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Paul Richards

Reviewing the latest USB video and audio device technology for effective online meetings and video conferencing.

Integrating Skype for Business with Google Calendars

Integrating Skype for Business with Google Calendars

Hello USB Pros!
So this has been a fun topic to work on because I searched and searched and there did not seem to be anyone who has gone over a solution for integrating Skype for Business with Google Calendars. That being said there is no great integration but we have found a work around. There is a company called CloudPipes who is calculating demand for a direct plug-in style integration between Google Calendars and Skype for Business which would make things so much easier for everyone! Until that day we have a work around which you can use in a couple different ways to schedule your Skype for Business meeting with Google Calendars.  

The Problem

The problem is that Skype for Business is built around Microsoft Exchange and anyone looking to schedule their video meetings using Google Calendars will find it difficult to do so. There is no direct integration with Skype for Business and Google Calendars available (as of July 2015) and this makes it almost impossible to schedule a Skype for Business meeting if you don't have Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. Most people who do have Microsoft Exchange and Outlook can simply schedule a Skype for Business meeting right in Outlook. But since there is no plugin for Google Hangouts users are going to have to use our "work around".

Our Google Calendar / Skype for Business Solution

So you can schedule your Skype for Business meeting with Google Calendars the old fashion way by simply launching a ad-hoc meeting and using the Skype for Business options area to copy your meeting details. Skype for Business does make this easy because there is a copy this information button which simply copies your meeting invitation url to your clipboard. You can then create your meeting invitation in Google Calendars, enter the information, the URL, and you can invite anyone you want to your Skype for Business Meeting. Now the draw back here is that you have scheduled a ad-hoc meeting meaning if you close you that meeting and you don't have a static meeting id the meeting you just scheduled will disappear into thin air. That's a big part of why this work around is not ideal but in the next section we will talk about how to set a static meeting id so every time you schedule a Skype for Business meeting with Google Calendars you can use the same URL & Meeting ID. 

A video tutorial

This is a video tutorial on integrating your Skype for Business meeting with Google Calendars. These are just a few ways you can schedule your Skype for Business video meeting in Google Calendars.

Setting a Static Meeting ID in Skype for Business

​You can set a static meeting ID for Lync or Skype for Business if you have the professional on-premise deployment. There is a great article on how to go about doing this at MasteringLync.com here. This article is fairly technical so you may want to talk to your information technology department and see if they are willing to set you up with a static meeting ID for Skype for Business. There are some Lync / Skype for Business deployments that do not allows static meeting addresses because they can be a security concern. But the value of having a static meeting ID is that you can embed that ID into your email signature for people to jump on a video call with you or use it for weekly meetings and Google Calendar events. 

Our Research with Skype for Business Subscriptions

So Microsoft is offering a few different options. Skype is free for up to 25 video users. Than the next level which is $2/month allows presence, IM and HD video. Than the $5 a month level allows you to record meetings, do remote desktop, schedule meetings with Outlook (if you have microsoft exchange or office 365) and bunch more other features. Finally,  the Server 2015 option give you all the capabilities Skype for Business has to offer. What we found as a Google Gmail house, if you don't have Microsoft Exchange it's near impossible to schedule meetings even if you have the $5 a month level. For an additional $2 per month you can get Exchange added to your Skype for Business license and then you can schedule your Skype for Business meetings in the online version of Exchange. This is not really ideal because now we have to manage two emails and two calendars. But there is a way to forward exchange calendar invites to Google Calendars. Google will basically pull the information from exchange but exchange refuses to integrate with Google. So what does this all add up to? A big headache year but at least it's possible for a price. 

UnifiedCT's 3rd Party Solution

UnifiedCT does provide a solution for this issue by integrating Skype for Business with both calendaring systems. UnifiedCT has a software product called Unyfy which displays scheduled meetings from either MS Exchange or Google Calendars and provides a easy one touch or click to join meeting experience. This way you can have two tabs one for Exchange and one for Google Calendars on the say dashboard screen. This is ideal for Google Users who do not want to go through the entire process explained above and just want to simply integrate Google Calendars with Skype for Business. UnifiedCT's approach is extremely simple and you can easily authenticate your Google Calendar information with Unyfy using Googles OAuth online authentication. Once you have authenticated your google account you can add as many google calendars as you want to the Unyfy dashboard. Unyfy takes things a step further by also integrating the calendaring system with GoToMeeting, WebEX and other 3rd party video conferencing servers. It will also pull the meeting organizers profile picture for display on your meeting room calendar. This solution is really built for conference rooms where multiple users are booking a room for video conferencing. It's a wonderful application of integrating Google Calendars with Skype for Business.

Integrating Skype for Business Messaging with WebRTC

Finally we thought we would mention a company that is connecting the Lync / Skype for Business instant messaging service to webRTC. WebRTC is googles baby project which has turned into a full fledged audio and video conferencing solution which live in the Google Chrome Browser. This is a huge step forward to integrating Microsoft's unified communications platform with Google's GMail platform. You can check out more on this here

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