Skype is preferred by thousands of companies to carry out rich and live communications with dozens of employees and professionals
Skype, Microsoft’s instant messaging tool, is offered as an ideal alternative for remote work communication in times of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The state of alarm for the health crisis caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus supposes the confinement of millions of people. However, thanks to information and communication technologies, there are options to communicate and maintain social contact almost face-to-face, direct and in real time, both with colleagues, teachers and classmates, and of course with relatives and friends.
Among those options some are well known and very popular, such as WhatsApp or Messenger, which in addition to messaging allows to make calls and also group or individual video calls.
However, depending on the needs of the moment – such as the number of participants or if it is done from the mobile or the computer – some applications are more suitable than others. And among them, the preferred by thousands of companies is Skype, which receives frequent updates from Microsoft.
For professionals and SMEs the free version of Skype is recommended.
Differences between free Skype and Skype for Business
Skype, by which Microsoft paid $ 8.5 billion, has two different versions: on the one hand, we have the free one, which can be downloaded and used by all people.
On the other side, we have the Business, a business-oriented version that provides an additional layer of security and enables more people to connect to a video conference.
What are really the differences between Skype and Skype for Business tools? What is best for a common person and for a company? These questions are common and generate many doubts in people who do not know which of the two versions to choose.
Actually, it is somewhat understandable that this doubt exists, because in 2015 Microsoft changed the name of its office messaging tool, Microsoft Lync, through Skype for Business, which, although it managed to increase brand recognition, also caused a great whirlwind of questions about the differences between the two versions of the messaging service. Skype Free and Skype for Business (For Business) have several differences from each other, although they share the name, common features, logo, and color pattern.
What is the difference between free Skype and Skype for Business? The free version of Skype is the standard for Microsoft video conferencing software. It allows up to 25 people to be connected simultaneously in the same call and, although it is not recommended, it can be used in a business context.
The messenger is provided with basic tools and makes it possible to exchange messages and audio and video files. Today it is offered by Microsoft as an instant messaging service, similar to WhatsApp and Messenger, although its central function was always that of a adequate space for video conferencing.
People can use all its functions for free, unless they want to make calls to landlines or mobiles; in which case, a credit purchase must be made. Office 365 subscribers have the benefit of using 60 free minutes of service per month.
Anyway, Skype for Business is a service aimed at large business customers. In effect, it is an extra Office 365 package, which has a value of $ 2 per month for each client.
It allows video conferences with a maximum of 250 users online, very practical for business presentations and conferences. With Skype for business, the user can create PowerPoint presentations while having a conversation, and can easily enter a conference through specific links; Up to 10 unsubscribed users (visitors and guests outside the company) can participate at the same time.
It allows the recording and transmission of videoconferences for up to 10,000 viewers, who can add attachments or answer the surveys created by the person carrying out the transmission, with the help of collaborative functions.
As it is integrated into office 365Skype for Business allows instant meetings and appointments scheduled in advance through Outlook, creating links for future video conferences, which allows users who do not have this tool to participate in meetings through a web application.
Both versions include cryptography for conversations, although Skype for Business has superior security because business data is more sensitive. Microsoft ensures that audio and video connections are fully shielded and cannot be compromised, although recognized that you can “click”.
SKYPE Web and Skype for Business to work from home: which one should you use?
What suits you: free Skype or Business?
It is a question with several answers, since each version of Skype is specified for a different type of user. In addition to the fact that access to Skype for Business is limited to companies, it has a set of features that are most useful for corporate environments.
However, for the vast majority of people, the free version will suffice and cover all their needs. For private and small business users, the free version of Skype provides the basics and necessities: group calls of up to 25 participants, share files and messages.
Many companies may not even need full integration of Office 365, Cloud PBX, or streams for 10,000 people. On the other hand, for companies that are used to making online launches, seminars and conferences with a large audience, the ideal option would be Skype for Business, since it offers advanced options.
Skype Web: how to register and start using it
In general, Skype has always been an application that you have to install on the desktop in order to use it, but for a while now Microsoft also has a version that you can use directly from the browser.
The main functions of Skype for desktop are also in Skype web. This means that you can update your status and become active or absent, enter Skype profiles, add credit or telephone subscription for calls, obtain and use a Skype number, and access to the configuration.
Of course, you can also use chat and make video conferences without having to install anything on the computer. The main advantage of this web version is that, that of not having to install anything and being able to use Skype on any computer just by opening the browser and logging in.
