Skype in a Nutshell

Ever heard of Skype? If not, it’s definitely the time to start familiarizing yourself with this application / facility and it could potentially change your life for the better from saving you telephone costs to helping you stay in touch with family, friends and business partners.

What is Skype?

Skype, in a nutshell, is a piece of software that you install onto your computer and it simply allows you to do FREE calls via the Internet – often referred to now-a-days as VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

It’s hard to believe that one can actually get free calls now-a-days, but it’s true. All you need is an internet connection and for best results, a headset and microphone that you can use to listen and talk through and if you have a suitable connection, a free video calls are also available.

Where do I get Skype?

Skype, like its phone calls, is free and available for download at Skype.com. The site will be able to assist you with any question you may have relating to how you call people, how to set up your Skype account to any support issues you may have.

What about MSN Messenger, ICQ and the other programs I already use to chat to my friends / family?

It’s a matter of preference really, but we tend to use both MSN and Skype as they both popular and both widely used.
Skype is definitely our preference for calls as calls are clearer or of better quality. The Skype application itself is easy and simple to use and quite importantly, calls are secure (encrypted) which is definitely a strong point for those using it in the business world.

You can also chat via Skype as you would via MSN Messenger, Google Talk, etc. Skype has some fun little emoticons as well for those who love using the odd expression in an online chat conversation.

What about people who are NOT on Skype? Can I call them too?

Absolutely, BUT…you will need to buy some Skype credits. Now, before you think there must be a catch, Skype still offers you cheaper call rate for both LOCAL and INTERNATIONAL calls.

What other features could you recommend about Skype?

There’s loads of features and the best would be to check out the Skype website for yourself to familiarize yourself with what is possible.

One very useful facility that we, at Mammoth Solutions, make use of is the facility of having international phone numbers.

For example, we have a UK telephone number and a telephone number in the USA. Our international clients are able to call us in SA at the cost of a local phone call. So, they dial a local number and our Skype phone rings. We are then able to have an overseas conversation at a fraction of the cost of a normal overseas call.

Another useful facility that Skype offers is the fact that it suports conference calling.

Can Skype be integrated into your website?

Yes – you can have a Skype “call me” icon on your website that allows visitors to your website to click the icon and call you on your Skype account. All we do is add a simple line of code that reads “skype:YOURUSERNAME?call” and voila – you can start receiving Skype calls from your website.

Final thoughts…

Skype is a valuable tool and has certainly served Mammoth well. We have numerous international website clients and local clients – and a large number of them call us on Skype. With large projects where we cannot meet our clients regularly, Skype has proven to be a cost-effective and valuable resource.