At VON Canada 2005 I first met Stuart Henshall, the founder of Skype Journal; this Canadian VON event attracted bloggers from across North America. It was the only North American opportunity to hear Skype founder Nicklas Zennstrom personally while he was in legal limbo in the U.S. Later that year I was asked to write a couple of posts for Skype Journal; effectively Stuart had seen my personnel post about Skype’s newly launched email toolbar for which I had been a beta tester and asked if he could post it on Skype Journal.
The following April when VON Canada held its third (and last) show in Toronto, I had just completed a client business development assignment and was asked to blog on behalf of Skype Journal. Stefan Oberg, Skype’s current Vice-President for Business, spoke about Skype’s goal to be “Better than a phone…”. Today, with the SILK codec, Skype is much better than a phone; since its introduction I cringe politely when I have to go back to normal phone conversations.
But, more importantly, since then I have had a wonderful opportunity to meet many keen and passionate Skype employees, develop an understanding of what it takes to be a Skype Partner – especially with business applications — and participated with a network of great bloggers who all contribute to a better understanding of the business and technology issues of the emerging communications world.
Yes, there have been challenges; Skype has had to reorganize and restructure as a viable and growing business. Several players have attempted to get into the real time communications space; they need to find their niche and attract users and develop revenue streams. But, when I look at the outcome of the past three years in this space, Skype remains a strong player; it has become synonymous with disrupting communications barriers around the world at little or no cost.
New services have evolved; small businesses can enjoy the advantages of services that were previously only available to large enterprises.16 million users online concurrently every day around 2:00 p.m. EST (GMT-5) is half the population of Canada. And there are probably 30 to 40 million who use Skype daily with about 30% in business applications. Free video calling has become a reality.
But over the past eighteen months:
- Skype’s business application partners are looking for ways to have third party support marketing their leading edge services
- Other significant players have come into the real time emerging communications space offering a range of unique products and services
- Cell phones have evolved into smartphones
- Social media keeps everyone informed in real time about news, personal activities and individual opinions
- It’s the year of the Voice 2.0 world.
- WordPress has become the most powerful platform for not only blogging but also complete websites.
- Search has become a key tool in developing a significant web presence
As a result today I am launching a new website Voice On The Web – facilitating personal and business communications across a Voice 2.0 world. Check out my initial post for more details about the goals and objectives I hope to achieve. Note that all my Skype Journal posts are archived there and readily searchable. There’s still lots of warts on the site but one has to start somewhere.
At the same time Phil Wolff will continue to blog on Skype Journal, continuing to bring his perspective on the technology and business opportunities in the Voice 2.0 world. I will be providing him link love frequently for posts I feel should be checked out.
Time to move on… see you at Voice On The Web. And, thanks to Phil for the opportunity to participate on Skype Journal over the past three years.