When Microsoft announced the new roadmap on Skype for Business many IT leaders would have been concerned about the quality of connections that they could offer their business users.
Verizon have revealed that they are part of the new Skype for Business platform and will be able to deliver the solution over their private network via Verizon’s SCI (Secure Cloud Interconnect). Quality of Service is critical for voice traffic and while Skype works on the public internet it often suffers from poor quality, the Verizon announcement will allow businesses to ensure that voice quality is maintained on their calls, especially once the PSTN breakout is enabled by Microsoft.
They are not the only partner that was announced at Enterprise Connect and Microsoft appear to be making a serious play for voice telephony in the business sector with the new Skype. Other partners include AT&T, BT, Colt, Equinix, Level 3 Communications, Orange Business Services, TATA Communications, Telstra and Vodafone through Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365.
SCI was launched in April last year and Microsoft Azure was one of its first connectors, in fact it is now one of the most comprehensively connected private networks out there. It is available in more than 150 countries and delivers several key components that companies expect for their telecommunications solutions including stringent service level agreements, including latency and packet-loss; easy scalability; varying classes of service; strong security (encryption) and exceptional service.
Clients can sign up to be part of the preview for Skype for business in the summer, but this is only available for US customers initially. Later in the year Microsoft will be connecting enterprise grade PSTN connectivity to the solution as well. It will be interesting to see what resistance there is to Microsoft as they seek to corner the lucrative business telephony market.
At the moment Google and Amazon has little answer to this threat and in bringing together Office365 and Skype into a single business solution this could be a winner for Microsoft. Verizon are well placed to ensure that they retain their customers using their PSTN and voice services as they migrate them across to the pure IP solution.
While there is quite a long lead in time from this announcement to launch one wonders whether this is to bring several key clients on board from day one.