Skype for SIP is Now Skype Connect

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Tom Keating
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Skype for SIP is Now Skype Connect

Today, Skype announced that Skype for SIP is changing its name to Skype Connect. Guess the techie name "SIP" isn't exactly business-friendly, hence the name change. Today, they are also announcing that hat Skype Connect (formerly Skype for SIP) is officially out of beta.

By using Skype Connect with an existing PBX, your business can do the following:
  • Make outbound calls from desktop phones to landlines and mobiles worldwide billed at Skype's standard per-minute calling rates;
  • Receive inbound calls from Skype connected users worldwide by placing Skype's Click & Call buttons on their Web sites;
  • Receive calls from landlines or mobile phones in the corporate PBX using Skype's online numbers that have been purchased separately; and
  • Manage Skype calls using your existing PBX or UC systems' features such as call routing, automatic call distribution, conferencing, auto-attendant, voicemail, call recording and logging.
Since the beta launch of Skype Connect in March 2009, here are some of Skype's milestones:
  • Skype Connect already has over 2,400 active global customers;
  • Skype Connect is now certified to work with PBX and UC products from Avaya, Cisco, SIPfoundry, ShoreTel and other OEMs (see supported models here).
  • Skype Connect also works with older TDM PBXs or Key Systems which can now add Skype calling capabilities through third-party IP gateways from AudioCodes, Grandstream and VoSKY (see supported models here).
  • Launched Skype Manager, a simple web-based tool to centrally manage and control Skype usage in a company, and which enables a business to set-up Skype Connect;
  • New dedicated customer support, including real-time chat, is now available for Skype Connect customers and Skype Manager administrators directly through Skype Manager;
  • In addition, we've been enrolling VARs and system integrators in our new Skype Channel Partner Program and training them to support our business customers. We will share more details on this program soon.
Perhaps the biggest milestone is "dedicated customer support". Lack of access to customer support has been a huge complaint on the consumer side. In any business, having access to technical support is critical. Though I wonder if "phone" support will be available? The milestone listed only mentions "real-time" chat. I have a conference call with Skype in 15 minutes, so I'll ask and update this post then.

Update (12:29pm):
I recorded the call. Below is the podcast recording I had with David Gurlé, the GM of the Skype for Business team and Chaim Haas, Skype's PR representative. It definitely has some interesting "nuggets" about Skype and in particular Skype 5.0. Worth a listen. Some interesting tidbits include:
- David said customers are happy with text-chat, but Voice support will be available if customers request it.
- In the Skype 5.0 beta the limit for multi-party is 5.
- Skype 5.0 will launch in a couple of weeks

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Linking traditional telephony systems (IP PBX) with pure-play internet telephony (like Skype) makes sense. I'd argue that the previous name (Skype for SIP) was aimed at IT pros managing the PBX and the service now is aimed at getting end-users at the organizations that use the service to get started. This is a product that extends traditional telephony/UC. In contrast, I think that Google may be doing the same as they enhance the business-targeted Google Apps, but from a Web-user-centric perspective (integrated in email, like already in the consumer GMail) that adds traditional telephony features subsequently. About Me -

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