Over the past two weeks we have started to see signs of a transition period for Skype’s developer support activities. Yes, Skype Extras is dead; however the current Skype API’s remain supported. Jonathan Christensen gave Michael Arrington at TechCrunch some hints of forthcoming developer support activity. Skype for Asterisk was launched three weeks ago. All this builds on the “Skype Everywhere” theme announced last January at CES 2009.
And whither the Skype for SIP activity whose beta program was launched six months ago? Over the past two weeks we have seen a couple of Skype for SIP launch partner interoperability announcements incorporating Skype interoperability into their Unified Communications offerings:
- the initial announcement covered incorporation of Skype interoperability as a feature for Shoretel’s 11,000 enterprise customers using Shoretel’s IP Phone Systems.
- this was followed by an announcement of incorporation into the SIPfoundry’s open source enterprise IP PBX unified communications solution for organizations running a sipXecs IP PBX.
But today’s announcement of Skype for SIP interoperability with Cisco’s Unified Communications 500 Series for Small Business opens up significant new markets for Skype through Cisco’s extensive worldwide reseller channels. From the press release:
“Cisco is committed to delivering easy-to-use technology to small businesses to help them run their business better and gain a competitive advantage,” said Mark Monday, vice president and general manager, Small Business Solutions business unit, Cisco. “We are excited about Skype for SIP interoperability since it adds a very cost-effective choice to the many other options within the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series.”
Note that Cisco VARS will be required to register for a new Skype Service Partner certification program covering configuration of the Cisco solution to support Skype for SIP. And that the Skype for SIP interoperability with the Cisco 500 Series goes through third party certification at tekVizion Labs, an independent interoperability testing facility in Richardson, Texas.
In all three cases Skype for SIP increases the enterprise’s or organization’s worldwide communications choices while reducing costs through:
- taking advantage of Skype’s interconnection to the PSTN that provides low cost (SkyepOut) calling to most countries worldwide
- receiving inbound calls from Skype users via a global click-to-call button on the enterprise’s or organization’s website
- receiving inbound calls via Skype Online numbers in 25 countries (previously SkypeIn)
- interoperation of these features with all the other features of the PBX offerings of Shoretel, sipFoundry and Cisco’s 500 Series, such as call transfer, call forwarding, voicemail, etc.
For organizations and enterprises, the availability of Skype for SIP, Skype for Asterisk and the Skype API’s used by Skype’s other business communications partners, such as OnState and Scendix (PamFax), brings about significant overhead benefits. This offering:
- ensures that, with one service, the enterprise can achieve low cost calling to any country worldwide without the need to mange and use country- or region-specific calling plans offered by the legacy PSTN telcos.
- eliminates a layer of communications cost overhead through the value-add of making all Skype’s global termination agreements available through one source via the various Skype for Business partners’ distribution and reseller channels.
Bottom Line: These announcements all build on Skype’s “Skype Everywhere” strategy. The key point here is that, going forward, Skype’s developer and partner activities will focus on transitioning business markets into Skype services by Skype-enabling legacy communications services and platforms, complementing its prior focus on applications that bring about communications enhanced business processes.
As predicted last spring these announcements execute on Business Long Distance: Death by 1,000,000 PBX’s.
Dan York says “Congrats to Skype and Cisco on this announcement”.
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