Siemens Gigaset is offering firms an easy way to enjoy free phone calls over the internet with the launch of its M34 USB PC Adapter.
The adapter is designed to be embedded into cordless phones, and allows users to get free calls to other similarly-equipped phones via the increasingly popular peer-to-peer software Skype, which is loaded onto a PC for free.
The Skype software, developed with the help from the founders of the hugely popular Kaaza peer-to-peer file sharing software, has already been downloaded by 8.1 million users so far.
Until now, users have made free phone calls via Skype using specially adapted fixed desk phones. The Siemens adapter delivers a mobile solution and also combines voice and data applications that can be accessed directly from the handset – including instant messaging and e-mails, without users having to sit at their desks.
The adapter is designed for connections over both dial-up and broadband networks. Siemens says it is also working on an adapter which can be used in phones connected over a wireless Lan – this will increase the range of a cordless phone using the adapter.
Because operators have been fearful of losing revenue as a result of Internet voice telephony, they have been slow in introducing solutions to users. However, Skype should inevitably force them to support such services with their own solutions.
This article was part of Computer Weekly's enterprise mobile business channel, sponsored by Nokia
This was first published in June 2004