Microsoft has a new tool similar to its own traditional Skype app, but with a couple of features to collaborate with colleagues and set up meetings. Called Skype Meetings, the new tool enables the initiator of the meeting to set up the process, mute all other microphones and use a virtual laser pointer or whiteboard.
“We’re pleased to introduce free Skype Meetings—a new online meetings tool that provides small businesses with real-time audio and HD video conferencing. Skype Meetings includes collaboration features like the ability to share screens and content during meetings,” a post on the company’s official blog said on Tuesday.
By launching this new tool, Microsoft is sort of empowering small business—enabling them to achieve much in a highly competitive business world. If you own a small business, Skype Meetings will enable you to organize High Definition video conferences with associates and colleagues.
If you are pretty much familiar with how Skype for Business works, then you won’t have a problem understanding the features of Skype Meetings because it’s a bit similar. While you are already able to host up to 250 people on Skype for Business, Skype Meetings limits you to PowerPoint collaboration and screen sharing, reports TechCrunch. That’s not all though, the new Microsoft tool only allows a maximum of 10 people during the first two months, with the maximum number of participants dropping to three people thereafter.
How to organize and join Skype Meetings
The tool works with virtually every device, but with a personalized URL, while calls are powered by the same technology behind Skype Business calls. This makes it pretty much easy for those who already use Skype.
With any device that has a microphone, speaker, camera and a web browser, the new app won’t pose any problem in terms of usage. However, what is not immediately clear is whether the tool is only browser-based.
Microsoft’s decision to limit usage to a maximum of 10 users within the first two months is to preserve Skype for Business. This is quite understandable considering the fact that some users may ditch of develop a kind of affection for the new tool. For small businesses, it is difficult not to see them using the new tool because it is free. However, growing businesses with staff strength exceeding the limit may have to use the other Skype app. Small businesses using the new video tool won’t be required to pay for Office 360 to keep using it.
It is easy to understand why Microsoft is pushing out this new tool. With stiff competition coming from Hangouts and Slack working on calling feature for its hugely popular chat app, staying on top of the game is absolutely vital.
If you already have Skype for Business on your device, installing and signing up for this new tool won’t be necessary. As a matter of fact, it is clear from some of the limited features on Skype Meetings that Microsoft designed it as a free version for small businesses.
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