Skype for Business Online Meetings

Office 365

Applies to: Office 365

Topic Last Modified: 2017-04-27

Skype for Business Meetings provide the ability for up to 250 people to collaborate online by using features such as video, audio, instant messaging, or content sharing.

Users can start or join an ad-hoc Skype for Business Meeting with just a few clicks in the Skype for Business client or in Office. Skype for Business lets users escalate simple instant messaging conversations or email conversations to PC-based, multiparty audio and video meetings with shared desktops, applications, and documents.

Skype for Business provides for Skype for Business-based, multiparty (three or more users) audio conferencing capabilities. Skype for Business multiparty audio provides users with an adaptive audio codec for optimal performance under varying bandwidth conditions, visual call and roster controls, network quality indicator, and powerful user management features (for example, drag and drop a participant name to add them to a meeting).

In addition to audio, Skype for Business enables users to connect through high quality video sessions. Both person-to-person and multiparty (three or more users) sessions are supported. Active speaker video is available only for multiparty sessions. With Skype for Business, users can easily schedule an online meeting with video or seamlessly escalate an IM session to a video call.

The video experience is enhanced by the following features:

  • HD video   Users can experience resolutions up to HD 1080P in two-party calls and multiparty conferences.

  • Gallery View   In video conferences that have more than two people, users can see videos of participants in the conference. If the conference has more than five participants, video of only the most active participants appears in the top row, and a picture appears for the other participants.

  • H.264 video   The H.264 video codec is now the default for encoding video on Skype for Business desktop clients. H.264 video supports a greater range of resolutions and frame rates, and improves video scalability.

Multiparty Skype for Business audio and video capabilities might not be available in certain countries due to regulatory restrictions. For details, see About license restrictions.

In Skype for Business meetings, presenters have access to the following meeting controls:

  • Mute or unmute all attendees, or mute individual attendees.

  • Block attendees from starting video.

  • Hide names on the pictures.

  • Change permissions so that all participants are attendees instead of presenters.

  • Send email invitations to additional people.

  • Backstage content preview if the user is a presenter.

In a Skype for Business meeting, participants can select from the following options depending on how they want to view the meeting content, presenter, or participants:

  • Gallery View shows all the participants’ pictures, or videos, plus meeting content.

  • Speaker View shows the presenter’s picture or video at the lower-right corner of the meeting window, plus meeting content.

  • Presentation View shows only the meeting content.

  • Compact View shows the tiles of the participants’ pictures in a compact window.

If the number of participants in a Skype for Business meeting exceeds 75, then the participant list (presenters and attendees) in the meeting roster will be truncated so that an individual attendee sees only the presenters and the individual attendee’s own name. The full participant list remains visible to the presenters in the meeting. Also, Gallery View and IM errors are hidden from the attendees.

Dial-in conferencing is the ability for users to dial into a Skype for Business meeting or conference from a phone. For dial-in conferencing, you set up users to be able to use Microsoft or a third-party audio conferencing provider (ACP) as their dial-in conferencing provider. To do this, see Assign Microsoft as the dial-in conferencing provider to a user or Assign a third party as the dial-in conferencing provider for a user.

  • If necessary, some of the users in your organization can use Microsoft as the provider, and others can use an ACP. A list of ACPs is available on Microsoft PinPoint.

  • For details on dial-in conferencing providers, see Dial-in conferencing in Office 365.

  • Multiparty Skype for Business audio and video capabilities may not be available in certain countries due to regulatory restrictions.

Skype for Business provides powerful PC-to-PC and multiparty data sharing capabilities. Desktop sharing enables presenters to broadcast any visuals, applications, webpages, documents, software, or part of their desktops to remote participants in real time, right from Skype for Business. Audience members can follow along with mouse movements and keyboard input. Presenters can choose to share the entire screen or only a portion.

Application sharing enables presenters to share control of software on their desktops without losing sight of participant feedback or text questions. Presenters can also delegate control of the application to meeting participants.

Skype for Business provides multiparty PowerPoint presentation, with higher-resolution displays and support for PowerPoint capabilities, such as animations, slide transitions, and embedded video. Mobile devices can also access the presentations because the feature uses standard HTML 5 and JavaScript to broadcast PowerPoint presentations. Users with the appropriate privileges can scroll through a PowerPoint presentation independent of the presentation.

  • Upload of other file types, including multimedia content, is not supported.

Skype for Business provides multiparty web conferencing capabilities including virtual whiteboard and annotations. A whiteboard is a blank canvas that can be used for collaboration, with text, ink, drawings, and images. Annotations made on whiteboards can be seen by all meeting participants. The whiteboard feature enhances collaboration by enabling meeting participants to discuss ideas, brainstorm, take notes, and so on.

