Skype eyes business market, telephony integration

PABX calling on the road map

Internet telephony giant Skype has signalled its plans to go after more of the business market by integrating with enterprise-grade VoIP and PABX systems.

Skype, now owned by eBay, claims some 30 percent of its 171 million subscribers are already using it in business but since revamping its business offering in January is now looking to broaden its enterprise install base.

Skype for business includes an online control panel for allocating credits to users and viewing the amount of money spent; and the ability to install and manage the application on multiple computers with the Windows Installer package.

The latter is aimed at giving IT managers more control over how Skype communications traffic runs across their corporate networks.

Skype may have stormed onto the Internet telephony space over the past few years, but at the same time enterprises were busy upgrading PABXs and installing their own in-house VoIP systems, which often include softphones.

Skype's Asia Pacific vice president, Scott Bagby, said at present it does not do PABX integration but the company is working to be more interoperable with the likes of Cisco and Avaya in the enterprise space.

"People can view and import Outlook contacts into Skype and the central management console can make sure a SkypeID and contact list doesn't leave the company when an employee does," Bagby said.

"There are also a Business Extras plug-in for screen sharing, IT support and call centre capability."

Skype's flagship business customer is London-based architectural firm Lewis & Hickey, which is using the application across seven locations in Europe.

Lewis & Hickey's director of business development, Benoit Mareschal, said the decision to adopt Skype was motivated by cost.

The company claims to have saved up to 7.6 percent on its standard call charges and wants to reduce its total telephony expenditure by 50 percent.

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