Skype today announced that their Skype for SIP beta program is now "open" to everyone. I was invited to their private beta to test it and have been pleased with the results so far
. Though if you read my article you will see I do have some price concerns
Check out the news
LUXEMBOURG, 2 December 2009 -- Skype is opening up the Skype for SIP beta program to allow businesses of all sizes to utilize Skype for SIP with their existing SIP-based PBX or Unified Communications (UC) systems. By using Skype for SIP, companies can save money on calls around the world, while also changing how customers globally reach them.
A company's IT administrator just creates and registers a Skype Business Control Panel (BCP) for the organization and then follows the instructions to configure Skype for SIP to work with its existing SIP-enabled communications system. This Web-based tool allows a company to control its Skype usage from a single point and enables centralized billing, easy allocation of Skype Credit, subscriptions and online numbers to users, as well as reporting about both usage and spending. Furthermore, it gives companies the ability to manage internal employee accounts, including who uses Skype and who doesn't and what features they can use.
"We have received applications from nearly ten thousand businesses and service providers around the world about using Skype for SIP to seamlessly connect their existing communications systems with Skype," said Stefan Oberg, VP and General Manager of Skype for Business. "Now that we are opening up the beta program, the companies on the waiting list and any new applicants can set up Skype for SIP and experience how it can help them save money on outgoing calls, as well as accept free incoming Skype calls from the more than 520 million registered Skype users around the world."
One company that has started testing Skype for SIP is Maxim Integrated Products, a Fortune 1000 company that designs, manufactures, and sells high-performance semiconductor products used in the industrial, communications, consumer, and computing markets.
To date, Maxim has deployed Skype's desktop software to more than 2,000 employees in 70 locations around the world, a move that supplemented its existing PBX systems and has already saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars on long distance calling. This enabled Maxim to avoid a costly multi-million dollar upgrade of its aging legacy PBX systems. Maxim has now rolled out a trial of Skype for SIP using a ShoreTel PBX in its Dallas office, which is configured to use 22 concurrent channels for domestic calling.
"Our Skype deployment has already turned Maxim into more of a real-time organization where we get our work done better, faster and cheaper," said Walter Curd, CIO of Maxim Integrated Products. "With Skype for SIP, our ShoreTel PBX will now enable calls from desktop phones to go out via Skype. This will allow us to capture more calling traffic via Skype and save even more money, while making it invisible to our employees."
Skype for SIP beta enables businesses with interoperable PBXs to:
* Place calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide from any device connected to a SIP-enabled PBX or UC systems via Skype;
* Receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users worldwide on SIP-enabled PBXs by either connecting the company Web site to the PBX via Skype click-to-call buttons or purchasing online Skype numbers; and
* Manage Skype calls using existing PBX or UC system features, such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail; no additional downloads or training required.
"Businesses are looking for ways to better organize their communications across mobile devices and their PBX, while also saving money," said Rebecca Swensen, analyst at IDC covering IP Communications Services. "SIP interoperability is the key to delivering this type of service; vendors looking to stay competitive in the business market need to offer it as a fundamental component of their communications platform."
Pricing and Availability
Companies using Skype for SIP must purchase a monthly channel subscription from Skype based on the number of concurrent calls being made or received. Each channel allows for one inbound or one outbound call at any given time. Incoming Skype calls to the SIP-enabled PBX or UC system are free of charge to the Skype user. Calls to landlines and mobiles made using Skype for SIP are billed at Skype's standard per-minute calling rates (a connection fee may apply).
As part of the Skype for SIP open beta program, Skype has created a low introductory price for the monthly channel subscription of just €4.95 / $6.95 per channel.
For more information or to sign up for the Skype for SIP beta, visit www.skypeforsip.com