If you’ve recently upgraded to Skype for Business 2015, you may have spied a little black box popping up in the corner during a call or meeting.

This is Call Monitor. And it’s the new Skype for Business Feature we’re talking about today.

What Call Monitor Does

Call Monitor is a small box that appears during a call, if you switch views away from the Skype for Business call window.

It’s a miniature version of the call window. Which looks like this.

Skype for Business Call Monitor

Skype consumer users will no doubt recognize Call Monitor. It’s been introduced into Skype for Business Server 2015, in keeping with the Lync/Skype combination goal.

From the Call Monitor, you can do several things:

  • Mute the call
  • End the call
  • See who’s talking (the photo bubble will show the avatar of the person talking)
  • See the video stream (if you’re on a video call)
  • Bring the call window back – just double-click on the area where you see your name & the call timer (right of the photo bubble)

Since the Call Monitor box has limited functionality, you have to switch back to the call window to share screens, present or view Instant Messages. However, it’s a useful way to stay involved in a conversation while doing other tasks.

It is set to stay on top. Which can sometimes get annoying, I know. But that keeps with its function – reminding you you’re still in a conversation.

I actually find the little box helps me focus, in fact. “Hey, somebody’s talking to you! They need Information X!”

What About Call Monitor Pro?

Back in March I blogged about Call Monitor Pro, a tool created by Matt Landis which replaces & expands upon the Call Monitor functionality.

Image courtesy of Matt Landis' Call Monitor Pro.
Image courtesy of Matt Landis’ Call Monitor Pro Page.

There’s a free version with limited function, which I tested and found an excellent add-on for Lync. (Matt kindly quoted my post on his above-linked page.) The Enterprise version has even more capability – for instance, a Call Park button.

So we have two options here. The built-in Call Monitor in Skype for Business, and the add-on Call Monitor Pro for Lync Server 2013 and Skype for Business 2015.

Which should you use?

If you’re still on Lync 2013, the answer’s obvious. Call Monitor Pro – even the free version – gives you all of the above features, plus a few more (extra buttons, extensibility).

When using Skype for Business, you can’t go wrong with the built-in Call Monitor. But, if you’d like a little more control from the Call Monitor window, try out Call Monitor Pro.

Final Thoughts – Call Monitor = Better Call Engagement

I described Matt’s Call Monitor Pro as having “narrow focus” and a “snappy little tool”. It still is, definitely. Skype for Business’ Call Monitor is too – a handy little “extra” that keeps you engaged in your current conversation. And still lets you do your work.

What are your thoughts on Call Monitor and/or Call Monitor Pro? Please comment or email.

And join us back here again next week! You never know what’s up next on the blog…though I will say we have more posts planned for discussing new Skype for Business features.

Skype4B Features: Call Monitor
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