Skype Meeting Broadcast lets you produce, host, and broadcast meetings to large online audiences -- up to 10,000 attendees. You schedule a meeting using the Skype Meeting Broadcast scheduling and management portal. You use the familiar meeting experience within Skype for Business to produce a professional, engaging event for your audience. Attendees can join and engage in the meeting from anywhere on any device.

Several roles are required for producing a Skype Meeting Broadcast. These include:

  • Organizer: Creates the meeting request and invites attendees. Reviews meeting reports.

  • Producer: Manages the meeting sources (live presentations, dial-in presentations, audio, video, and PowerPoint decks), records the event, and posts the recording to Office 365 Video.

  • Event team member: Participates in the meeting by presenting live or dialing in from a remote location.

  • Attendee: Watches the event online.

The polling feature enhances collaboration by enabling presenters to quickly determine participants’ preferences. During online meetings and conversations, presenters can use polling to gather anonymous responses from participants. All presenters can see the results and can either hide the results or show them to all attendees.

The recording feature allows organizers and presenters to record all aspects of a Skype for Business session, including who entered the meeting, audio and video, and content from IM conversations, program sharing sessions, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, whiteboards, and so on. Organizers and presenters can choose 480p, 720p HD, or 1080p Full HD as their preferred resolution for client-side recordings. Recordings are saved to the organizer’s or presenter’s computer. To make a recording available to others, the organizer or presenter can move or copy the recording to a shared location. To learn more about changing the location and resolution of a Skype for Business recording, see Skype for Business recording location and resolution.

With the Lobby feature, users decide who gets into the meeting directly, and who waits until the presenter lets them in. This feature is recommended for large meetings, or meetings that will involve confidential or sensitive information. Different Lobby options can be set for users who are connecting through a Skype for Business client and users who are dialing in.

Skype for Business now supports both authenticated and unauthenticated Skype for Business attendees. If a user receives a Skype for Business Meeting invitation but does not have an account with your organization, he or she can still join the meeting by using Skype for Business and signing in with the Guest account.

The Skype for Business desktop client includes an Outlook plug-in that provides users with single-click scheduling of online meetings in Outlook. Participants can join with a single click from the Outlook reminder, or through the Outlook meeting itself. Organizers can set up meetings using predefined conference properties, or can set meeting types and admission policies for specific needs. Details (such as meeting time, location, and attendees) follow the familiar Outlook template, and conference call-specific information (such as dial-in number and meeting passcode) are automatically populated (access phone numbers require a third-party dial-in audio conferencing service). For more information about scheduling Skype for Business meetings, see Set up a Skype for Business Meeting.

Skype for Business supports a maximum meeting capacity of 250 users.

Skype for Business Online users who also have Exchange Online can use Outlook Web App to set up Skype for Business Meetings. Details (such as meeting time, location, and attendees) follow the familiar template, and conference call-specific information (such as dial-in number and meeting passcode) are automatically populated (access phone numbers require a third-party dial-in audio conferencing service).

Skype for Business Web Scheduler provides a web-based way to schedule a Skype for Business Meeting. It provides a browser-based conference management experience that includes operations such as the following:

  • Scheduling a new online Skype for Business meeting

  • Viewing a list of existing meetings that the user has organized

  • Viewing and modifying details of an existing meeting

  • Deleting an existing meeting

  • Sending invitations

  • Joining an existing meeting

Customers using Skype for Business Online can upload content to a Skype for Business meeting as attachments, such as PowerPoint presentations, OneNote files, and other files. The retention period for content that has been uploaded to a meeting is as follows:

  • One-time meeting   Content is retained for 15 days starting from when the last person leaves the meeting.

  • Recurring meeting   Content is retained for 15 days after the last person leaves the last session of the meeting. The retention timer resets if someone joins the same meeting session within 15 days. For example, assume a Skype for Business meeting is scheduled to occur on a weekly basis for one year, and a file is uploaded to the meeting during the first instance. If at least one person joins the meeting session every week, the file is retained in Skype for Business Online servers for the entire year plus 15 days after the last person leaves the last meeting of the series.

  • Meet Now meeting   Content is retained for 8 hours after the meeting end time.

If a user is unlicensed or disabled in ActiveDirectory (that is, if msRTCSIP-userenabled=False) with DirSync, and is then re-licensed or reenabled, meeting content is not retained.

Users can access a specific meeting after the meeting has ended, subject to the following expiration time periods:

  • One-time meeting   Meeting expires 14 days after the scheduled meeting end time.

  • Recurring meeting with end date   Meeting expires 14 days after the scheduled end time of the last meeting occurrence.

  • Meet Now meeting   Meeting expires after 8 hours.

To view feature availability across Office 365 plans, standalone options, and on-premise solutions, see Skype for Business Online Service Description.

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