Skype aims for small business via Cisco interoperability

Skype continues its march to be an enterprise telephony player. The company said its Skype for SIP service is now interoperable with Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series designed for small businesses.

Skype continues its march to be an enterprise telephony player. On Wednesday, Skype said its Skype for SIP service is now interoperable with Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series designed for small businesses.

The Cisco deal (statement, Techmeme) coupled with an interoperability pact with ShoreTel, indicates Skype is developing a solid enterprise partnership roster. The beta version of Skype for SIP launched in March. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, which is a standard for voice over Internet protocol used it corporate networks. Skype will now connect to corporate phone systems so you can Skype fixed line phones and mobiles from a traditional PBX system—your standard phone set-up.

Under the Skype interoperability with Cisco small businesses can route their calls through Skype to save money. Cisco's gear will treat Skype call just like any other incoming call. Cisco's small business series will also associate Skype numbers with its unified communications suite.

With the move Skype's business model is coming into focus. Its freemium business model is nice, but the real money will be in business phone services.

In a Knowledge@Wharton article, Wharton professor Saikat Chaudhuri said business services are the future for Skype's business model. Chaudhuri also added that he expects Skype to continue to broaden its enterprise push.

"By offering teleconferencing and videoconferencing, it can get a bigger piece of the revenue pie."