Last weekend Netralia launched Version 2 of Skylook – a tool that links Skype to that ubiquitous contact management and email tool, Outlook 2000/XP/2003, and extends facets of the Skype experience to your mobile phone. In an interview with Jeremy Hague, Skylook’s CEO, I learned that Skylook is rapidly becoming a key business tool for that 30% of users who use Skype in business. Key points include:
- over 60% (and rising) of Skylook licenses are known to be for business use;
- its major appeal is to hard core Skype users
- its business users have as many as 15,000 contacts in Outlook
- its US$99.95 per year per user price tag includes a 12 months 24 hour response time support warranty as well as all updates during this period
While working with Outlook, Skylook 2 also introduces audio technology for several key features, incorporates enhanced SMS messaging into Skype’s Instant Messaging features and uses Skype’s API’s to forward voice and email messages to your mobile phone. In the image above I have “wrapped’ the toolbar to show all its features. Skylook 2 offers six key functions:
- Communicate with Outlook Contacts: for instance, you can even send an SMS message to any Outlook contact, including those who do not have a Skype account, provided they have a mobile phone
- Record Skype calls (with several new features in Skylook 2.0 – the subject of a separate post – ideal for creating podcasts using Skype)
- Alerts and Forwarding: a totally new feature that will be the subject of a separate post.
- Answering Machine provides full voice mail functionality
- Archiving and organizing all your communications: emails, IM sessions, SMS activity and voice mails.
- Synchronize your Outlook and Skype Contacts.
Skylook has a more detailed outline of its functions on its web site along with links to examples of how several features work.
Finally, Skylook will be a revenue generator for Skype itself; two examples:
- Normal Skype SMS charges apply when IM chat sessions are forwarded to your mobile phone (in addition to any charges that may be applied by your wireless service provider for receiving SMS messages)
- SkypeOut charges will apply in instances where voice-based messages, such as the reading of emails from designated senders, are involved.
While Skylook overlaps with some of the basic functionality of Skype Email Toolbar, features such as recording calls, answering machine and the Alerts and Forwarding take Skylook in a different direction. On the other hand Skype Email Toolbar (besides being free) can handle multi-party conferencing and file transfer. And PayPal payments! (Personally I have both products installed due to their different feature sets.)
This post is a brief introductory overview of Skylook 2. In two future posts I will discuss in more detail the Recording features, especially how they have been enhanced to facilitate recording podcasts and the Alerts and Forwarding feature.
In closing one should not overlook that Netralia, through its Skylook product, has successfully built a business by providing unique value-added features. Through them a significant number of business customers enhance their use of Skype and further augment their business productivity. And Skype itself has a supplementary revenue generator. A win-win-win for all three parties.
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