I like Skype. Say it with me..."I like Skype." Now, I don't want to seem too much a pusher of Skype, but I have to say, I'm impressed with this business model (along with Netflix, they're the best 21st century biz models I've experienced.)
Skype takes telephony and translates it into the digital future. Start thinking of your computer as a telephone, is how I could best describe it - a very cheap telephone. And they have business packages, which is why I'm throwing it in our Toolshed. Mostly likely your office has one computer, quite possibly several. With Skype you can make FREE computer-to-computer audio and video calls - and the quality is super sweet (I use it constantly for personal and business use on a Dell Inspiron 1525.)
Below I'll briefly describe the benefits of the tool. It's exquisitely easy to set up thru their website and even easier to make the calls from the desktop application, so I won't spend much time describing technically how to set it up and use it. First, I recommend watching Skype's video that describes their 3 essential benefits of the tool.
1. Pretty damn cheap. If you're making comp-to-comp calls, whether audio, singular video or conference calling, Skype is FREE. That frees up funds to support other, more Core business functions. For calls to landlines or cell phones (dependent on national or international) Skype offers amazing tiers of cost that you can see here.
2. Simple. Seriously, I don't think a Jameson and Bombay hangover could interfere with understanding the directions on Skype's site or the desktop app. There's a LARGE GREEN BUTTON with a phone on it for making calls; a LARGE RED BUTTON for ending calls. Conference calling? Drag and drop the names from your list (or enter the #'s) then click START.
3. Win/Mac/Lin compatible. Compatability is nice, isn't it? Unless your OS is from a different dimension, Skype has you covered.
4. Remote. Have laptop and wi-fi? Or BB or cell with Net or...or... If you have a device that behaves like a phone and has Internet connectivity, you're golden, Pony Boy.
5. Business Control Panel. Listen up, IT Administrators - this panel is your dashboard to manage account balances, puchasing Skype credit, distribute credits through out your network, and manage all the Skype numbers in your office. (See the pic below for how easy it is.)
6. Network Install. And, Eggheads, you can remotely install Skype on EVERY MACHINE IN YOUR OFFICE from the comfort of your ergonomic Staples office chair. Or not...the choice is yours, Young Padawan.
7. Global. Yeah, Skype goes everywhere. Dig it.
8. Equipment. Webcams and headsets oh my! I'm kind of lucky 'cause my laptop has a camera and sweet speaker system built in. If your's does not, don't reach for the Kleenex yet - webcams are cheep-cheep and so are headsets.
9. File transfers and IM. You can use Skype as an IM also and transfer large files quickly. Rock.
10. Heartbeat Blog. Skype posts all sorts of news, especially about system functionality, to their Heartbeat Blog.
If you want to jump in, visit Skype's biz start page. If you have questions or hit snags, please nourish my inner Egghead and write to me for assistance. Peace...James