August 2010

In beta since March of last year, Skype Connect (formerly Skype for SIP) is now officially launched.  The purpose of Skype Connect is to allow companies to connect corporate phone systems to Skype, letting customers who use Skype contact the company via an IP call, and allowing the company to take advantage of Skype’s cheap outbound calling rates to make outbound calls. According to Skype, some 2400 companies have been using the beta since last year.

We have been using Skype Connect to allow customers to connect to Calliflower conference calls via Skype Connect since late 2009.  Four reasons we use it:

  1. The service is solid, and the voice quality is excellent (it’s Skype, after all).
  2. Skype Connect allows us to service customers in countries where we simply can’t obtain local phone numbers – China and India for example.
  3. The price is excellent.  At $6.95/mo for unlimited calling, per channel, it’s very affordable.
  4. Skype Connect is a flat rate price per channel, like Calliflower’s flat rate pricing.  It’s affordable, low risk, and easily forecast.
  5. Our customers love it!  Since introducing Skype calling to our customers in January, usage has steadily ramped.  Today, Skype callers represent 11% of our volume, growing by an average of 16% every month.

Oops… that’s five reasons!

Interested in finding out how good Skype Connect really is?  Click here to call Calliflower from your Skype client.  You’ll be suprised.

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It might seem curmudgeonly of me to say this, but I am baffled by the attention generated by Google’s announcement that they will add voice calling to Gmail. Granted, merging the voice mail box and the email box is a very friendly move for users.  Allowing an immediate follow up to an email, via voice, is also a nice usability feature.  Aren’t these staples of modern day unified communications systems?

Google Voice doesn’t often show up on my radar any more.  It’s not available to those of us who live north of the 49th parallel, so I don’t use it.  That’s a shame.  If Google Voice did supply service here, I would surely take advantage of all of its super cool features like call screening, one number, voice transcription and more. For reasons that are unclear to me, though, especially since Google offers unlimited calls to the United States and Canada, Canadians don’t have access.  Maybe it’s payback for the defeat of the US Men’s Hockey Team at the Olympics?  Who knows?!  That’s as good a theory as any, I suppose.

These days, if I want one-click calling from within email, I turn to Skype.  And perhaps that’s the reason Google is adding these features to Gmail now – Skype already has them, and word on the street is that Skype and Google are headed for a showdown.

Skype also has a global international network, that includes Canada.

So how about it, Team Google? Whaddya say?

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Three reasons I plan to opt out of Facebook Places, for now.

August 23, 2010

Friday morning I got a call from a CBC reporter named Laura.  She had seen me tweet that I planned to turn off Facebook Places and wanted to know more for a planned piece on the Ottawa Morning radio show.  My reasons boil down to the following: Control. Although I’m a heavy user of social […]

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Solve your customers problems by understanding them first.

August 18, 2010

I’ve been doing a ton of customer service recently.  Pat, who does sales for us and handles a lot of customer service related calls, has been off at his son’s wedding.  So I’ve been picking up the phone, selling Calliflower subscriptions, and helping people to understand our offerings as well as the odd bit of […]

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Which phone manufacturer will team up with Sony or Nintendo?

August 17, 2010

Image via Wikipedia Microsoft has finally announced the Xbox Live titles that will be available on Windows Phone 7, and according long time Microsoft watcher Mary-Jo Foley, the company has said that games will be front and center for the Windows 7 platform.  Marrying the successful XBOX franchise to Windows Phone is clearly an attempt […]

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Black Toes, Bruises and Blisters on the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. Lessons for start-up founders.

August 15, 2010

As the West Coast Trail Express sped off into the distance early the morning of July 31, I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. “I’ve forgotten my poles,” I said to Janice.  “They’re sitting in my parents foyer back in Esquimalt.” I’ve used trekking poles when hiking for the past 15 years.  You can go […]

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Ringio: the contact center and virtual PBX for small business.

August 14, 2010

There’s nothing that new in the virtual PBX business, right? Well, if you think that then you likely haven’t heard about Ringio, which just came out of beta last week. Ringio is a cloud based voice service for businesses. A hybrid of CRM, call-center, and PBX, Ringio is probably the perfect answer for any small […]

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