Skype and Peerio

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Randy Savicky
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Skype and Peerio

Skype continues to take the VoIP market by storm, but until now the business enterprise couldn't leverage the power of Skype for inexpensive Skype-to-Skype calls or more importantly, phone-to-SkypeOut calls. In fact, currently, Skype is predominantly a PC-based software solution with no hardware-based analog telephony adaptor (ATA) gateways or regular business-class VoIP gateways supporting the Skype protocol. Since most businesses still predominantly rely on hardware-based PBXs, adding integrated Skype support has proved to be difficult. The businesses that do add VoIP to the enterprise predominantly due it with business-class VoIP gateways running the H.323 or SIP protocol, which can then terminate with an Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) such as Net2Phone, Level3, and others.

Unfortunately, even with this VoIP setup, you still can not call Skype users or terminate to PSTN numbers using SkypeOut's termination service. Essentially, the "island of Skype" is completely ignored by businesses that deploy SIP or H.323 VoIP gateways. Considering that Skype is becoming more like a "continent" than an "island", Skype cannot be ignored any longer. The question in my mind has always been, "Who will be the first company to provide an enterprise-based IP-PBX solution that supports PBX-to-Skype user dialing and PBX-to-SkypeOut dialing?" The answer to that question is Popular Telephony

Popular Telephony announced today the first-ever commercial release of a peer-to-peer serverless communication system for SOHO customers, blending the Peerio-based P2P-based PeerioBiz soft phone and Peerio Gateway with the Skype network. According to Popular Telephony, "With its introduction, the Peerio/Skype combination signals the elimination of PBX equipment and servers within the network ever being needed to support and manage a telephony system." Take a minute to soak up these words - let it sink in. These are bold words proclaiming the "death" of the PBX as we know it today. (Check out Greg Galitzine's take on Peerio and Skype.)

Here's how it works. To make telephone calls users utilize PeerioBiz - a lightweight enterprise P2P softphone client, developed on the base of Popular Telephony’s unique Peerio serverless middleware. When installed across the workstations at the enterprise, PeerioBiz forms a PBX-less telephony system while supporting a range of standard PBX features. Also, there are a phone manufacturers which have embedded the P2P Peerio technology into hardware phones which when deployed in the enterprise form a peer-to-peer "plug and play" PBX solution using the phones themselves for the switching intelligence.

The Peerio Gateway for Skype enables enterprise customers to originate and terminate calls with Skype In/Out service or to interconnect directly with Skype users on a true peer-to-peer basis.

“Skype is clearly the most exciting voice and instant messaging consumer application being used today. It’s acceptance by both early adopters, and more established customers, as a means to communicate is emerging. It’s also no secret that many small businesses already use the Skype calling service to make cost effective calls from their personal computers and PDAs. With PeerioBiz in place, Popular Telephony is bringing enterprise grade features and improved security to the Skype users in the enterprise market,” said Gavin McFadyen, Director Product Management at Popular Telephony.

He continued, “We worked with small business customers to identify the functionality that will be easy to use and which enables them to combine the inexpensive calling benefit of Skype with vital feature functionality of Peerio. This includes such enterprise and Centrex like features as call transfer, conferencing, call park and others that our research showed the customers were demanding from a next generation phone system provider.”

PeerioBiz Small Business system supports more then 30 enterprise grade features usually found in standard PBX. It also includes unlimited free Voice Mail as a standard functionality.

PeerioBiz Small Office system is commercially available from www.peerio.com/biz as well as through distributors and resellers worldwide. The price is $99 for unlimited number of local installations and one Gateway to Skype software.

To try PeerioBiz with Gateway to Skype you can download the limited shareware version.

Update: (1.5 hours from original post)
I thought I'd share some insights about what this news means from a source associated with Popular Telephony.

1) It means that SME and SOHO can use Skype to terminate or originate and Peerio inside the business. Say bye bye one day to the PBX

2) Based on a Cisco IETF position paper PT is at least 18 months to two years ahead of Cisco
3) By focusing on the Enterprise PT avoids the E-911 issues that Skype has to address but PT knows it has to include the functionality

4) Skype has admitted they are looking at doing this, but it’s at least fourth quarter
5) Peerio adds a layer of security that was not available before to Skype.



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