I have been meaning to write a post about Skype for quite some time. If
you are not aware of Skype, it's a program for making free calls over
the internet to anyone else who also has downloaded the program -
computer to computer.
I was thinking last night when talking to a
friend in Germany using Skype that small online businesses (or small
businesses in general) can capitalize on the benefits provided by VOIP
providers such as Skype and greatly reduce their phone bills.
Personally, I have found that Skype has excellent sound quality and
have not had any security issues (knock on wood) yet. Skype developers
have also taken time to bridge the platform gap. That means it works
well for talking, sending IM's or transferring files between Windows,
MacOS X, Linux and PDAs using Pocket PC.
In addition, Skype is making
some inroads into the general consumer population and launching a new
service with Kodak (this week at the consumer electronics show - CES)
that combines live voice conversations and photo sharing. The advantage
for many small business owners (especially international ones) is that
you get a regular phone number for people to call you at and all for
just a few cents a minute. It has become an essential part of my home
communication and I can certainly see numerous applications in the online business world. Take a look for yourself at Skype.com.
Pete Prestipino - WSM Managing EditorSkype | VOIP | Small Business | Website Services