You will also be able to activate notifications in the browser to have a more native experience, and in the settings you can change practically all aspects of your account and Skype, including the color of the design.
The web version of Skype can be easily used in any browser.
How to sign up for Skype Web
To use Skype and Skype Web you need the same account, Microsoft’s. Therefore, if you do not already have an account, the process is exactly the same as for creating an Outlook or Hotmail email.
If you have Microsoft mail you have an account within the services of this company, and therefore you can use Skype. If you don’t have it, you have to register. What you should do is enter the Skype Web website. If you are not logged in to the browser you will see a screen where you must log in with your Microsoft account.
If you don’t have an account, click on the Create one link that appears just below the space to write your email. You will go to the Skype account creation screen. As you enter from this Skype website, the first option is to create the account using a phone number.
However, if you do not want to give this information, you will also have the option to create the account using an email address instead. And if you click on Use an email address instead, you will go to a screen where you must type a name for your new Microsoft email.
This is the option we choose to create the account, and with it you will have to write a finished email at @ outlook.com, or @ hotmail.com. If the address is busy, the page won’t let you continue.
The next step is to Create a password. Here you just have to write the password you want to use in your account and click Next. Once the password is chosen, the following two screens will ask you to give your name and surname and your date of birth to create your profile. Fill in the data in these two windows and always pressing the Next button. And that’s it, after having to prove that you are not a bot by writing a series of codes, you will already enter Skype with your account.
There, first you will have to select your profile picture and read a couple of introductory pages where you can configure your camera or import your contacts. And you’re ready to start using Skype.
How to use Skype Web
After creating a new Microsoft account or logging in with the one you already have on the Skype Web website, you can start using Skype. In it, the important items are in the left column, where you will have a search engine and the categories in which to find your chats, your call history, your contacts and your notifications.
When you click on the profile of one of your contacts you can chat with them, send contact images, and even ask them for money. There’s also emoji system and everything you can ask for from a chat application, including a gallery of shared multimedia files or an internal search engine.
Top right you will have three important controls to start a video conference, a voice call or add the person to your contacts. In the search engine that you have at the top of the column on the left you can start typing a name to locate the contact.
In addition, if you click on the three-point button, a menu will open in which you can enter Skype settings by clicking on the Settings option that appears first.
Within the Configuration menu, a window will appear with a left column where the different sections are, leaving the rest to see the options within each one.
Virtual meetings via Skype for Business
Skype for Business is part of the Office 365 solution used in thousands of companies as an email and calendar solution (Outlook), productivity (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) and collaboration (OneDrive).
B Give the possibility to conduct video conferences with high quality audio and video, using any device (PC, notebook, tablet, smartphone) and up to 250 participants per video conference. Due to its characteristics, it expands the network and videoconferencing equipment available in each unit of an organization.
Skype for Business incorporates the function of holding Scheduled Meetings where an organizer invites participants who can interact through audio and video and collaborate using different options.
To assemble work teams, the process is simple, just share a link (URL) with the participants. With a single click, any of the participants can join the meeting online.
You can choose to meet instantly or schedule the meeting using Outlook. There are also powerful collaboration tools available: record meetings, share screens and files, annotate in PowerPoint, use whiteboards, poll, question-and-answer sessions, and integrated instant messaging for more productive meetings.
There is also the possibility of manage meetings using advanced calling optionssuch as muting one or all participants and transferring moderator control.
How to organize a meeting in Skype for Business?
Whoever schedules the meeting must have an active Office 365 account and have the following information:
* Date of the meeting.
* Start and closing time.
* Participants and email address of each one.
* Topic or reason for the meeting.
The easiest way to schedule (invite) a Skype meeting is to use the Office 365 Calendar which can be accessed from the URL: https://login.microsoftonline.com, by entering the user (institutional email address) and password.
How to participate in a meeting in Skype for Business?
In order to participate in a meeting, you must have or know the URL of the meeting room, sent through the calendar event or by email. Meeting participants may use an active Office 365 account, Skype for Business configured on the device used to access the meeting and take advantage of all the possibilities of interaction and collaboration available.
To access the meeting, they must open the email with the link to the meeting room, click on it and choose the option Join with Skype for Business. Those who do not have an Office 365 account can also access and participate in the meeting.
In this case, to access the meeting they must open the email with the link to the meeting room, click on it and choose the option to Install the Skype Meetings (web) application and join it.
Selecting the option will start the application installation (only the first time) and upon completion will provide the possibility of accessing the meeting. Finally, before accessing the meeting room, you can enter a name with which you will be identified in the meeting.
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