It has now been 1 week since I installed the Skype for Business Technical Preview client. Here’s what I learned.

Services Tested

I’m using a Lenovo Ultrabook Helix. Prior to installing Skype for Business I used Lync 2013 on this machine. The upgrade went through with no errors and a single reboot.

In the past week I’ve conducted:

  • 9 IM conversations
  • 4 Enterprise Voice calls
  • 1 Lync Meeting/Skype Meeting
  • 2 Persistent Chat sessions
  • 2 file transfers
  • 1 Video chat/call (as a test)

Overall, I’m surprised at just how similar to Lync 2013 this client is. Aside from the UI change, this operates so closely to Lync that I’m tempted to call it just a cosmetic update.

But that’s not entirely the case. True, we’ve talked more about backend changes than client-based on the blog (and I look forward to examining those in detail later on!). But the Skype for Business client has a few changes of its own.

Improvements over Lync, & What’s the Same

The following is a list of observations recorded throughout the week. Every time Skype4B 2015 did something different from Lync, or I caught myself performing a task exactly as I did in Lync, I made a note.

  1. IM windows are saving their sizes & screen positions now! This always bugged me with Lync; it kept forgetting my window sizes.
  2. The main client window stretched to a full-screen vertical column on load. I prefer a smaller “floating” window, but this isn’t much of an irritation. Adjustable anytime.
  3. Moving the Presence indicator to a circle at bottom-right is growing on me. I liked the left-side vertical bar, but the circle provides a slightly-faster recognition of Presence status.
  4. The custom Presence statuses I set back when I did this post: Lync Add-Ons: Lync Custom Status Tool
    were preserved in the update! I still have “Wrestling a Wolverine” and “Assisting a Customer” (those ARE two separate things, I assure you…) among my Presence choices.
  5. There is a brief hesitation between clicking the Skype taskbar icon and the window popping up. Lync did the same thing. (I think it’s system-related.) No change in behavior here.
  6. File transfers to Lync 2013 users will break sometimes. It’s not consistent, and likely caused by the Technical Preview interfacing with a previous version (Lync 2013), but I’m noting it here.
  7. I like how quick in-window file transfers are to initiate.
  8. Options menus are almost exactly the same. (Seriously, I’m not finding any differences aside from the name “Skype for Business” where “Lync” was.)

Skype for Business Client

Crashes/Hangs/”Not Responding”

I only experienced two instances of crashes, hangs or the dreaded “Not Responding” error.

  1. In Options, when clicking from “Video Devices” menu to “Audio Devices” menu (this temporarily enabled my webcam until closing Options).
  2. When adding video to my test video chat/call. The call froze and I had to reconnect. Once I did, it worked fine.

This suggests that the video portion of Skype for Business still has a few bugs.

Frankly, I expected MORE bugs in a Technical Preview. The fact that I only had these 2 issues was both perplexing and encouraging. My thought process went like this: “Okay, there’s one issue. Same issue from another angle too. Wait, is that it? Everything else is working fine. It’s a beta, there has to be…nope, that works too!”

DELAYS: Occasionally I did notice a slight delay in conversations. They only occurred when adding services (e.g. file transfers, video) to an existing IM conversation. Most likely a result of network hiccups, possibly sprinkled with a bit of inter-version communications. It was not significant enough to frustrate me or cause me to note them as a bug.

Final Impression: Can I Keep Skype for Business?

I’m impressed by how smooth the Skype for Business client has been. The Technical Preview is scheduled to end April 30 (Skype for Business 2015 is slated for release sometime in April). I will be sad if I have to switch back to Lync 2013, even if it’s only temporary.

In fact, let me make a recommendation. If you do use Lync Server 2013 now, and you plan to upgrade to Skype for Business? Transition the clients first. This client app will work with Lync Server, and it gives you time to familiarize users to the new UI.

Have you tested the Skype for Business Technical Preview yet? What were your observations? Please comment or email.

A Week with the Skype for Business Client
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10 thoughts on “A Week with the Skype for Business Client

  • March 25, 2015 at 12:49 pm
    Permalink

    Copy and paste not working from IM messages….
    Operation seems to work (select text and use copy option) but when u paste it paste the copy before (from outside SfB)

    Reply
  • March 26, 2015 at 3:10 am
    Permalink

    I was so eager to test it, but, left heartbroken…
    First experience was with O16 January preview, and after it expired, I had to revert to company’s standard Office 2010 suite, also with Lync2010 client.
    As soon this technical preview was released, I downloaded and headed for install. Got prompt that I need Lync2013 client as this is an update to that client. Ok, I installed Lync2013 basic and rerun tech prev install which in the end completed without errors.
    but
    there is no sign of S4B client, it is plain normal interface, except! Taskbar icon is changed to Skype icon 🙂
    weird…help?

    Reply
  • March 27, 2015 at 7:11 am
    Permalink

    one item I noticed is the S4B Client at this time doesn’t have options for forwarding calls. In Fact, if you have calls forwarded, ie. to your cell phone, in the Lync 2013 client, then sign into the S4B client on another machine, it will disable your call forwarding features in the 2013 Client as well.

    Otherwise, I’m really liking the new client, and so far, all my customers that I’ve shown the client to have had very positive responses with it. I would have to agree strongly with you that if one is looking to upgrade to S4B Server, upgrade the clients first. it will be a much easier transition from an end-user perspective.

    Reply
    • March 27, 2015 at 7:53 am
      Permalink

      Russ,
      Thanks for the comment. I have mine set to Simultaneous Ring, and it didn’t disable anything when the phone rang. Curious. I’ll see if I can duplicate your issue.
      Appreciate the vote on upgrading clients first!

      Reply
  • March 30, 2015 at 6:40 am
    Permalink

    Hi Chris!
    Let me know if you’re able to reproduce the same issue I was seeing with Call Forwarding. just for full disclosure, I am running it on a Windows 10 Tech Preview 2 Build 10041. I just tested and I don’t even get a simultaneous ring option under S4B client.

    Reply
  • March 31, 2015 at 2:05 am
    Permalink

    Like the look of the new interface, though having issues seeing any posts on Lync Persistent Server sessions, backend infrastructure is all Lync 2013 based. Can post but just do not see any historical posts ever. Use 2013 client or turn on the 2013 UI on the preview and historical posts are visible.

    Have not seen any issues with call forwarding, though running tests on Windows 8.1 x64. If that makes any difference.

    Reply
  • August 25, 2015 at 7:03 am
    Permalink

    Vytru launched a Lync/Skype for business Web Chat Widget

    Web Chat Widget for Microsoft Lync/Skype for business will help you to connect you anonymous website visitors to engage and interact with your Lync/Skype for business users through IM, Audio, Video and content share.

    check http://www.vytru.com/web-chat-widget.html

    Reply

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