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Summary:

Skype’s S-1 notes that it is planning to introduce more products for businesses, although it doesn’t go into any detail as to what they might be; I thought it would be interesting to get your thoughts on what products Skype should be working on.

Skype, the popular VoIP service, has filed for a $100 million IPO. The company’s S-1 notes that it is planning to introduce more products for businesses, although it doesn’t go into any detail as to what they might be, so I thought it would be interesting to get your thoughts on what products Skype should be working on.

While the Skype service grew out of a consumer VoIP offering, the company believes there is significant scope for growth in targeting the business market; in a survey of 40,000 Skype customers earlier this year, approximately 37 percent of the respondents reported that they used Skype’s products for business-related purposes at least some of the time. Skype currently offers two products for business: Skype Connect, which enables businesses to use Skype with their PBX systems, and Skype Manager, which provides a way to centrally manage a company’s Skype usage.

So what might these new business products be? I have a couple of suggestions. Firstly, as Skype has expanded the collaborative capabilities of its product of late — adding features such as file transfers, multi-person video calls and screensharing — a more full-featured, robust web conferencing offering could be on the cards. As Ryan pointed out, Skype needs to find a way to monetize the video calls made through its service, and getting companies to pay for additional features may just be a way to do that. However, it’s a pretty crowded market, with some well-established players like WebEx and GoToMeeting.

Secondly, Skype could also look to expand the Skype Connect service, providing the ability to connect employees’ mobile phones to a company’s PBX though Skype. Employees could then effectively have their office phones in their pockets when they’re on the road, providing similar functionality to the Alcatel Lucent Multimodal Communication Companion that I wrote about recently.

Those are my suggestions, but what business products do you think Skype should develop?

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Consumer Video Chat Market, 2010-2015

  1. A web/VoIP based IVR service. A simple web interface would enable setting rules, simple scripts and routing callers accordingly. Rules could depend on time of day, caller ID (or country), Skype availability status, etc. It should support some interactivity.

    This will be a valuable service for a webworker or a MicroISV which supports customers (“for custom support press 1…”).

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    1. Zaplee works with the Skype for Asterisk platform and just like you requested, has a simple web interface for basic rules and call routing. Give it a try.. http://www.zaplee.com

      Disclaimer: work for Zaplee

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  2. Small correction, Simon: “Skype Connect” is Skype’s rent-WiFi-by-the-minute service (thing Boingo) for when you are on the go. “Skype for SIP” is the enterprise product you described.

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    1. According to the page here, it’s called Skype Connect: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/business/sip/get-it-now

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  3. Integration with Google Apps. A dashboard as described by ZVIKICO would be very helpful for groups.

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  4. How about their current services extended to other countries (the only services we get here in Canada is skype to skype, and paying for credits ).

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    1. Jenn, you can get Online numbers now and point them directly to your skype account using services like sendmycall or didlogic. Hope that helps…

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  5. I would like to see Skype provide a virtual PBX for the SMB users along with their current connection to a in-house PBX. Also integrate with Google Apps and Voice products would provide business people with a great set products that Skype can make money as SaaS services.

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