Skype, Coming to an Office Near You

Do you use Skype – the free (or at least inexpensive) VoIP Web-based phone system? If you do, you’re certainly not alone. More than 400 million Skype accounts have been created, and as many as 17 million people are online with it at any given moment. People sure do have a lot to talk about.

Of course, Skype’s main attraction is it’s dirt cheap. That begs the question: Why doesn’t your company start using it? CIO Insight’s David F. Carr has taken a look at Skype implementations in corporate settings, and it’s worth reading before the CIO or CEO in your firm sends you a note asking about the possibility of installing cheap VoIP.

Although Skype and corporate VOIP systems share the goal of avoiding phone company toll charges by routing voice and video calls over Internet-based data networks, they don’t automatically work together. Corporate IP PBX phone systems typically employ a standard called the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to set up calls, whereas Skype uses a proprietary protocol. Now the two worlds will be linked with a new product, Skype For SIP for Business Users, which is entering beta testing.

This means users at their desks can call out via Skype for 2 cents/minute to any phone in the world, and calls will be free to other participating Skype users. Think of the savings.

– Don Willmott

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