A small business recently had a requirement for an audio conferencing solution that would also integrate with Skype for Business. For ease of marketing and management purposes, they wanted to have static dial-in information as well as the ability to use the phone bridge without connecting to Skype.

Like more and more small businesses, they have been using Office365 for the past couple years for e-mail and Skype for Business, having migrated from GMail accounts. There is no physical office, and the 4 users work from mobile devices including iOS, Mac, and Windows 10 clients.

This is starting to sound like an exam question. Anyway…

Since their requirements eliminated the integrated dial-in option, I had to look to a 3rd party solution. When it comes to dial-in conferencing for Skype for Business, there’s only 4 3rd party providers: PGi, Intercall, BT Conferencing, and ATT Conferencing.

I reached out to PGi Sales, and they told me that there is a per-user price available, but if everyone is going to be having meetings, there was another option for a pool of minutes to be shared amongst everyone. Because it is a monthly subscription, I went with a user account for now, and will change it if the rest of the team want to leverage the capability.

After signing up, PGi provided me with an Excel spreadsheet that had the dial-in number, conferenceID, master and attendee passcodes, as well as a lengthy document on how to integrate the solution with on premises and hybrid S4B environments, configuring federation partnerships, and the like.

By default, Office365 environments are configured for Open Federation, which allows you to add external users to your Skype for Business Contact List without any additional configuration. Unless you’ve manually restricted this during/after your implementation, it also makes the addition of dial-in conferencing painlessly simple.

First, log into https://portal.office.com and go to the Admin Portal

From the Admin Portal, expand Admin centers in the navigation pane and click Skype for Business

Strangely enough, this will launch the Skype for Business Admin Center. From here we’re going to want to click on dial-in conferencing, which will give us options for the conferencing setup.

If we then click on dial-in users, it will give us a list of all the users in the Directory. Select the user you want to give conferencing to, and click Edit. In the dial-in conferencing properties window that appears, choose the provider. In this case, we use PGi.

Selecting PGi will reveal three other fields: Toll number, Toll-free number, and Conference ID. These numbers were provided by PGi Sales in the Excel spreadsheet. Important note, in the Conference ID field you must place the Passcode as provided by PGi, not the provided Conference ID. Only the Toll Number, Toll Free number, and Passcode are required for Skype dial-in integration.

Once you’ve populated the fields with the right stuff, click save.

Go grab a fresh cup of coffee, and come back and close/open Outlook. Create a new Skype Meeting (if the option is not available to you in the Calendar, make sure the Skype for Business COM+ add-in has been enabled), and you will see the dial-in information listed in the Skype Meeting Info.

That’s all there is to it.  When users connect to the meeting, they have the option to dial in or connect via PC/Speakers.  The beauty of this solution over the Microsoft one, is the number and ID are statically assigned and always active.  They don’t change, and are available to be used without having to create/join a Skype meeting.

Hope this helps!