Skype and Unified Communications

F4664CC3-7BE5-4F46-9359-9613BB700C6B.jpgWith some estimates suggesting that 30% of Skype users are using it for business purposes it is interesting to consider Skype’s place in the world of Unified Communications.

Skype’s history as a proprietary protocol and a closed network has so far limited the opportunity to unify the calls with an existing enterprise telephony system (such as a Cisco PBX or alternative). With Michael Robertson’s announcement about Open Sky(pe) some degree of integration is now possible. Specifically, it allows for calls to your business phone number to also terminate to Skype clients as well as allowing non-Skype (e.g. SIP devices) to call out to Skype users via the new gateway.

This does open up some new opportunities however, at the moment, without Skype’s direct involvement the solution is still limited as you are unable to make Skype originated calls that flow through your existing enterprise telephony network (e.g. so the calls can pickup your business number identity). In order to really offer a unified experience with other communications networks such as mobile, fixed line and IM networks Skype will need to open up further to allow things like this or otherwise risk remaining a single disconnected silo of communications.

There is a lot of power in the Skype platform without a doubt offering the best audio and video quality available in a public network dependent VoIP offering, however at the moment the extent of focus on the market needs of business users has seemingly been quite limited.