Skype fine for internal business calls

commentary Last week this column asked the question of whether free Internet telephony Skype was good enough for business use. In the seven days since that article was published, ZDNet Australia readers who voiced their opinion on the issue have broadly come to a consensus.

commentary Last week this column asked the question of whether free Internet telephony Skype was good enough for business use.

Renai LeMay, ZDNet Australia
In the seven days since that article was published, ZDNet Australia readers who voiced their opinion on the issue have broadly come to a consensus.

The answer? Skype is definitely good enough quality to be used for at least internal business calling -- as long as you have a decent broadband connection.

"Skype is still not reliably good enough to trust for customer-facing calls, but for internal meetings where employees are on the road or in different offices, it's perfect," was reader David Gillespie's feedback to our initial article.

Aurel Ardelean agreed.

"We are using it for calls between employees on three continents (AU, USA, EU). Works fine every time, even from airport wireless hotspots. Saves us heaps on international roaming costs," the reader wrote.

Perhaps the most striking example of Skype use came from Richard Lord, the chief operating officer of local firm Hyro. In an interview this week, Lord revealed his company had around 85-100 employees in Australia and New Zealand using Skype, primarily for internal communications.

"We haven't ripped out the old PABX yet, but more and more calling is being done over Skype," wrote Lord in an e-mail.

While Skype appears to be popular for internal business calling, when it comes to making calls to the outside world, it's a different story.

"We distribute several Skype products including VoSKY Exchange and RTX DUALphone," wrote Daryl Chambers. "Our experience is that SkypeOut calling for business is very problematic (low quality) but Skype when used to call other Skype users is normally high quality."

Chambers and another reader, Philip Trouchet, also pointed out the importance of having a good broadband connection when using Skype.

"I live in rural Western Australia and am forced to use satellite connection up and down," wrote Trouchet. "The delay in relay and poor sound quality make [Skype] useless. Back to e-mail."

The experience of these readers mirrors that of your writer. Since upgrading from 256kbps ADSL to ADSL2+ (at around 16Mbps) at home, no Skype quality issues have been experienced -- unless calling or taking calls from the traditional telephony network.

Of course this sort of situation always occurs when bleeding-edge technology such as Internet telephony has to interface with traditional hardware that's been the standard for decades.

That's why many big businesses are investing millions of dollars in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions from the likes of enterprise-grade vendors such as Cisco and Avaya.

But the fact that high-profile businesses like Hyro admit to using Skype should be enough to make the big vendors a little nervous. And SkypeOut's quality will surely get better as time goes on.

Do you agree that Skype is good enough for internal calling within your business? Drop me a line directly at renai.lemay@zdnet.com.au or post your opinion below this article.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All