Today, though, is Skype's biggest announcement yet - they are announcing the certification of Cisco's Unified Communications 500 Series for Small Business as interoperable with Skype For SIP.
Beyond simply the interop, what's perhaps more interesting is to note the direct Cisco involvement with this news release (through a quote). Looking at the overall industry, it's interesting to see Cisco and Skype connecting. I admit that I haven't studied Cisco's UC500 product much at all, although per the news release it sounds like they are doing some interesting things with it:
The Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series platform is part of Cisco’s Smart Business Communications System which continues to expand having just added a new set of IP phones with high definition audio, a unified threat management device as well as support for third party application integration, including products from healthcare, automotive and insurance industries.
Congrats to both Skype and Cisco on this announcement. I expect we'll be seeing more of these announcements in the weeks and months ahead as Skype continues to aggressively court partners. The Skype For SIP offering does provide some useful functionality for on-premise IP-PBX systems:
- Ability to receive inbound calls from Skype users
- Ability to receive inbound calls from PSTN users through "online numbers" (formerly SkypeIn)
- Ability to place outbound calls to PSTN users
The Online Number functionality is particularly interesting as you can easily set up any series of numbers in other parts of the world that ring back into your IP-PBX. Sure, you can do that with any other SIP trunking provider, too, but Skype makes it incredibly easy to provision those numbers - and for a very low annual cost, too. Making your IP-PBX accessible to all the Skype users, too, is quite powerful.
Now if only you could make outbound calls to Skype users... (NOT possible with Skype For SIP, but possible with Skype For Asterisk).
Anyway, congrats again to Skype and Cisco on this announcement.