I’m guessing that most of the people reading this blog have not ever heard of Skype before. I thought I would let you know what it is, so that you can feel “hip” whenever you hear someone talking about this in the future. Skype is a way to make telephone calls using your computer and Internet connection. It works like a regular phone and even allows you to do video conferencing if you have a webcam…all for FREE. The only catch is that in order to be free, the person receiving the call must also have Skype installed on their computer. It can be very useful in certain cases. For example, Lindsay’s “bosses” have family in England and Ireland, but they live here in town. So, they and their families have Skype installed on their computers and they can communicate with each other without paying a dime for trans-Atlantic phone calls. Pretty sweet! Another interesting benefit is the fact that Skype has supposedly made calls to non-Skype phones (e.g. cell phones, home phones, etc) free for the rest of this year. I haven’t tried it yet, but it comes from trusted sources.
There are, however, certain limitations to what Skype can do for you. First, you must have a high speed Internet connection to begin with. Second, it requires both people to be at a computer, so it’s not really useful for mobile calls (unless you have something like a PDA that can connect to the Internet at a high speed). If you already use VoIP (e.g. Vonage) then you probably get long distance for free anyway…taking one of Skype’s benefits away.
So, in short, Skype may not be for everyone, but it’s an interesting concept that is catching on very quickly. I think that it will be especially beneficial for companies that have international offices. They will be able to have video conferences with locations around the globe for no cost.