Google is going after consumers with last week's news about Google Talk being able to make calls now, and binding to GoogleVoice accounts as well. Well Skype isn't sitting still, so while Google chases the no money crowd, Skype is following Willie Sutton's line when asked why he robbed banks. "Because that's where the money is" as the telecom disruptor goes upmarket and upstream into the Business and Enterprise realms with the renaming of Skype for SIP to Skype Connect.
According to today's announcement Skype Connect already has over 2,400 active global customers and is now certified to work with PBX and UC products from Avaya, Cisco, SIPfoundry, ShoreTel and other OEMs. My client's FreeTalk Connect offering is one of them and for small business provides the best option to blend Skype Connect (SIP) and Skype for Asterisk, plus PSTN lines all in one box. What's more, the PSTN port provides easy access to E911, something that Skype Connect doesn't offer but which other PBX suppliers can offer.
What's neat here is that Skype Connect also works with older TDM PBXs or Key Systems which can now add Skype calling capabilities through third-party IP gateways from AudioCodes, Grandstream and others. Skype has also created the Skype Manager, a simple web-based tool, to allow IT managers to set-up Skype Connect and control Skype usage in a company as well as adding new dedicated customer support which includes real-time chat, another longstanding challenge that was in the way of Skype being totally business friendly.
With Skype Connect they have made their first formal stab into the business community, and clearly thought through the pain points that exist. Now the ball gets passed to the various equipment vendors and manufacturers to better explain why Skype should be in their business, and become their carrier of choice.