Skype API’s

Skype is best know as the “free calling service over the Internet“. However, Skype has evolved into a full conversation infrastructure ecosystem encompassing Skype-enabled hardware, communications enhanced business processes and consumer recreation applications. As a result Skype has published a set of application programming interfaces (Skype Public API’s) that allow Skype to become integrated with hardware devices or embedded into third party software applications.

Initially the Skype Public API’s were provided to allow hardware vendors access to Skype functionality from Skype specific hardware such as USB Skype phones and various Skype-enabled headsets. But then the API’s took on a life of their own as software developers realized that they also could use these API’s to grab Skype data. Over time they developed third party applications that either enhanced Skype as a conversation tool or embed Skype to voice-enable traditional applications such as customer relationship management and call center solutions.

Many applications, generically called Skype Extras, have been developed under the Skype Developer Program which provides a Skype certification protocol, a platform for publishing an application, user access via the Skype client, digital rights managment for licensing the application and a payments processing engine. A prime example of a Skype Extra that takes full advantage of this platform is PamFax which allows a user to send faxes from any Internet connected Windows PC to any fax machine worldwide while collecting a “per page” fee.

The Skype Public API’s functionality includes:

  • Management and control of Skype calling activity
    • call transfer
    • start and stop a Skype call
    • enhance conference calling using Skype, SkypeIn and SkypeOut
  • Interaction with Skype chat features
  • Call forwarding
  • Voice mail management
  • Video call management
  • SMS messaging
  • call cost information
  • display Skype data in either a software application or on Skype hardware displays
  • access Skype contact information
  • controlling the Skype User Interface
  • search commands
  • Public chats
  • Application-to-application commands
  • grab the audio feed (voice stream)

More information:

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