Cisco, Skype Merger Could Improve Enterprise and Consumer VOIP, Video

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Cisco, Skype Merger Could Improve Enterprise and Consumer VOIP, Video

by eWEEK Labs

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Video Calls Invade the Living Room

Adding an Ethernet jack and a couple of usable USB ports to Scientific Atlanta cable boxes for an add-on Web camera and a room microphone (along with some code, of course) could allow people to make Skype video calls right from the living room television.

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More Consumer VOIP Options

With an analog phone port and some voice recognition on a Linksys router, Cisco could offer an alternative to Vonage or Comcast VOIP services. Hook an old POTS phone up to the router and leverage voice recognition for contact dialing, and home VOIP gets even cheaper.

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Skype Trunking

By building Skype Connect functionality into Cisco Unified Communications Managers, the Skype network could be used for PSTN trunking and Skype dialing capabilities, reducing the need for SIP trunks for smaller networks.

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IP Multimedia Phones

Cisco can do what Grandstream has already done and add Skype client software to its desk and voice over WiFi phones, allowing the endpoints to dial voice calls direct to Skype users anywhere in the world.

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More Devices, SMB Video Conferencing

Building upon the last idea, by adding a video camera to the desk phone, Cisco could leverage Skype's recently unveiled 10-person video call feature—providing a ready-made, low-end video conferencing solution.

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Give Flip More to Do

By adding WiFi to Flip video cameras, Cisco could give Flip devices somewhere to go in the next generation. Flips could be walk-around, purpose-built video conferencing appliances that could even double as instant content-creation and publishing devices (with the right online services on the back end).

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Work with WebEx

Cisco could figure out a way to bridge WebEx and Skype. We know there is a walled garden in between the two services, and the networks offer a duplication of some functionality here—but the appeal of adding Skype's millions of users to the list of WebEx's eyeballs could be compelling. Skype users could dial directly into WebEx voice calls and presentations, and WebEx could dial out to Skype usernames. A path to interoperability between Skype and more traditional SIP services could be the ultimate payoff, though.

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Supernode the Network

And, looking forward a little bit, if Cisco could move Skype past mere common acceptance to a more essential role within many enterprises, it may become feasible for enterprises to want to give back to the peer-to-peer network's performance. Perhaps, to that end, Cisco could add a little code to their edge routers to enable the routers as Skype network supernodes, thereby adding more redundancy and call routing capabilities to the Skype network.

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