Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Skype, Skype Manager, Skype Connect & Skype Programming

Most people know you can install and use Skype on your phone or even your computer to place phone or video calls or send chat messages. But, have you ever used Skype on TV to watch friends and family members while you talk? What about using Skype on your home phone; or, using it to make group calls? Or, if you own a business did you know you can use Skype on your office telephone system to save on business calls? Developers can even incorporate a Skype Button to make Skype accessible from any website. This article discusses the various Skype features available.

Skype Overview

If you are using Skype on a computer (Windows, Macintosh or Unix) you get a few more options than those using Skype on a mobile device. However, as a mobile app Skype provides quite a few options. For example, users can manage contacts, view a person's profile, make video or phone calls and send chat messages.

Users can add multiple participants to a chat, as shown in the above picture; or, even attach and send a file. And, users can assign a group name (using the Rename group option) to multiple participants associated with a chat, as shown in the following picture.

Rename group

Once you create a group you can easily initiate a chat session with the group by selecting the group name. The following picture shows a chat session initiated with the "Test Group".

Skype users, using the mobile version, can also block, edit or remove a contact as well as add a contact to Favorites. Contacts listed in Favorites make it easier to find and connect with a contact.

Skype on a computer provides the ability to do all of the above and more. For example, Skype computer users can import contacts from Facebook or even place group phone calls by adding contacts to a group, as shown in the picture below. You can then save the group to your contacts to easily connect with multiple people in the group.

The following picture shows a group call placed from a computer to two people using Skype on mobile devices.

Skype for computers includes Skype WiFi, which enables you to use WiFi at public locations to place calls or chat. You can also use it to log into a professional account, request a subscription, manage Skype credits (used to pay for calls), manage your profile, backup contacts to a file/restore contacts from a file, access Outlook contacts, block a conversation as well as view voice messages and files sent to you.

You can also share your screen to show someone else the content you are viewing on your computer or mobile device. The screen session below shows a Skype Computer user requesting to share her desktop screen with a mobile phone user.

And, you can manage your Skype settings (including the ability to select the Language in which your client displays) and more.

If you interested in using Skype to make free calls from your home phone, you can easily accomplish this task as well. You can visit the Skype Store to purchase a phone that comes with everything you need to Skype friends and family members who also use Skype.

Skype Manager

More and more Skype is being used to connect people locally, nationally and worldwide. And while many use it to talk with family and friends; others are finding innovative ways to tap into its capabilities to conduct business. For example, some investors use Skype to conduct critique sessions with entrepreneurs and start-up business owners.

If you are a business owner you may want to get the most from Skype by adding it to your organization's software list. To manage users and associate each user with features and Skype credits you or your Skype administrator will need to install a component called Skype Manager™ .Skype Manager provides a way to set up employee accounts and enable features employees are allowed to use such as call forwarding, voicemail subscriptions, etc. In addition, Skye Manager includes a dashboard so authorized users can monitor employees' Skype usage and associated costs.

Skype Manager adds capabilities such as the ability to host conference video calls with customers or employees using Skype anywhere in the world. This is possible because Skype Manager provides the ability to create groups.

Once a group is created you can add customers and/or employees to the group. When ready you can select the applicable group name to place the group call whenever you want.

Users can also share files with other Skype users without worrying about file-size limits. And, as with Skype for the computer and mobile device--users can send instant messages to the people they are talking to while on the call. Users can also share their screen with other users to show a presentation or other materials; or, even get assistance from a co-worker to help troubleshoot a problem.

Skype Manager isn't just for businesses. Individuals who want to keep in touch and share Skype features with family and friends can use Skype manager to assign features to other people, monitor usage and perform other tasks previously mentioned.

Skype Connect

In addition to Skype Manager, businesses can use Skype Connect to use Skype on a session initiation protocol (SIP)-enabled corporate telephone network or gateway. With Skype Connect a regular business telephone system becomes a Skype phone that provides a way for employees to make Skype calls from the organization's office phone system, which can help save on phone call costs.

Skype Programming

If you have a business and you want customers or employees to be able to contact you or a specific person using Skype, Skype Buttons provide an easy solution.

Developers can navigate to the Skype Button's website at: http://www.skype.com/en/features/skype-buttons/create-skype-buttons/. The developer can then enter the Skype user name associated with the person who should be contacted when an individual clicks the Skype button. The Skype Button can initiate a phone call or send a chat message from a website or web app. The page generates the code that can be added to a website or web app for easy access.

The Skype URI API also provides the ability to incorporate Skype Buttons that require more complex functionality. For example, developers may need to write code so a website or app can determine if a users has Skype installed. Further, the developer may also need to define what action the website or app should take if Skype is not installed.

In addition to Skype Buttons, developers can use the Skype.ui Javascript Function to
dynamically create Skype URIs that provide more functionality than the Skype Button. The Skype URI API currently includes code that provides a way to build Skype snippets that offer the ability to:
  • Switch focus to a Skype client;
  • Initiate an audio call to a Skype user or group;
  • Initiate a video call to a Skype user; and
  • Send a chat message to a Skype user or group.
For additional instruction you can access tutorials to learn more about using the Skype URI API by clicking the following links: