Skype has just announced the release of a new business-centric online platform called Skype in the Workspace , aimed at helping businesses not only communicate with clients, prospects, and peers, but also to find new contacts and build a network that can help further your business’s interests.
Ural Cebeci, Head of Product Marketing for Skype in the Workspace, said:
“It’s an extension of what many small business customers already do with Skype on a daily basis, but now we’ve provided them with a community environment that they can explore and use to find and make connections.”
Users of the service can sign in and create a profile similar to many other social sites. Then they can “create an opportunity” for other users to connect and discuss a particular topic.
For instance, if your company was testing out a new B2B service, you could create a 20-minute Skype presentation and then open it up to any users who might be in the industry where your service is aimed.
Users can browse different opportunities like this to find what might be most relevant to them. The screenshot above shows what a user might see if they were interested in speaking with people on the topic of Pinterest. The different opportunities might include question and answer sessions or simple informational meetings.
So users can sift through the different opportunities that have been posted and choose what is the most relevant. Then the creator of the opportunity can view those interested and even contact them or add them to their network on Skype.
What sets this platform apart from other social sites is the emphasis on communication, said Cebeci. And as far as online communication providers go, Skype currently has more than 280 million monthly active users, so the amount of people a company could potentially reach would be difficult to match with other providers.
Launched publicly today, Skype in the Workspace just went through a six-month beta testing period, during which Cebeci said it was simplified quite a bit, with an emphasis on quick and easy ways to get in touch with people:
“We found that our users wanted to bring the communication to Skype as soon as possible, because it’s instant. Emailing back and forth and having different discussions with different people can get complicated. So we tried to make it as simple as possible.”
Skype was founded in 2003 and is a division of Microsoft. In addition to the new workspace features, the company offers voice calling, video chat, instant messaging, and various communication plans for businesses.