Skype for SIP: First Anniversary and The Partner Ecosystem Expands

Skype4SIP.logo_thumb[1] Since the initial announcement of Skype for SIP a year ago today, with the goal of integrating some elements of Skype’s infrastructure into legacy PBX systems that support SIP, Skype has been expanding its partner base as well as incorporating its deployment into the Skype for Business program.

To repeat: the purpose and goals of Skype for SIP are:

  • to allow small-to-medium businesses to reduce their international calling cost to over 180 countries through use of Skype Out business subscriptions (without the need to negotiate and manage country-specific contracts with the telcos in each country)
  • to provide a free, optionally international, click-to-call inbound calling capability through Skype Online numbers
  • to allow integration of these elements of Skype into legacy PBX systems that support SIP

Recalling that Skype for SIP is still at a public open beta stage, Skype participated in four announcements yesterday that expand this ecosystem and the open beta activity with a “third party” Skype for SIP certification partner and three new PBX Gateway partners:

tekVizion Labs has been introduced to the Skype partner community as the interoperability experts to help expedite Skype for SIP interoperability testing and certification. In addition to Skype for SIP interoperability testing, tekVizion Labs can provide consulting, integration and support services to Skype’s customers and partners and the systems integrators and value added resellers they work with.

Interoperability with Skype for SIP gives SMBs the ability to receive inbound calls through their Grandstream GXE IP PBX or related gateways from more than 521 million registered Skype users around the world at no additional cost to the Skype user when calling through Skype. Businesses can leverage the investment in their corporate website even further by enabling Skype users to simply click on a global click-to-call button on the website to place immediate calls to sales or support via Skype. Skype calls received through the Grandstream IP PBX are handled by the PBX in the same way as other inbound calls. For outbound calling, Grandstream customers can realize significant cost savings to landlines and mobile phones around the world using Skype’s low-cost calling rates.

By certifying the AudioCodes Multi-Service Business Gateways with Skype for SIP, customers can benefit from interoperability with hundreds of TDM PBXs, Key Systems, and IP-PBXs that have not been able to connect to Skype so far. In addition, if a company buys and associates an online Skype number with their AudioCodes Mediant 1000 Multi-Service Business Gateway solution, it can then receive inbound calls via Skype from business contacts and customers calling from landline and mobile phones.

The VoSKY SSG is available in two versions, supporting either 4 or 8 channels. It offers seamless integration with Skype for SIP Open Beta with any analog PBX or key system, connecting via a conventional (FXS) analog port. It allows businesses to take advantage of Skype’s cost savings and enhanced business features without restructuring their existing communications network and infrastructure.

As a result the Skype for SIP ecosystem grows beyond the initial partnerships announced with Shoretel, SIP Foundry and Cisco. Skype for SIP Certification ensures that Skype’s partners meet established standards not only for the technology behind the implicit interoperability required but also the user experience. And these partnerships allow Skype to leverage each vendor’s existing customer base to build awareness and revenues while disintermediating and disrupting legacy long distance business models.

Bottom line: With all the various Skype for Business activities coming this year, including the launch later this spring of the FREETALK Connect PBX incorporating both Skype for SIP and Skype for Asterisk (which also supports free Skype-to-Skype calling), small-to-medium businesses will have several options to both lower their communications cost, have customer calls directed to appropriate employees and/or end points, and expand their markets through low cost communications to new international markets.

Link to a list of all Voice On The Web posts discussing Skype for SIP.

Full disclosure: In Store Solutions, producer of the FreeTalk Connect PBX, has become a client of Denali InterConneXions, publisher of Voice On The Web, building on the author’s previous business development experience with establishing partnerships that can assist with the promotion of a primary vendor’s offerings. A more complete statement will follow shortly.

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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