Amid rumors of being eyed for acquisition by Cisco, Skype has officially launched Skype Connect 1.0, a box that connects PBX and unified communication systems to the company's popular peer-to-peer VoIP service.
The release of Skype Connect 1.0 -- formerly in beta as Skype for SIP -- may shed some light on why Cisco might be interested in picking up Skype. Just as Google is no longer just a search company, Cisco is certainly more than a networking company. Rather, it has steadily expanded its communications and collaboration portfolio over the years with such mergers and acquisitions as WebEx, telepresence company Tandberg, and IM purveyor Jabber, not to mention a dozen VoIP companies between 1997 and 2006.
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Skype takes a peer-to-peer approach to VoIP that could complement Cisco's existing communication arsenal: Rather than processing calls on a central server, the work is done on the connected clients (or, in Skype-speak, the nodes), making for a more scalable system. Skype also plays well with SIP, which Cisco current uses for it IP telephony line.
The official release of Skype Connect 1.0 sweetens Skype's business appeal -- and perhaps its appeal to Cisco: The box connects to existing PBXes, routing outgoing calls over Skype's peer-to-peer network and incoming calls to an organization's existing office infrastructure. Admins can use Skype Connect to manage Skype calls using existing PBX or UC systems' features, such as call routing, automatic call distribution, conferencing, auto-attendant, voicemail, call recording, and logging.
The product is certified to support PBX and UC products from Avaya, Cisco, SIPfoundry, ShoreTel, and other OEMs.