How Skype has changed the way I do voice communication
I have been pretty pleased with Skype so far. Here is a snapshot of how I use voice communications now:
At my home office:
- when I get home I put my mobile (Treo 600) in its cradle and this initiates an automatic auto-forward to my SkypeIn number, which also comes with free voicemail.
- at my desk I am using my Logitech noise cancelling USB Microphone and my desktops speakers, people tell me the quality is very good – so there is no need to mess around with headphones
- I have contacted about 30 people who I often call to try and get them using Skype, about 20 of them have installed it. For these people Skype to Skype calls have been very successful.
- I still have quite a lot of people that I contact who are not using Skype, mainly because they are highly mobile so for these people I have been experimenting with SkypeOut. The quality of SkypeOut does not seem as good as Skype to Skype, but it seems good enough in most cases. I have suffered a few dropouts when calling mobiles (UK –> Australia) but this may have happened anyway. The call charges were much less than I would have expected from my landline.
- I do a lot of conference calls, which would be an ideal use for SkypeOut if the free-phone numbers were free! but unfortunately they are not so I rely on my trusty Polycom VoiceStation.
- To make SkypeOut more effective I wanted to integrate it with my address book, so I used an evaluation version of DoubleLook to create a copy of my Lotus Notes personal address book in Outlook and used a free Add-in for Outlook which integrates very nicely with the Outlook contacts functions, by adding the toolbar shown above.
- I have invested in a SkypeIn number which also comes with free voicemail.
Around the house:
- It’s not appropriate to have all calls forwarded to my SkypeIn number when I am out and about around the house and garden. So with a quick click on my Treo I can forward all my mobile calls to my home phone network, I have mainly DECT phones, which have a good signal strength anywhere in the house and garden. The reception on the DECT phones is much superior to the Vodafone coverage I get which is really only reliable in my front bedroom!
- Around town I rely on my mobile, which is also my MP3 player and PDA. Vodafone reception is not that good where I live but outside is bearable.
- Because I have to do a lot of walking and cycling I tend to listen to a lot of MP3’s so the integration of phone and MP3 player in the Treo works particularly well for me. At the moment I am just using an ear-bud headset (which I happen to have 4 of, so I always have one with me no matter which jacket or bag I happen to be using)
- There are still a few dead-spots in my town where the 02 signal strength is excellent, I have tried to get transfered to o2 but have had no joy so far.