I was recently researching on VoIP solutions for my friends business (As he is completely disappointed with the services of his local provider), I was actually researching if Skype could provide a business solution. Surprisingly I found out about hosted PBX which is actually quite different from the solutions provided by Skype.

About Skype

Skype is a communication-software application that allows users make calls over the Internet via their computer. The company was established in 2003 by two entrepreneurs and is at present owned by an investor group.

Skype is famous for its voice calls but also includes instant messaging, file transfers, SMS and video conferencing. Most lately, Skype introduced group video conferencing, allowing multiple Skype users to video chat with each other at the same instant.

Skype also allows calls to landlines & cell-phones with “conditions apply” (Skype international calling charges) and mobile applications for those people who want to use Skype on the go.

Cost
Skype currently has to offer 4 plans:

• Free
• Pay as you go
• Pay monthly
• Skype premium

The free of cost plan includes free Skype-to-Skype calls, one-to-one video calling, IMs and desktop screen sharing while the chargeable plans offer features like calls to landlines/mobile phones, SMS, call-forwarding, group video chatting and live support.

How different is hosted PBX?

While hosted PBX and Skype are both communication-based products, they are actually very different and can actually work well together. Let’s explore some of the differences:

• Inbound vs. outbound calling

Skype is suitable for outbound-calling whereas Hosted PBX VoIP focuses on inbound-calls. Skype can facilitate a company to save money on outbound-calls, especially on international calls. PBX VoIP focuses on giving businesses the ability to sound professional when taking inbound calls from prospective or current customers.

• VOIP-based

While Skype is internet-based (VOIP); Hosted PBX is based on actual phone networks that run on internet lines. VoIP has a requirement that you should have a high bandwidth or high speed internet connection to use the phone service. Skype just provides subscriber to subscriber call whereas Cloud PBX gives you a call center like network of your own, having a list of independent working extensions under you.

• Phone Numbers

Skype currently offers Skype In numbers, allowing you to get inbound calls through Skype. Skype In numbers are local numbers and include voicemail and call forwarding. Hosted PBX allows you to have toll free or local numbers for your business and includes features like auto-call-attendant, voicemail-extensions, after-hours settings and a lot more.

With the recent sale of Skype combined with the number of customers asking how they can use Skype with Hosted PBX, I figured now was a perfect time to answer the question.

First let’s just say, we love Skype! It’s a great tool and we want to help you understand how you can use it with cloud IPBX to create a powerful (and inexpensive) professional image for your business.

How can I use Skype with Hosted PBX?

You can combine your Hosted PBX and Skype systems for both inbound and outbound calling however you will be charged for the forwarded calls from Virtual IPBX.

To use Skype for inbound calling, you simply forward your Hosted PBX number to your Skype In or online number.

• A Skype In number runs around $2.99 a month. Check out their rates & subscription page for more info.

• Note: You can NOT use your Skype user name, i.e. “ambassador buzz”, you need an actual Skype number to forward your calls to.
To make outbound calls, you can do one of the following:

• Dial out with your Skype account directly (Caller ID will show your Skype number).

• Forward Skype to your IP PBX number, where you can make outbound calls just like you do now and it will show your IP PBX number.

• Note: If you want to call out directly from Skype, you will not be able to show the outbound number as your IP PBX number since you have to confirm your number with an SMS message.

The nice thing about Skype is it that when used with cloud PBX, it can help your business stay connected and sound professional at a low cost. Win for all.

Author's Bio: 

Technology specialist at therealpbx.com ‘Adom Brown' is a specialist in small business PBX systems. The Real PBX is a pioneer in providing Hosted PBX Systems that deliver business class voice quality, real time customer assistance, scalable office Business Phone system office and more. Their enterprise class PBX VOIP services include top notch features like Unified Communication. Their IP PBX Systems deliver business class voice quality, real time customer assistance, scalable office etc