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Skype is one of the world’s most successful and well-known VOIP brands, and largely was the company that introduced VOIP-based calling to the masses. Originally devised in 2003, Skype has been within the Microsoft family since 2011 and with more than 660 million registered users, Skype is easily the most successful (and valuable) VOIP brand in history. Although largely known as a consumer brand focused on individual users, Skype offers small businesses the opportunity to use VOIP-based calling to reduce their communications costs while making use of a number of business tools that are ideal for Skype’s commercial use.
As a broad outline, Skype offers users all the software and tools they need to communicate with others by voice, video and instant messaging over the internet. While calls to other skype users are free of charge, phone calls can be made to users on traditional telephone networks and mobile networks at a rate that is considerably smaller than that on traditional networks. Skype suggests that its services are ideal for home office use and for small and medium sized businesses and offer a range of services and tools that aid its deployment in these contexts.
Implementing Skype in your business is made easier by the ‘Skype Manager’ tool, which lets administrators and managers control access to Skype by employees. Skype Manager lets you create Skype accounts for colleagues and employees, allocate them credit and open up access to certain features for certain users. Additionally, Skype Manager also lets you view in-depth data about spending, call length, frequency of calls and more – all of which will help those running businesses using Skype improve the efficiency of call management. Skype Manager also lets users add other users to ‘groups’ within the company (i.e. for departments), modify their details and manage individual accounts’ security settings. It really couldn’t be simpler.
One of the excellent things about Skype business is that all of the features that made Skype a household name are also available to business users. Users in a business setting can use call transfer and Call Waiting (to manage incoming calls better), take part in simple conference calling without the need for any expensive technology, use video and group video chat features and send instant messages throughout their organisation and beyond. Individual users can also keep track of their contacts in a ‘members list’ which can be centrally accessed through Skype Manager. What’s more, because Skype Manager gives administrators access to a range of tools that lets them customize access to Skype within their organization, it’s easy to restrict the use of certain features which may either distract employees or use up too much bandwidth – the decision is yours!
We really enjoyed finding out how Skype could be used in a business context, being especially excited by how simple and straightforward integrating Skype into an existing computer network would be (there’s even a guide for administrators looking to combine Skype with an existing PBX system). If you’re looking for a way to improve functionality and reduce costs in your business communications, Skype could well be the perfect solution!
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