A beta technology from voice over internet protocol (VoIP) firm Skype can bring cheaper voice calling to corporate PBX systems based on session initiation protocol (SIP).
The beta version of Skype For SIP for business users is now available from the provider.
SIP is an open standard and the leading VoIP protocol used in businesses' telephony networks.
Skype For SIP allows SIP PBX owners to benefit from Skype's low-cost calls to fixed phones and mobiles around the world, and to receive calls from Skype users directly into their PBX system.
With the technology, businesses can be reached by the community of over 405 million registered Skype users through click-to-call platforms from their business websites, said Skype.
Calls can be received through existing office systems at no cost to the customer. At the same time, businesses can benefit from Skype's low-cost global calling rates when placing calls to landlines and mobiles worldwide from devices connected to their PBX systems.
In addition, they can choose to purchase online Skype numbers available in over 20 countries to receive calls from business contacts and customers who are using traditional fixed lines or mobile phones.
"The introduction of Skype for SIP is a significant move for Skype and for any communication-intensive business around the world," said Stefan Oberg, vice-president and general manager of Skype for Business.
"It effectively combines the obvious cost savings and reach of Skype with its large user base, with the call handling functionality, statistics and integration capabilities of traditional office PBX systems, providing great economical savings and increased productivity for the modern business."
Rebecca Swensen, an analyst at IDC, said, "Businesses have been waiting for Skype to make a concerted push into the business space for a while.
"Connecting to existing standards-based SIP PBXs is a good way for Skype to start doing so. It will be interesting to see how large companies change their thinking about the deployment of Skype within their network."
The basic security of Skype is not in doubt, as the European Union is sponsoring research into how law enforcement agencies can crack the encryption system of the service, to enable them to tap the voice traffic of an increasing number of criminals using Skype.
The initial SIP beta is available to a limited number of participants. Full pricing details will be announced when the product is fully launched later this year.
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