The Skype Hype

Skype means business this time…and that is why it is now available for businesses. The “Skype for SIP” has its beta program open for businesses. This program also reinforces the notion that SIP is the de-facto standard for the IP Telephony industry. Based on open standards, SIP is already being used by millions of users across the globe…in call centers, in hospitals, in banks and schools and small businesses.

The feature I like the best in Skype is the click-to-call, which means you can just click on phone numbers on websites you visit, and a call is placed using Skype. A SIP based business can then configure their PBX to receive such calls, potentially placed by their current or prospect customers. For example: You are on an online flower ordering website, you want to speak to an agent before you order the flowers…you just click on their phone number at the top of the page, a Skype call is made from your PC to the flower company’s customer center. The IP PBX at the customer center receives your call and routes it to an agent, just like it would route a normal PSTN call. You speak to the agent and complete your order, without ever having to copy their phone number to a post-it note and then dial it using a phone. Not only does Skype provide competitive international calling rates, it also saves you a ton of money by saving post-it notes.

While I definitely see the value addition (or cost savings) for small and medium businesses, I have to ask: will this make the big players take notice? Can really big contact centers rely on Skype? Will Skype bring the same value addition there?

Ritu Maheshwari