A reader comment drew my attention to this post from way back in 2011: 3 Ways to Start Conversations With Lync Auto-Contact URLs
They asked a simple question: “Could you do this (set auto-contact URLs) with a Skype for Business ID?”
Yes, you can! What’s more, you have more parameters to work with in Skype for Business. I found several sources to help us out here, with lots of good detail. Links at the end of the post.
I’ll follow the same format as my original post. If you’re curious about adding Skype for Business links in places like emails, on a webpage, etc., this is how you do it.
#1 – Call a Skype for Business Number From Your Browser or Email
In the previous post, I mentioned the “TEL:+12223334444” link format. You use “TEL:” plus the country code (1 for the U.S.), plus the area code, plus the number. No spaces and no quote marks. The HTML structure look like this:
<a href=”tel:+12223334444″>Call 222-333-4444</a>
This format still works! In fact it’s near-universal; almost every app that can facilitate VoIP calls will recognize it, including Outlook. The TEL: link works on mobile as well.
(You might see a popup window asking you which app you want to open the TEL: link.)
Though we do have a caveat here. The sheer number of VoIP-enabled apps – Skype for Business, Skype (Consumer), WhatsApp, Viber, Google Hangouts, Facebook – means your computer may not associate TEL: links with Skype for Business by default. If not, and you want it to, you may need to reset the association. Here’s how to do that.
On Windows 10, this is done in Settings, under System. Click “Default Apps”, scroll down, and click “Choose Default Apps By Protocol.” Scroll until you see the “TEL” protocol. If Skype for Business isn’t the default already, click the app that is and choose it in the popup menu.
On Windows 7/8, go to the Control Panel. Choose Default Programs, and then Set Default Programs. Locate Skype for Business in the list (it may be under “Lync (desktop)”). Click the “Choose Defaults for This Program” and check TEL:.
Reference: Changing the default app used to open tel: links on Windows – MarkWilson.co.uk
#2 – Auto-Contact Link to a Skype for Business Account Name
Now we come to the reader’s original question…initiating a call using a Skype for Business ID instead of a phone number.
Can you do this with a Skype for Business user account name? Yep! But not with the TEL: link format. And the IM: format doesn’t work too well anymore (I think it’s deprecated).
Instead, we’ll use “SIP:”.
You’d code the link like a regular email link. SIP: goes in place of the MAILTO:. Other than that, it’s exactly the same.
<a href=”sip:firstname.lastname@example.org″>Call Mike with Skype4B</a>
NOTE: Skype for Business’ default response to SIP: links is NOT to start a call. It’s to initiate a new Conversation. Starting a call only takes one click from there, of course. But I don’t want to mislead anyone.
This is the best way to use Skype for Business account names on websites or in emails. From the Conversation window you can start voice, video, sharing, etc.
But when it comes to meetings, there’s an even simpler way.
#3 – Auto-Contact Link for Conversations or Meetings
Links using SIP: work to start a Skype for Business Conversation. If you want to post/share a link to a Skype Meeting though, you don’t even need a special link format. You just need the meeting’s URL. To get that…
- In Outlook, click New Items > Skype Meeting.
- The New Skype Meeting window opens. Enter whatever details & attendees you want.Before clicking Send, copy the “Join Skype Meeting” link from the meeting invite.
- Paste the link into any email, chat, or webpage you want. Meeting links normally look like this:
(I inserted random numbers at the end; they’re normally an auto-generated meeting ID number.)
When clicked, the computer will either open a Skype Meeting window, or take you to this message:
One click to the Skype for Business Web App. Either way, you’re able to access the Skype Meeting.
Auto-Contact Links Help You Get More Use out of Skype for Business
As promised, here are the sources for this post.
- TEL, SIP, mailto, and Lync meeting links association – MSUnified.net
- Skype for business URI instead of Skype – StackOverflow
- Lync 2013 + Skype: Add Button on my web sites to call internal users from Skype – TechNet Forums
Depending on your computer and Skype for Business configuration, your TEL: and SIP: links may respond slightly differently. You should still get the same result; Skype for Business spawning calls and Conversation windows. I’m giving you a just-in-case warning.
This one capability illustrates a lot of how much the communications world has changed since I wrote that 2011 post. In less than 6 years, the pace of Technology exploded Voice over IP across millions of devices. Almost every computing platform out there can click one of these links and make a call.
With links in TEL: and SIP: format, you’re extending Skype for Business out even further. Customers can click a link on your website and talk to a support rep or VP in seconds. Pretty handy for a link, isn’t it?
Do you use TEL: and SIP: links with Skype for Business? In what capacity? Please comment, email, or tweet us at @PlanetMagpieIT.