Skype today announced a new version of Skype for Business that extends its features to make it easier for businesses of all sizes to install and manage Skype across their networks.
This includes new support for the Microsoft Windows Installer package, an enhanced online business control panel, new enterprise controls and new Skype Extras – business productivity plug-ins from third-party developers. Also available for download is Skype’s Guide for Network Administrators
, which details how Skype works and how to manage Skype in an enterprise environment.
Here's the news release:
Skype, the global Internet communications company, today announced that it has extended its Skype for Business offering in response to continued demand among businesses around the world that use Skype™ to communicate with customers and colleagues.
Business users have always been part of the Skype family and make up more than 30 percent of Skype’s global community of users. In a recent survey of 250 businesses using Skype, 95 percent claimed to have saved on their telecommunications costs and 80 percent shared that using Skype had increased employee productivity. The survey also revealed that 62 percent of the companies using Skype communicate better with customers and 76 percent said they work more closely with colleagues because Skype is so easy to use.
Skype for Business builds upon Skype’s rich calling features including Skype-to-Skype, Video Calling, SkypeOut™, SkypeIn™, conference calling, file transfer and chat. Skype for Business adds additional options to assist business users, which includes enterprise controls and functionality, Skype Extras, and the Skype for Business destination page.
Enterprise Controls and Functionality
The new features in Skype for Business make it easier for businesses of all sizes to install and manage Skype. Skype can now be easily installed on multiple computers using the Windows Installer package (commonly known as MSI). This gives system administrators greater control over how to deploy Skype across their corporate networks.
Skype for Business also includes an enhanced online business control panel which enables companies to centrally manage and allocate SkypeIn phone numbers and SkypeOut credits to allow an organization to make cheap Skype calls to landline or mobile phones. Network administrators can enable automatic top-up of SkypeOut credits to individual Skype accounts and centrally manage company invoices.
New enterprise controls allow network administrators to use existing IT management tools to remotely configure Skype clients, turn off various Skype features, such as file transfer, based on company, group or department IT policies. Network administrators interested in better understanding how Skype works and how to manage Skype in an enterprise environment can download a PDF of Skype’s Guide for Network Administrators.
“The management controls in Skype for Business, when combined with the tremendous savings delivered by Skype’s Unlimited Calling plan in the United States and Canada, is a very compelling option for businesses looking to control their telecommunications costs and improve the productivity of their employees,” said Don Albert, vice president and general manager of Skype North America.
Skype is also working with partners to develop a range of new business productivity tools, called Extras. Examples include the Convenos Meeting Center, an on-demand web conferencing and collaboration service, WebDialogs Unyte™, a 1:1 application viewing tool which enables users to share anything on their PC desktop anytime, and On-State ACD, a comprehensive call center and customer contact solution. Examples of productivity tools are accessible within the Skype Extras menu in the latest version of Skype 3.0 software.
Skype for Business page
The Skype for Business destination page is located at www.skype.biz. This page provides a central destination page for accessing updates, tips and information on using Skype for Business. It offers links to the latest version of Skype 3.0 for Business and access to Skype’s guide for network administrators.
Skype has proven to be increasingly popular among business users due to the cost and time savings, simplicity, and increased productivity it delivers. According to Juan Hernandez, IS Manager at Monoflo International, Inc., a manufacturer of reusable container systems which uses Skype, “Our sales personnel use Skype while on the road to avoid the high costs of calls from hotels. In fact, one employee with wireless broadband connectivity on his laptop eschews his cell phone whenever possible, opting to take advantage of Skype’s voice quality to make calls instead. The possibilities are endless and we are constantly exploring further business applications made possible by Skype for our team.”
Monoflo International (www.miworldwide.com) installed Skype on its remote sales people’s computers so that they could easily communicate without sending email or picking up the phone. This move resulted in more than $6,000 in annual savings, with 70 percent of all calls in the United States and Canada being made using Skype.