Skype means business as it enters corporate PBX market

23 Mar 2009

Skype, the internet telephony player used by more than 405 million people worldwide, has harnessed the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) revolution to enter the corporate communications market, by driving its service through business PBX devices.

The move not only represent owner eBay’s intentions to get better value out of its Skype subsidiary, but also capitalises on a meaningful shift in the direction of unified communications (UC) and corporate presence.

Skype today announced the beta version of Skype For SIP for Business users. SIP is an open standard and the leading voice over internet protocol (VoIP) used in businesses telephony networks at millions of locations globally.

According to IDC, 438,000 IP PBXs were shipped worldwide in 2008.

Skype For SIP allows SIP PBX owners to benefit from Skype’s low-cost calls to fixed phones and mobiles around the world, and to receive calls from Skype users directly into their PBX system.

“The introduction of Skype for SIP is a significant move for Skype and for any communication-intensive business around the world,” said Stefan Oberg, VP and general manager of Skype for Business.

“It effectively combines the obvious cost savings and reach of Skype with its large user base, with the call-handling functionality, statistics and integration capabilities of traditional office PBX systems, providing great economical savings and increased productivity for the modern business.”

Businesses can now be reached by the community of over 405 million Skype registered users through click-to-call from their business websites. The calls will be received through their existing office system at no cost to the customer.

At the same time, businesses can benefit from Skype’s low-cost global calling rates when placing calls to landlines and mobiles worldwide from devices connected to their PBX systems.

In addition, they can choose to purchase online Skype numbers available in over 20 countries to receive calls from business contacts and customers who are using traditional fixed-lines or mobile phones.

“Businesses have been waiting for Skype to make a concerted push into the business space for a while,” said Rebecca Swensen, IDC’s research analyst, Enterprise Mobility and IP Communications Services.

“Connecting to existing standards-based SIP PBXs is a good way for Skype to start doing so. It will be interesting to see how large companies change their thinking about the deployment of Skype within the network,” Swensen added.

By John Kennedy