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Skype SIP Trunks for the Enterprise

Will large enterprises start using Skype now that they offer SIP trunks? Skype recently announced a beta program for SIP trunking. They partnered with industry SBC leader, Acme Packet, to create the service. While Skype has offered its Skype In/Out services as a way for Skype users to talk to others on the PSTN, direct connectivity between Skype clients has its advantages including:* Higher Quality Audio--Skype 4 uses a wideband, adaptive codec and there is less delay than talking with someone off the Skype network

* Video--Desktop video that is fairly robust. Skype In/Out is for voice only.

* UC Apps--Presence, chat, conferencing with other Skype users

While Skype SIP Trunking product only supports voice today in its beta trial, video and the rest of Skype's features are on the way. Skype does not pose an immediate threat to the traditional telephone companies in the enterprise who also offer SIP trunking, but it does offer some value that organizations can start realizing immediately including:

1. International Customer Calls--Supporting toll free internationally is expensive and difficult, especially for customers who call a lot. Skype offers a simple click to call application that any company can add to its web site. When a customer wants to talk with the company, they hit the click to call app, enter some information, then wait for a call. This gives the enterprise the ability to find the right resource and the right network to most efficiently and effectively interact with the customer.

2. Interaction with Colleagues--For conference calls of just a few people, where some of the people are offsite, Skype works well. If connectivity is not robust, colleagues understand. Most users with decent Internet access find Skype "good enough".

3. Airplanes--As WiFi becomes available on more airplanes, users will demand voice communication, even if the quality is poor.

Most IT organizations control what software runs on corporate devices and require all applications get certified. Since Skype offers a service that most IT organizations already offer, there is not a lot of excitement in IT on adding another application to the mix. But, with more executives demanding it for travel when they are on the road to call home and see the family, plus the drive to lower operational costs, the exception of not supporting Skype could become the norm.

Skype is used by over 500 million people worldwide. Skype will continue to add more users and features, especially as users start doing VoIP on 3&4G cellular networks. Consumers love Skype because it is free and "good enough". Skype's SIP Trunking offers a secure and supportable service that enterprises may fall in love with also.