Internet telephony and chat service provider Skype is officially launching Skype Connect 1.0 (formerly Skype for SIP), to the public (you can see the release here). The service has been in beta since last year.
Skype Connect allows a business’ employees to make domestic and international calls using regular office telephones (PBX systems) instead of using a computer and a headset for VoIP calls. Users can receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users to SIP-enabled PBX systems, enabling them to offer click-to-call functionality on websites.
Outbound calls from desktop phones to landlines and mobiles worldwide are billed at Skype’s standard per-minute calling rates and users can receive inbound calls from Skype connected users worldwide by placing Skype’s Click & Call buttons on their Web sites. Skype calls to your SIP-enabled PBX are free of charge to people using Skype.
Pricing for the use of the Skype Connect is €4.95 per channel per month with long-distance calls charged at Skype’s standard per minute call rates (with call rounding). Each channel purchased allows for either one inbound or one outbound call at any time. You can buy up to 300 channels per SIP Profile. Skype Connect can be launched and managed via Skype Manager, a web-based tool that allows IT managers to control Skype usage in a company.
Skype says that approximately 37% of Skype users reported that they use Skype for business-related activities and this particular offering could bring significant revenue from the enterprise sector.
Skype, which filed for an IPO earlier this month, is looking for revenue channels and unsurprisingly sees potential in enterprise use of the service. Of course, it should be interesting to see if the rumors pan out and Cisco ends up buying Skype.