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The Skype for business mobile experience - good, bad or indifferent?

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The Skype for business mobile experience - good, bad or indifferent?

Written by Modality Newsroom on 24, May 2016

The world is evolving; users are reliant more and more on technology they can place in the palm of their hand. Having a mobile device has become the norm for almost all of the world’s population. In this blog, I will take a peek into the Skype for Business device world to explore what this means for the end user.

Iain-Smith_Circle-ImageMicrosoft were quick to jump on the opportunity to join the race with the Skype for Business mobile app which runs on Windows, IOS and Android. With the new cross platform application readily available in the relevant App Store or Marketplace for your device, let’s take a closer look at how the application works in real life.

First, we delve into the tech to find out if there are any differences between the Skype for Business Desktop Client vs the Skype for Business Mobile Application (aside from the differences in look and feel).

From investigation and functional benchmarking, I produced the below comparison table.


Further information can be found on the Microsoft TechNet article.

Note: My experience is from using the IOS Skype for Business application

The Good, Bad or Indifferent

Is the Mobile application across the different mobile operating system ready for daily use as an application you can rely on? Largely yes.

The key point here is that (at the time of writing) there is functionality you would expect to see still lacking on some of the OS platforms. Example being response group, call transfers or boss admins capability, and other things like PowerPoint presentation and the use of whiteboards, polls and file sharing. All of these elements on the mobile application are not present.

However, for the day to day usage I think it has all the features you would expect at a basic level. The bridging between desktop client and mobile client IM’s is now present with the IM chat pushed to both endpoints at the same time and therefore you won’t miss a conversation you started on the desktop client when using the mobile application. Also the ability to join conferences on the move are all good additions to the SfB version of the application.

For me though I still think some of the more pressing basics are missing and have been missing since the launch of the Lync 2013 application a few years ago. One of the main questions I’m asked from my client’s time after time is when will Microsoft bridge the handoff between WIFI and 3/4G connection?

An example being you start a call on WIFI and for whatever reason you move out of range of the WIFI signal. In an ideal world, the SfB client should recognise this and take the necessary steps to bridge the call as a 3/4G data call instead. As of now, the SfB application simply gives up and disconnects you from your call/conference.

In summary, I’ve asked myself three questions around the SfB application:

  1. Is the application as feature-rich as the desktop client?
    No, and personally I don’t think it will get any additional features over and above what is currently available.
  2. Do I see it as a key addition to showcase to a client as part of my presales delivery?
    Indifferent: Clients now see a mobile application as part of the product-set as a mandatory item these days, and therefore the days of gushing about the mobile application are filled with outlining elements it still can’t do instead.
  3. Do I see a need for the client on a day-to-day basis?
    Yes, even though I believe the mobile client only delivers 80% of the key functionality (less on an Android device) I still see it as a necessity in the world of mobile technology. 


Iain Smith | Managing Consultant

Modality Systems

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