We heard you that joining online meetings for external participants was too complicated. We have worked hard to make improvements to this process, I am happy to share details on these improvements that will be live for all our Office 365 customers middle of April 2017:
Simplified meeting join experience with single-click join experience for Internet Explorer
Join audio conference via PSTN call back
Always fresh client
Optimized screen real-estate for content sharing and collaboration.
This new experience has been released to our on-premises customers with the May 2017 update for Skype for Business Server 2015. See this article to learn how to enable this in your on-premises deployment.
Let’s walk through a scenario to cover the entire meeting join experience and improvements end-to-end. Remember Garth from our training on Tenant Dial Plans? Garth is with Contoso, and he is scheduling a Skype meeting with his customer Alice. Garth schedules the meeting in his Outlook client and adds the Skype Meeting into the invite, and Alice accepts the meeting invite.
However, Garth is now is wondering how Alice can join his meeting.
Does Alice have Skype for Business?
If not, how would she be able to join the meeting
Can Alice download and install the Skype Web App on her PC?
Does she have local administrator rights on her machine to do so?
What about a headset, how will Alice be able to join with Audio into the Skype Meeting?
Garth is wondering if is there a need to tell Alice what she needs to do to join the meeting? Let’s see what happens.
Alice does not have Skype for Business installed on her PC, nor does she have local Administrative Rights on her machine.
Alice clicks the Join Skype Meeting link in the invite and installs the Skype Web App. The installation requires no administrative rights on her machine and completes after a few seconds.
After the installation, she clicks the Join the meeting button. The new Skype Web App starts, she enters her name, and is connected to the meeting.
Garth already shared a PowerPoint deck, the Web App automatically selects the best layout for the shared content and they can start the meeting. The Skype Web App UI is optimized for screen real-estate for content sharing and collaboration.
A yellow notification told her that she is using Skype for Business Audio and Video. She can also either dial-in or choose to use the call-me back function. This is useful in scenarios where external participants don't have an audio device like a headset available.
Note: call-me back requires AllowAnonymousUsersToDialOut to be enabled by the IT Admin in the conferencing policy of the meeting organizer.
The new Skype for Business Web App has several additional improvements:
Experience a faster, reliable, and more efficient screen-sharing experience The new Web App supports video based screen sharing (VBSS) improving the overall user experience in the sharing session.
Disabled controls Controls to share content are disabled for attendees. Once promoted to presenter, these controls will light up and they can start to share the screen or other content using the Skype for Business Web App.
Save Settings When exiting the meeting, the Skype for Business Web App will ask to save the current settings like the display name and preferred audio join method (IP audio, dial-in or call-me when available) for the next meeting.
Sign-In with Office 365 Account Instead of joining as a guest, you can also sign-in as an authenticated user using your Office 365 Account.
Always Fresh Client The Web App will check for newer version when joining a meeting. If an update is available, it downloads in the background, and you will join the meeting. After the meeting has ended the Skype for Business Web App will update itself. Newer versions of the Web App are backward-compatible with earlier versions of the Web App, e.g., you don’t have to install an older version if you join a meeting that is hosted in an on-premises environment.
Rate your meeting quality and help us improve A brief survey will be presented to users joining from a Windows computer through the new Skype for Business Web App experience; while you will not be able to access this data, Microsoft will use it to improve the experience further.
Garth is happy again, Alice could join the meeting right away even as this was her very first meeting with Skype for Business.