Skype for Business Server 2019 Public Preview Announced

August 31, 2018   //   Cloud Communicate & Collaborate Unified Communications

Skype for Business Server 2019 has reached the public preview stage, which makes it available for download to try in your development, testing, and quality assurance environments.

What’s New:

At release, tighter integration with the cloud is at the spotlight.

  • Better Voice Recognition: As you may be aware, voicemail provided by Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging didn’t always have the best reputation. While the occasional mistranslation would add some comic relief to your workday, it’s not exactly doing what the system was built to do. With Skype for Business Server 2019, you will have the capability to leverage Cloud Voicemail, which is the new Office 365 voicemail offering that has far more sophisticated speech recognition.
  • Digital receptionist: Hand-in-hand with better voice recognition, you will also have the ability to use Cloud Auto Attendants. Often referred to as a “digital receptionist,” Cloud Auto Attendant bypasses the need for a telephone operator or receptionist by automatically routing callers to the right person or team.
  • Call Quality Tools: Gone are the days of separate tools for on-premises and cloud implementations. The call quality tools allow you to send call detail records and quality information to the cloud where they can be combined with data from your online users. These tools are made readily available without the need for installation, and Skype 2019 will give you the ability to leverage them with Call Data Connector.
  • Call Analytics: The data you collect in the Call Data Connector can then be reviewed in the Call Quality Dashboard or via the Call Analytics tool, letting you drill down right to the type of headset used, network quality information, and other valuable information.
  • Direct Migration to Teams: Previously, the path for companies that were ready for Teams was Skype Server to Skype Online and finally to Microsoft Teams. The new version of Skype for Business 2019 will eliminate that middle hop and let you get users right into Teams.

What didn’t make the cut:

Several features won’t be available. The standout being persistent chat, however, this feature shouldn’t be missed too much since the capabilities of Microsoft Teams eclipse this old premises-based tool. The XMPP gateway is gone, but that really shouldn’t be missed. SQL mirroring isn’t an option moving forward, the superior SQL AlwaysOn is the best option with SQL failover clustering also working well. Unified Messaging isn’t gone just yet, but it’s “de-emphasized” going forward with the preference being Cloud Voicemail. Finally, there are no in-place upgrades, you’ll need to install Skype for Business 2019 on a fresh Windows 2016 instance (or at some point 2019) and move users over.

Should you be planning your upgrade?

The changes are important, however, upgrading paths are a complex topic involving cloud capabilities. With SWC’s vast experience in Microsoft telephony, both cloud and on-premises, we can help you determine where and when to move.

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