Go VoIP to Save Cash When Mobile | Page 2

There are plenty of VoIP clients available for download for most mobile phone platforms, including Fring and Nimbuzz. They offer a bridge to the Skype network so you can make and receive Skype calls. They also provide connectivity to standard SIP services —and Truphone. These are great for budget travelers and backpacking teenagers, but for the most part, these applications are an irrelevent to the enterprise user.

Who's going to pick up their phone, launch an app like Fring or Nimbuzz, stumble through the app's unwieldy contact list, and finally make a call, when they can make a conventional call far more simply without it? For VoIP to be a practical proposition for business purposes it has to be transparent to the user—or as nearly transparent as possible.

In practice this means the VoIP client has to be built into the phone and integrated with the phone's OS and other native applications -- especially the address book. It also has to be SIP based so that it can be pre-configured with the settings for the user's organization's own VoIP system or third-party VoIP provider. This has the additional benefit that anyone calling the user's office direct dial number or internal extension would automatically go through to the cell phone overseas— without the user incurring high incoming call costs.

A good example of this is Nokia SIP client built in to the Nokia E51—one of Nokia's smaller business phones with built-in Wi-Fi, and the one I happen to carry. Thanks to the SIP client's deep integration with the rest of the phone making low cost international calls from the Caribbean is simply a matter of finding a number from the E51's address book and choosing "Internet call" rather than "Voice call."

Since I've configured the phone to use the SIP service offered by my ISP, and since the ISP bundles 120 free VoIP minutes every month with my DSL line, the calls I made back to England weren't just cheap , they didn't cost anything extra. Now that's what I call free speech. For an enterprise, connecting one of these handsets to the corporate VoIP system would be just as easy.

Also, Skype is keen on making it easier -- and more secure -- for businesses to use its Internet phone service. On Dec. 2, Skype opened up the Skype for SIP (session initiation protocol) beta program, allowing businesses to use Skype for SIP with their existing SIP-based PBX or Unified Communications (UC) systems.

A company’s IT administrator just creates and registers a Skype Business Control Panel(BCP) for the organization and then follows the instructions to configure Skype for SIP to work with its existing SIP-enabled communications system.

This Web-based tool allows a company to control its Skype usage from a single point and enables centralized billing, as well as reporting about both usage and spending.

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