detailed in Mobile client comparison tables for Skype for Business.

The Online Meeting Add-in for Skype for Business supports meeting management from within Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client. The Online Meeting Add-in for Skype for Business software installs automatically with Skype for Business.

Skype for Business Web App is the web-based conferencing client for Skype for Business Server 2015 meetings. Meeting participants have access to all collaboration and sharing features and presenter meeting controls.

If Skype for Business is not installed on a user’s computer and the user clicks a meeting link in a meeting request, Skype for Business Web App will be installed and open. You can also configure the Meeting Join page to allow users to join meetings by using previous versions of clients. Skype for Business Web App is the client of choice for participants outside your organization. With Skype for Business Web App, no local client installation is required, although audio, video, and sharing features require installation of a plug-in during first use. See Plan for Web downloadble clients for the requirements to use this client.

Skype for Business Web Scheduler is a web-based meeting scheduling and management tool for users who don’t have access to Microsoft Outlook, or who are on an operating system not based on Windows. With Skype for Business Web Scheduler, users can create new meetings, modify existing meetings, and send invitations using their preferred email program.

Skype for Business Web Scheduler documentation provides further details

A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environment is used in some organizations where security and compliance issues are especially sensitive. Using Skype for Business with full audio and video on a connection like that requires heavy loads of audio and video processing on the client homed on a virtual desktop. Additional VDI plug-in software is available that offloads that processing to the end user’s local machine, and reduces the load on the virtual desktop. See Plan for Skype for Business in VDI environments for details on using these plugins.

If your organization bought the appropriate licenses, choose the Full client, otherwise choose the Basic client.

Your users can install the client for themselves from Download Skype for Business across all your devices. If some of your users have Macs , those users will have a different set of features as described in the tables below. The client is also installed when users install Office 365.

Some features available with Skype for Business Server 2015 are not available in Skype for Business Online, see Online or Hybrid user accounts for specifics. Skype for Business Online Admins may want to refer to Skype for Business Online Service Description for information on the different plans available to them.

Before you deploy or upgrade to Skype for Business, check which clients are already in use in your organization. Use the Desktop client comparison tables for Skype for Business to understand the feature support impact on those clients. This can help you communicate changes to users, pace the roll-out process, and fully understand the benefits of upgrading to the latest client.

Client installers are available for both MSI and click-to-run type installers. The Skype for Business client-sustainment strategy may affect your choices, so you should understand the following points:

  • In general Skype for Business does NOT add new features to previously released clients

  • In general Skype for Business does NOT plan on shipping new features in the Skype for Business MSI after its initial release. MSI improvements between releases will primarily be quality/security in nature.

  • The latest and greatest Skype for Business client experience will be found in the Skype for Business 2016 click-to-run installer.

Click-to-run is a Microsoft streaming and virtualization technology that you can use to install and update Office products including Skype for Business. These streaming and virtualization capabilities are based on technologies in Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V). Click-to-run has the following advantages:

  • Streamed installation of Office suite that results in short installation time

  • Slipstreamed Updates and patches

  • Takes up less disk space

  • User-base licensing: 5 installs per user

  • Customizable via XML Editor for the installation of independent programs

You may want to use the Office 2016 Deployment Tool for this type of installer.

Both the basic and full client versions (with choice of 32- and 64-bit versions) are available using a click-to-run installer, your users can download at Download Skype for Business across all your devices.

MSI is a more traditional installation method. It allows you to manually install updates and patches, use volume licensing and activation, and is customizable via the Office Customization Tool. You can distribute clients by applying Group Policies, by using System Center Configuration Manager, or using a third party tool.

Both Skype for Business Server 2015 and Skype for Business Online support the following previously released clients: Lync 2013, Lync 2010, Lync 2010 Mobile, Lync Phone Edition, and Lync 2010 Attendant. For information about these clients when used with other servers, see the Client comparison tables for Lync Server 2013 and Client comparison tables for Lync Server 2010.

noteNote:
The Lync 2010 Attendant client is not supported in Skype for Business Online.
 
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