Skype Broadcast meeting – A few thoughts

After creating some internal training material on Skype Broadcast Meetings I thought I would share a few thoughts on a little used, but great tool for webinar and training sessions.

For those unaware Skype Broadcast meeting (https://broadcast.skype.com) is a part of Skype for Business Online that allows the scheduling, production and broadcast of meetings using Azure infrastructure to enable audiences of up to 10,000 attendees.

The key part of that statement is online, currently there is no way for users to join via PSTN, which given the broadcast is generally made of PowerPoint or video content should not be too much of a problem but it should be noted.

Whilst PowerPoint and video are frequently used in webinars, presenting applications or desktop walkthroughs is still an area missing that I hope Microsoft may eventually include. In the meantime how do we present content other than PowerPoint or Video?

Well there are a number of third party software applications or HDMI/VGA to USB adapters that will present a desktop feed as a webcam device which can then be presented as a video feed in the broadcast. It’s not an ideal solution but it will work until something better comes along.

A few things to remember about running a broadcast meeting:

  • It can take some noticeable seconds before the feed starts, don’t panic!
  • It is not instantaneous, viewers are often at least 30seconds behind due to Azure transcoding, bear this in mind when using the Q&A and answering questions live
  • It is best to dedicate event team members to answering the Q&A to leave presenters free to present
  • Customisation is limited to a single link, no branding can be applied.

So in what scenarios would you want to use Broadcast meetings?

  • Webinars (Preferably with only PowerPoint/Video Content) – One of the problems with using normal Skype for Business meetings is that all communication must come back to your Skype platform which can cause network issues (if improperly planned) whereas all attendees to Broadcast Meetings connect directly to Microsoft’s network releasing pressure on your infrastructure.
  • Training sessions – Why not use Broadcast meetings to record training sessions in advance and distribute the link once recorded?

More information can be found at https://support.office.com/en-us/article/What-is-a-Skype-Meeting-Broadcast-c472c76b-21f1-4e4b-ab58-329a6c33757d

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