Luxembourg – March 9, 2006 – Skype™, the global Internet communications company, today announced Skype for Business, a solution designed to help small businesses easily manage communications, improve productivity and reduce costs. Skype for Business expands existing Skype small business offerings to include: Skype for Business Web site, a resource dedicated to business support; new Skype hardware from Plantronics; and new features in Skype for Business Control Panel (formerly named Skype Groups) to simplify management of grouped users and pre-paid services.
Skype for Business introduces a dedicated Web site aimed at simplifying global communications and group administration for companies with fewer than 10 employees, a market represented by more than 50 percent of businesses already using Skype. This new resource, available now at the Web site skype.biz, makes it easy for companies to use Skype and find valuable resources to maximize security and improve productivity. Other useful features include integration with the Microsoft Outlook toolbar and new products optimized for small businesses are also available through Skype for Business.
“We know from listening to our more than 75 million customers that 30 percent of them are regularly using Skype for their businesses and most of these are small companies,” said Niklas Zennström, Skype CEO and co-founder. “Skype is dedicated to being the champion of these companies by making it incredibly easy for them to be productive, save money and have access to a sophisticated global communications solution that helps them compete.”
SKYPE FOR BUSINESS FEATURES
Skype for Business allows administrators to centralize the management of company-wide paid services and usability tools. Skype for Business Control Panel is available in 18 major languages: Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and six currencies: Brazilian real, British pound, euro, Japanese yen, Polish zloty and U.S. dollar. The Skype for Business Control Panel offers a new auto-management feature that enables group administrators to make large credit purchases to one account and simultaneously distribute Skype credits, topping-off all customer accounts. Skype credits can be used for Skype premium offerings including SkypeIn, SkypeOut, voicemail, personalization and third-party conference calling.
“We’re using Skype and it has reduced our voice communications costs significantly.” said Mark Ehr, Director of Product Marketing, Proxima Technology (www.proxima-tech.com), a company that makes service management software. “We frequently hold international four-way conference calls between our offices in Australia, the US and the UK, with usually a mix of Skype and SkypeOut, and it has the potential to save us thousands of dollars. We also use Skype to forward our office phones to our SkypeIn numbers when we're travelling, it's great to be at a hotel in London, receiving free SkypeIn calls, and my callers don't realize that I'm not sitting at my desk in Denver.”
SKYPE CERTIFIED BUSINESS HARDWARE
Plantronics today announced its Internet-optimized Voyager 510 Bluetooth headset solution featuring a plug-and-play USB Bluetooth voice adapter. “Skype for Business coupled with our new Bluetooth headset is the ultimate tool for small businesses,” commented Philip Vanhoutte, EMEA Managing Director, Plantronics. “You no longer need to carry a multitude of devices. Our Voyager 510 Bluetooth headset solution is multipoint, allowing customers to switch seamlessly between mobile phone and Internet calls.”
Other available high-quality products optimized for small businesses include:
Actiontec: Vosky Exchange allows company PBX systems to connect with up to four Skype callers
Linksys: Cordless Internet phone provides freedom of movement; a convenient alternative to Skype calls on the PC
Polycom: Computer Calling Kit, an option for Polycom’s SoundStation2™ and SoundStation2W™ (wireless) conference phones, enables the conference phones to also serve as the microphone and speaker for Internet calling
USRobotics: USB Internet Speakerphone enables hands-free, high-quality Skype calls
THIRD PARTY BUSINESS SERVICES
Skype has partnered to offer enhanced services to business customers. Examples include:
Convenos: The Skype Certified Convenos Meeting Center delivers an on-demand Web collaboration and conferencing tool so customers can run productive, cost-effective meetings (convenos.com)
Digitrad: 1Touch Connect translates the following languages into English: Cantonese, French, Mandarin and Spanish
Salesforce.com: Skype for AppExchange brings Skype features to Salesforce and all the on-demand applications on AppExchange (appexchange.com)
Vapps: High-speed conferencing service enables Skype customers to create moderated calls for up to 500 Skype, wireless, or telephone participants (highspeedconferencing.com)
WebDialogs: Unyte allows Skype enabled businesses to share documents, presentations, applications and/or PC desktops with anyone connected using a Web browser (webdialogs.com/unyte)
Skype already offers small companies the market advantage by lowering operating costs and increasing productivity. Existing Skype features that increase productivity in the workplace include:
Presence: Colleagues can see at a glance whether their co-workers are online, are forwarding their incoming Skype calls, or are unavailable. This allows callers to form ad hoc conference calls or online meetings instantaneously, a competitive advantage over the old ways of organizing a conference call
Mobility: Skype customers can log into any computer, laptop or PDA anywhere around the world and access their Skype account and contact list
Contact List and Global User Directory: Skype eliminates the need for address book maintenance with its central contact list – callers can send contacts and share entire groups of contacts in their buddy list with others
Privacy: Skype calls are end-to-end encrypted for superior privacy
Ease-of-use: With Skype, there is no expensive equipment to buy
Skype is the world’s fastest-growing Internet communication offering, allowing people everywhere to make unlimited voice and video communication for free. Skype is available in 27 languages and is used in almost every country around the world. Skype generates revenue through its premium offerings such as making and receiving calls to and from landline and mobile phones, as well as voicemail and call forwarding. Skype also has relationships with a growing network of hardware and software providers. Skype is an eBay company (NASDAQ: EBAY). To learn more visit skype.com.
Skype is not a telephony replacement service and cannot be used for emergency calling