Skype Is Still The Best “Free” Communication Tool for Small Businesses
After I wrote an article yesterday about the new free calls from Google Talk (integrated in Gmail), asking if Google was after the Skype business, I received a few comments inquiring why I still prefer Skype.
Google “call” feature on Gmail is great, it has been reported that more than a million of Gmail users have tried the feature during the first 24 hours. I believe Google has made a significant step to enter the Unified Communications arena, and the Gmail Talk service is outstanding for individual users, but Skype is a much better business tool.
Skype has been around for many years.. they were pioneers in the VoIP arena. When Microsoft and Yahoo were deploying their initial IM services (chat only) Skype was allowing people to make free calls and chat (that feature was never a priority). After a couple of years they introduced video calls and now they have an excellent video quality over standard Internet connections.
For a small and medium business with several offices Skype offers the best alternative to physical meetings. Just the small investment of a normal PC, a large LCD screen, a conference speakerphone and a high resolution camera in the conference rooms and you can have 1-to-1 high-quality video conferences. Usually the only hardware to add is the Webcam, since most conference rooms today are equipped with the other devices.
Skype only allows Video Conferences between two parties, but companies like Vivu (www.vivu.tv) allow up to 8 Video participants using Skype as the voice platform for only $10/month, and you can have additional users on voice only. Also you can record the conferences for later use, great for training sessions, online courses, etc. Vivu allows you to sync the video with your PowerPoint presentation as well.
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