Technology Part 2: The Age of Skype and What This Means for Your Business

Skype, for very good reason, is getting a lot of press. It started out offering, free PC to PC phone calls over broadband connections and is now moving into giving people telephone numbers in other countries, voice mail and the ability for you to call a regular telephone number. All of these features range from VERY cheap to free.
Cnet writes James Enck, telecommunications analyst at Daiwa Securities SMBC Europe, has tested the new features and said they work “beautifully.” He particularly noted the ability to send voice messages to other users and play them back them offline. “All of this is pretty revolutionary,” he said. “It further demonstrates (Skype’s) potential to do damage to the telecoms industry.”
Zennstrom said Skype “definitely wants to announce more paid-for features” but that it doesn’t have any “immediate plans” as it’s been busy developing SkypeIn and voice mail.

An AP reporter writes Skype lets me call any phone number anywhere in the world for about 2 cents a minute, slightly more to some places, such as the Middle East and Asia. My computer does the dialing, and the processing of incoming and outgoing voices.
All you need to use Skype and products like it — FreeWorld Dialup is another popular one — is a solid broadband connection (fixed or Wi-Fi).
With the basic version of Skype, all anyone needs to make or receive a call is to install the program on their computer (and that includes personal digital assistants). All calls are free.

For your main corporate office, it’s best to have a professional phone system (VOIP based is fine) with a range of features. I think services like Skype, geared to individuals, are great for the mobile professional (in a big corporation or small one) that wants as much flexibility and costs savings as possible.
For small businesses, and start ups using, “cutting edge” services like Skype CAN be a part of the business communications. As the business grows something more professional and integrated into the corporate communication systems should be considered.
Don’t forget the great product TalkSwitch as you consider small office telecom needs.