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Skype takes wraps off SMB networking platform

VOIP provider repackages classroom offering for the workplace.

Cloud communications

Skype has unveiled a new service designed to help small businesses make corporate connections both locally and acround the world.

The online collaboration platform, dubbed Skype in the Workspace (SITW), has been in private beta testing for around three months, but has now been launched as a public beta.

Head of SMB marketing at Skype, Ural Cebeci, told IT Pro while people may be familiar with Skype's VOIP service at a personal level, such as communicating with friends and family abroad, there are also millions of small businesses using it.

"[Businesses are increasingly shifting online] and as part of that shift, they are replacing the tools they already have with online tools or cloud-based tools. For example Skype is replacing landline phones and that delivers cost savings," he added.

SITW is modelled on a similar service, Skype in the Classroom [SITC], which was launched a year and a half ago.

"We got some really good [results from SITC], showing how schools are using it to share class plans and, in some cases, to actually attend each other's classes. From that idea we started thinking Could we do something similar for small businesses and provide that platform to make their Skype experience much richer?'," Cebeci said.

He explained that SITW allows SMBs not only to interconnect with their customers and their partners, but to form business networks as well.

After making an initial connection via SITW, SMBs are encouraged to take the discussion onto the main Skype client using its instant messaging, and conference and video calling capabilities.

"This is really an extension of what we already do, not a departure from it. The platform provides a means of finding other people who have a similar interest and making a connection [with them], but everything else, the core communication happens within the Skype client," added Cebeci.

Those wishing to access the service can sign up via the Skype in the Workspace website using their existing Skype or LinkedIn accounts, and it is also available to new users.

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