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