To help Skype continue making inroads into the enterprise, Microsoft has launched Skype for Business SDK (software developer kit). The new product is a set of tools that lets iOS and Android developers integrate Skype’s messaging, audio and voice capabilities into their mobile applications.
The goal of Microsoft's Skype for Business SDK is to allow Skype to power the communications experience inside applications, so developers can focus on building the unique features of their products. The initial focus of the SDK is to power what Microsoft calls remote advisor solutions that let consumer iOS and Android apps embed communications from external guests to users within a company using Skype for Business, formerly Microsoft Lync.
Skype for Business SDK customers can keep using their existing infrastructures as long as they are using Microsoft’s cloud or they have deployed unified communications on their own servers. Companies that adopt Skype for Business SDK can also keep using their existing native clients to reach their customers.
A Big Step for Business Users
Currently in preview, Skype for Business SDK is aimed at businesses that want to chat, call or video chat with remote customers via their mobile phones and tablets. Organizations licensed for Skype for Business Server or Skype for Business Online can use the SDK at no additional cost.
Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research, told us this is a big step for Skype’s business users. "Historically, Skype for business has been a desktop-first application," said Kerravala. "Given that the world is rapidly moving to a mobile-first model, the new mobile developer tools can help Microsoft bridge the gap between where Skype for Business is now and what the market needs."
Microsoft previewed the Skype for Business App SDK at its Build 2016 event in April, showing off its integration into native mobile and tablet applications powered by Skype for Business. To demonstrate, the company used a product by MDLive to show how Skype For Business can help power a secure and HIPAA-compliant system for patients and providers to communicate as well as share and review patient medical records and lab results and provide assessments.
Kerravala added that the remote advisor functionality of the SKD preview should be well received by mobile developers. He pointed out that a recent ZK Research study found that more than 80 percent of CEOs said that companies will compete on the basis of customer service in the digital era.
"The remote advisor feature enables businesses to use Skype for Business to interact with customers via a mobile device," he said. "Microsoft has been behind with respect to mobile enablement of Skype for Business but this hits the sweet spot."
Image Credit: Microsoft/Skype blog.