Skype goes after enterprise telephony

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Skype goes after enterprise telephony

Enables enterprise VoIP tools, multi-party videoconferencing.

Skype has revamped its business account management tool in a bid for the enterprise telephony market.

Today, it replaced its SMB-focussed Business Control Panel with Skype Manager to allow IT managers to deploy and manage Skype across "businesses of all sizes".

The tool integrates with Skype for SIP, which connects Skype to a company's existing PBX system, allowing users to make VoIP calls as they would from a traditional landline.

Skype for SIP is currently in open beta testing and has already been adopted by several businesses in Australia, according to the company's Asia Pacific vice president Dan Neary.

"Thirty-five percent of our users use Skype in a business setting; this has accelerated over the years," Neary said at a media briefing in Sydney today.

"We looked at how Skype is being used in the workplace and specifically designed Skype Manager to make it easier for businesses to centrally manage how Skype is used, managed and paid for by an organisation.

"You should expect to see further iterations in this area; the whole trend of Skype in the business marketplace is something that we're really focused on."

Multi-party videoconferencing

Neary also unveiled new multi-party video conferencing capabilities in hopes of growing what he estimated to be a four percent share of the video communications market.

A beta version of the video conferencing tool would be available to Windows users this week and support up to five users at once, for free. Pricing for the full version -- which could support more than five users -- would depend on user feedback, Neary said.

Enterprise video conferencing vendors like Cisco currently occupy a lion's share of the market, he told iTnews.

Describing partnerships with "eight out of ten" of PC manufacturers worldwide, Neary said Skype now came pre-loaded on 70 percent of the world's new PCs.

But Skype would not directly compete with OEMs and telecommunications companies, he claimed.

"We are not an OEM, we are not a telco. We are a piece of software that enables conversations online," he said.

"We want to empower business [use] Skype so they receive all the benefits of enhanced collaboration and cost savings."

Skype Manager is available as a free trial until October 2010. No further pricing details have been released. Its predecessor, the Business Control Panel, was available for free.

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