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August 31, 2010

Skype Connect 1.0 Now Available for Business Users

By Deepika Mala, TMCnet Contributor

Skype (News - Alert) Connect 1.0 has been officially introduced by Skype. To connect to Skype, Skype Connect 1.0, previously available in beta, delivers a business solution that enables IP-enabled private branch exchange or Unified Communications (News - Alert) systems.

Businesses, by using Skype Connect can now:

--Make outbound calls from desktop phones to landlines and mobiles worldwide billed at Skype’s standard per-minute calling rates

--Receive inbound calls from Skype connected users worldwide by placing Skype’s Click & Call buttons on their Web sites

--Receive calls from landlines or mobile phones in the corporate PBX using Skype’s online numbers that have been purchased separately

--Manage Skype calls using existing PBX or UC systems’ features such as call routing, automatic call distribution, conferencing, auto-attendant, voicemail, call recording and logging

“Since its inception, Skype has been used by many businesses wanting to reduce communications costs. In fact, based on internal research, in the first quarter of 2010, approximately 37 percent of Skype users reported that they use Skype for some business or business-related purposes,” David Gurlé, VP and general manager of Skype for Business, said. “Our team’s goal is to empower businesses of all sizes and types with rich communications tools to unleash their productivity, while reducing their telecommunications costs. Following Skype Manager’s launch in May, we are very proud to add Skype Connect to our list of specially designed enterprise solutions. Skype Connect seeks to enable our customers to reduce their phone bills, while protecting their investment in existing telecommunications equipment.”

Since the beta availability of Skype Connect, the following milestones have been accomplished:

--Skype Connect already has over 2,400 active global customers

--Skype Connect is now certified to work with PBX and UC products from Avaya, Cisco (News - Alert), SIPfoundry, ShoreTel and other OEMs

--Skype Connect also works with older TDM PBXs or Key Systems which can now add Skype calling capabilities through third-party IP gateways from AudioCodes (News - Alert), Grandstream and VoSKY

--Skype Manager, a simple web-based tool, was launched to allow IT managers to set-up Skype Connect and control Skype usage in a company

--New dedicated customer support, including real-time chat, is now available for Skype Connect customers and Skype Manager administrators directly through Skype Manager

--VARs and system integrators have been enrolled in our new Skype Channel Partner Program. We will share more details on this program soon

In related news, Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless now offers Skype mobile on many 3G Multimedia phones, making it easy to affordably stay connected with friends and family.

Deepika Mala is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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