Skype extends its business capabilities

Skype Manager targeted at small and mid-sized businesses

Skype today launched a Web-based tool to help small and medium sized businesses manage access to the Internet telephony service. Skype Manager replaces Skype Business Control Panel.

Skype Manager allows organisations to create Skype accounts, allocate credits among multiple users, assign different features for individual use, and monitor usage.

"We looked at how Skype is being used in the workplace and specifically designed Skype Manager to make it easier for businesses to centrally manage how Skype is used, managed and paid for by an organisation," said Dan Neary, Asia Pacific vice-president and general manager of Skype. "We want to empower businesses to exploit the full power and value of Skype so they receive all the benefits of enhanced collaboration and cost savings."

Other features of Skype Manager include the centralised control within a company of all Skype usage, the automated renewal of Skype credit and subscriptions and real time reporting, including monthly spending reports.

Neary said that credit in Skype Manager is automatically converted into local currency and that the company has worked hard on the "user experience," resulting in "a new look and feel that is centred on a single control panel."

Neary revealed that Skype group video calling is in beta. Currently limited to group of five people, the new service is free for the time being but will be a paid service in the near future. Neary declined to comment when pressed on availability and pricing of a full release, simply stating "watch this space."

The Skype Manager and group video calling announcements come on the back of last week's news that Skype will now offer plans to let users call international wireline and wireless phones at significantly lower rates.

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