Stuart Henshall asks "Should Skype have a PhoneGnome Strategy". The answer is a resounding yes. However, Skype’s proprietary protocol is a real handicap in this scenario. Many of the benefits of the strategy Stuart advocates are already available with standards-based solutions, such as Gizmo Project.
Stuart says some of the benefits would be:
Home Phone numbers to be associated with Skype accounts. Thus every PhoneGnome activated with a Skype Account would 1) ring when the home phone rings (anywhere!) and 2) provide cheap SkypeOut rates when dialing out of your local calling area with the home phone. Thus more integrated than doing what I now do. Which is run SoftGnome and Skype concurrently.
- Backup/Skype solution for when a computer is not operating. All Skype calls would ring the home phone. This is no different that Skype’s call forwarding option that is offered now. However the ring for this service would be free. Device availability could be communicated as well.
- It would substitute SkypeOut for creating an agreement with another ITSP. It would also enable dial by number for all Skypers who also have PhoneGnome. This would result in many more SkypeOut minutes being used.
New service opportunities for the family are opened up. Currently SkypeIn numbers appeal to a small audience. Eg a business line, or access in other countries. Create a SkypeGnome strategy and the opportunity for additional services that cater to each member is increased. Eg one home line, four extensions. Voice Mail on Skype etc.
Now consider the following scenario:
You can configure any ITSP to work with PhoneGnome. Use SIPPhone as the ITSP in your PhoneGnome. For all your outgoing calls you would get the benefit of $0.01/minute calling. For incoming calls from Gizmo buddies, have them add a *746 prefix to your home phone number in the Gizmo address book. Calls then go directly from SIPPhone to your PhoneGnome.
This also gives you the benefit of a backup solution. Now, if the Gizmo buddy you’re trying to reach is offline, you can quickly establish that using presence, and choose the toll free *746 PhoneGnome number instead. No minutes consumed.