Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skype For Business Winners Announced

Skype For Business Winners Announced: "I've been meaning to post this since Monday, but the Smart Grid Summit is just keeping me too busy. Anyhow, I've been a Skype follower from the beginning, and try to keep up as best I can. I don't have the dedicated focus of Skype Journal or Jim Courtney's blog, and those are the places to go for the in-depth low down on what Skype is up to.

That said, I get asked by the media a lot about Skype for business in particular. It's always been a bit of a conundrum, as you don't always think of Skype as a business application, even though it's so widely used in the office. Problem is, most people associate Skype with PC-based telephony, but of course, it's so much more.

Aside from the Summit activity, we're off on vacation tomorrow, so I don't have the luxury to time to give you any real analysis of the purpose of this post. Basically, on Monday Skype announced the winners of their global Skype For Business Competition. The results were posted on Stefan Oberg's Skype blog that day, and you can review them all there. I don't know how many entries were submitted, but it's great way to get the Skype developer community focused on real world applications that add value for business users.

It's great to see the global breadth of the winners, although it's too bad there were no Canadian winners! Anyhow, just a quick scan indicates there are business applications that go beyond basic voice calling, and hopefully Skype is takig some good steps forward to develop a suite of features that can be monetized with business users. There's lots of latent opportunity for building on everyday Skype features and extending that to collaboration, and there are some examples of that in the posting.

What really stands out for me, though, is how many winning apps have to do with language translation and learning English in foreign countries. Skype sure is a natural tool for that, and all Skype users get their share of random requests from people who just want chat to learn English - I know I do. The international community is probably the one thing Skype has over all the other IM platforms, mainly because they are largely U.S. in origin. By extension, I would think this could be the pot of gold for Skype as a business tool - either to support multinational businesses or as a platform to enable international business, regardless of language. That's my two cents for now, and if you have another take, I'd love to hear it.

All told, though, congrats to the winners, and I sure hope this is a sign of good things to come for Skype in the business world.