Skype today announced it has updated its software for enterprises with Group Video Calling, which is available immediately in the new Business version of Skype (version 5.0 for Windows PCs). This new desktop offering empowers businesses of all sizes to enrich their communications and enhance their business relationships through the ability of having group video calls between three or more people (up to a maximum of 10). The Business version of Skype offers a powerful communications platform for individuals to interact in real-time over high quality audio and video, conference calling, instant messages, SMS, or even by sharing files or screen sharing one’s desktop or a presentation.
“With Group Video Calling, we can offer business people an easy way to stay connected and collaborate face-to-face with multiple colleagues, partners or customers around the world,” said David Gurlé, General Manager and Vice President of Skype’s Enterprise business unit. “The Business version of Skype is great for live meetings and it offers a compelling low-cost option compared to competing solutions that are often complicated, costly or difficult to deploy.”
Among the many advantages of the Business version of Skype, enterprise administrators have an easy way to deploy Skype to employees within an organization. It also provides the ability to control how Skype is used within the workplace by letting administrators turn off or configure a variety of Skype settings. Enterprise administrators can also create Skype accounts for employees, allocate Skype Credit or subscriptions and assign premium features, like Group Video Calling, through a Web-based tool called Skype Manager.
Group Video Calling for businesses is available from Skype for $8.99 (€5.99/£4.99)* per user per month. When businesses use Skype Manager to sign up their employees for a 3 or 12-month subscription for Group Video Calling, they will receive a 33 percent promotional discount.
Approximately 37 percent of Skype users say they use Skype’s product platform occasionally or often for business-related purposes.1 In addition, video calling accounted for approximately 40 percent of all Skype-to-Skype minutes in the first half of 2010.
Headquartered in New York City, ePromos Promotional Products, Inc., one of the top promotional product and branding companies in the world, uses Skype’s Group Video Calling feature to conduct business with its 20,000 customers around the U.S., as well as for internal meetings, training, and brainstorming. By using Skype to communicate, ePromos can deliver exceptional client service, which helps them win in the $20 billion promotional product industry.
“For one client, we had a product being custom-made overseas,” said Jeff Pinsky, Executive Vice President, ePromos. “We set up one group video call using Skype that included our client, their sales rep and creative services so that we could all simultaneously review and discuss small details in high-definition, such as trim and filigree, as well as check out similar products online. Skype Group Video Calling lets us achieve better results – faster – by eliminating at least 2-3 weeks, 1-2 meetings and another 2-4 hours of calls typically included in the product development process.”
To start a group video call, only one member of the conference call needs to be using Skype for Windows 5.1 or the latest Business version of Skype. For all participants to receive video in a group setting, they need to be using the 5.0 version of Skype for Mac or Windows, at a minimum. Skype video calls between two parties will continue to be offered as a free product.