That all changes with today's announcement of Skype Connect. With Skype Connect, businesses can now integrate Skype inbound and outbound calling into their existing infrastructure, avoiding the "wait, I have to switch headsets" issue of having both a phone and Skype client on every-one's desktop.
Beyond PBXs, I can see contact centers benefiting from Skype Connect, allowing callers to "Skype" into the contact center, instead of tying up the mobile or landline telephone.
Think of this as the ultimate "Toll Free" calling to reach your business.
So how does this work? Skype Connect is essentially a SIP portal into the Skype network, allowing Skype Client and PSTN access. If you have one of the select IP-PBXs that are Skype-ready, the Skype service can be provisioned to connect directly to your IP-PBX. However, if you are like most businesses that have either a TDM PBX or a non-Skype-ready IP-PBX, you'll need a media gateway or E-SBC to terminate the Skype session.
- TDM PBXs would use a media gateway with the TDM side facing the PBX - in most cases emulating the network side of a PRI circuit.
- For IP-PBXs, an E-SBC would be used in a Back-to-Back User Agent (B2BUA) mode that terminates the Skype session, performs security checks and then re-initiates the call into your IP-PBX in a format that it understands.
It should be noted that Skype Connect is not free - like any business product that has value, there are subscription fees associated with it.
Here's an excellent case study that shows just one example of what businesses are doing with Skype Connect.