Wednesday, February 11, 2009

OpenSky, Skype interface gateway, Who needs it?

Gizmo5 the popular VoIP client has launched a new skype interface gateway called OpenSky that would allow any VoIP users to call skype. The whole concept of calling skype users from any VoIP client sound interesting. Iam still not convinced in the business opportunity. There are so many clients out there in the market that support calling skype users from mobile and other desktop clients. In addition. Skype has its own skypelite and SkypeToGo. With digium announcing partnership with skype, we would be seeing lot more gateway offerings in future,which will be similar to OpenSky.

Calling or texting skype users from different clients other than skype’s own client has been there for many years now. Off course, the model is little different from what OpenSky has to offer. Startups like fring, iSkoot, mig33, mibivox, nimbuzz, truphone and others have clients that can actually support calling and texting skype users. In fact they do more than that, contact management, presense etc are some of other features supported by these clients.

Here is what Michael Robertson, CEO of gizmo5, has to say about the business opportunity:
• There are tens of millions of users of Cisco Call Manager, Avaya and other high end VOIP systems which cannot call Skype users and now they can.
• There are tens of millions of seats using low cost Asterisk, Yate, FreeSwitch, Trixbox PBX solutions which cannot call Skype users and now they can.
• There are more than 10 million Nokia Wifi phones which cannot call Skype users and now they can.
• There are millions of SIP ATA devices and wifi phones which cannot call Skype users and now they can.
• 90% of mobile phones don't have data plans so they cannot call Skype users and now they can.
Another issue with this approach is the calling line identity. Like for e.g., when I tried calling myself from the web browser, the calling user name was open_sky_16Since i initiated the call, I was aware of the username, If not, don’t think I would have answered the call. Most of the Folks don’t accept calls from unknown users. Period! Iam sure the same applies with the mobile clients. Unless gizmo5 solves the calling identifier, this solution is not gone fly. Stuart henshell And Om have some excellent points to share about the launch

On a positive note, this has proved some kind of interoperability between the SIP world and the closed proprietary skype world. I think too many startups are focusing more on interconnecting to skype than focusing on real innovation. I understand the lure of millions of skype users, but, this is definitely not a path to innovation. I would rather focus on building more Voice 2.0 type applications. Maybe its time to rethink Voice 2.0. Isn’t it?

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Stuart said...

I agree with you and think there is too much attention focused on Skype. Innovation is in other directions.

omfut(Ravi) said...

Hi Stuart:
Thanks for stopping by. I have been following this trend for couple of years now where we had so many startups that started with supporting skype interface via running PC clients to skype gateways.( eqo,soonr,iskoot etc) iSkoot was the only client that stood out in earlier days. Off late, most of these startups learnt the harder way and moved on with different offerings.


Anonymous said...

I thought this looked cool, and was about to spend $20, until I realized that for that $20 I DON'T get a skype ID that points back at my gizmo5 account for skype users to call me back. So I said phooey.


Jack Chrysler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You can use the SipToSis gateway
- you can get it here.