Chicago (IL) - Skype Technologies announced today a beta business-based VoIP service to run on the open-standard SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). The eBay-owned communications company has increases its base to well over 15 million daily users, however eBay would like Skype to be a better financial performer on their balance sheets. As such, a business-class service began last month with 438,000 PBXes shipped, according to IDC.
Called Skype For SIP, SIP-compatible PBX owners are able to use both of Skype's desktop-based and handset-based calling technologies. The service would make it free to call any business using Skype as the desktop client.
While Skype today offers a handset service, it requires that a PC be in use somewhere to coordinate the handset call with communications over the Internet. Skype's new PBX handles this directly without the need for a specific PC.
According to the press release, there are over 405 million registered Skype users. The daily online traffic varies and is notably less at around 15 million users during peak times. The company reports having made more than 100 billion minutes worth of free Skype-to-Skype calls, which is 190,128 person-years worth of continuous calls.
The Skype For SIP is currently in beta and enables business users to do the following:
1) Receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users worldwide on SIP-enabled PBX systems; connecting the company Web site to the PBX system via click-to-call.
2) Place calls with Skype to landlines and mobile phones worldwide from any connected SIP-enabled PBX; reducing costs with Skype's low-cost global rates.
3) Purchase Skype's online numbers, to receive calls to the corporate PBX from landlines or mobile phones.
4) Manage Skype calls using their existing hardware and system applications such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail; no additional downloads or training are required.
Business users can contact Skype to apply for the service at www.skypeforsip.com. According to Skype, "Applicants will need to be businesses, have an installed SIP based IP-PBX system, as well as a level of technical competency to configure their own SIP-enabled PBX. The initial beta is available to a limited number of participants."
Skype also warns, "During the beta period all calls will be charged at standard Skype rates. Further pricing details will be announced when the product is fully launched later this year."
See Skype's press release.