Last month I mentioned that I hadn’t received a download for the Skype for Business iOS Mobile Evaluation client. When I did, I’d test it out like I did for the Mac Preview Meetings client.

I received the download link two days after posting. Onto my phone went the iOS evaluation client, and testing began!

I quickly discovered something important though. The Mac Preview client is meant for staged development releases. Allowing users to test one set of features, before adding another. The iOS evaluation client is different.

Client Setup

I installed the evaluation client according to the instructions. You must use the TestFlight app to download the evaluation client.
 
TestFlight app, Skype for Business

(I had the existing Skype4B iOS client already installed on this phone. I was able to keep it, and even run it when the evaluation client wasn’t signed in.)

You must enter your Skype number on sign-in. I saw an error window after doing this – “Saving phone number disabled due to the server policy.”

 

Saving Phone Number Issue

However, the client did save my number, and we have no server policy in place to block number saves on phones. Hmm, an issue appears!

Features & Similarities to Standard Client

The standard Skype for Business mobile features are available:

  • View Meetings
  • Make calls
  • Hear Voicemails
  • IM Contacts
  • Add Video to Conversations
  • Join Meetings

The evaluation client UI is near-identical to the standard iOS client. So much so that at first I thought the only difference was Conversation History. On the login screen of the Standard Skype4B iOS client, you get recent phone-based Conversation History.

I thought at first that the evaluation client would either not have Conversation History at all, or it would link to the Skype for Business Server (like it’s supposed to!). Testing revealed however, that the evaluation client behaves just like the standard client. Conversation History shows up under “recent” on the login screen.

The TestFlight install screen does call attention to one additional function: Skype intelligently detects meetings on non-federated domains and auto-joins them as a guest user for you. Saves you a step.

The Real Value: Microsoft’s Ear

When checking the Settings screen, I noticed an additional line in the options list: “dogfood feedback”

 

Skype4B Dogfood Feedback

As we’re a dog-themed IT company, I rather like that!

The term refers to the phrase, “eating your own dog food.” It means you use your own product to test and promote the same product. We’ve used the term for years now on our website. Every time Microsoft releases new software, we test it out in our datacenter before installing it for any customer. That way we know the software’s ins and outs beforehand, and can confidently say whether it will solve a customer’s problem.

In this case, Microsoft is asking all its preview users to submit “dogfood feedback.” I found the option under Settings, and in the options menu for each contact.

Why? Because Microsoft wants more feedback. And they’re offering their ear in exchange…a valuable opportunity.

Here’s what the Feedback Submission screen looks like.

 

Skype for Business iOS Feedback Form

 

I filled in a dummy example here, to show what kind of information Microsoft collects. I did submit feedback on the “Saving phone number” issue mentioned earlier.

Development Status: Further than Mac Preview, Not 100% Yet

Microsoft has not placed iOS Evaluation documentation on their Skype Preview website, www.skypepreview.com. As such I’m not sure the full extent of available or limited features in this client. We’re all waiting on more information, Microsoft!

Development on the iOS client is further along than the Mac Preview client we reviewed last time.  I suspect Microsoft solicits feedback with the iOS client to help bolster other client updates, like Android Mobile.

Have an Issue with Skype for Business on iOS? Here’s Your Chance to Speak!

As far as I can tell, the iOS evaluation client does not have significant new features. The Meetings join functionality is nice, but it’s just an automation of existing processes.

What it does have is a built-in feedback mechanism for gathering user data. Microsoft is polling its users for more data it can crunch, informing future updates from the results.

While I was hoping for more features to test, this is good too!

If you have an issue with Skype for Business on iOS, here’s your chance to be heard. Join the iOS Mobile Evaluation at www.skypepreview.com, download the evaluation client, and select “dogfood feedback” wherever you experience the issue. Even if you experienced the issue with the standard Skype for Business client, that’s still valuable feedback. Send it in!

Skype for Business iOS Evaluation: Testing Results
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4 thoughts on “Skype for Business iOS Evaluation: Testing Results

  • June 13, 2016 at 4:28 am
    Permalink

    Hi Chris! I also get the warning “saving phone number disabled due the server policy”.

    This happens if I enter my cellar phone number. Which is also stored in our AD. I require Wi-fi for voice, video and Meeting content. Then I turn off Wi-fi to check that the Call me back function works. When I try to join the Meeting from 4G it only ring – ring – ring. The Conference doesn`t Call me back.

    Then I remove the SfB Testflight on my iOs and then reinstalled it. In the wizard for the first time logon, I hit my wife cellular phone number instead. I did not get the warning:”saving phone number disabled due the server policy”.

    Then I test the scenario to test the Call me back again. I join the Conference; and then the Conference Call my wife. it works fine.

    I have been in touch With Microsoft on this case, and they told me that I need to configure the “Call via Work” for the user. I think this is wrong. I don`t want to use the Call via work functionality.

    Any clue how to fix this?

    Reply
    • June 14, 2016 at 8:43 am
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      Hi Tore,
      Thanks for the comment. Sounds like you did some thorough testing here; appreciate the feedback!

      Just to clarify a couple things: You entered your wife’s phone number instead of your own, when reinstalling?
      Microsoft suggested you configure Call via Work for your wife’s number?

      I’m not sure enabling Call Via Work will help here either. I have it enabled on my account, and still saw the “Saving Phone Number Disabled” message.

      In terms of fixing it, I think it’s a bug in the evaluation client. I reproduced it on 2 separate machines with 2 accounts. I did hear from another reader who never saw the message though, which may indicate a configuration change to make. If & when I find anything more out, I’ll post it on the blog.

      Reply
  • June 20, 2016 at 12:02 am
    Permalink

    Hi again!

    If we remove the mobile number for the user in Active Directory, the user can save his mobilenumber in the SfB Mobile Client without the warning “Saving phone number disabled due….”
    And, yes, the Call me back works as expected! You don`t need the Call via Works feature enabled.

    Tore

    Reply
  • June 20, 2016 at 10:25 am
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    Tore,
    Great! Glad you got it to work. I’ve made note here to test this with some of our accounts.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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