Once again, I have to thank Daphne from XPR for the chance to interact with Peter Parkes (as seen explaining the features of Skype on TV) at the Skype booth at CommunicAsia 2010. Just in case you do not know who is Peter Parkes, he leads the social media function at Skype as part of the global communications team. He flew down to Singapore all the way from London.
Skype was there to showcase their latest developments so far. From the tour itself, we can see that Skype has done a fabulous job at creating wonderful video calling experience. First, it has tied up with hardware manufacturers to bring Skype into the living room and embed Skype into phones. Second, it is offering a fuss free option for businesses to manage Skype usage within the company.
Skype has teamed up with Panasonic to offer its services on the television. Panasonic VIERRA HDTV has integrated with the Skype software. There are four microphones within the highly designed web camera which enables clear pickup of voices in a huge living room. I am sure most people won’t want to stare at the television 30cm up-close. This opens up new market for Skype: families. There are many families whose members are overseas for some reason or another. My cousin is currently in Australia studying. When my entire extended family gathers, we have to stare at the small laptop screen which one of us will be carrying about, and the microphone pickup is not that good.
While developing Skype on TV, Skype has not neglected its tradition market of the mobile and personal computer users. They have updated the software on the PC to allow a better audio-visual experience via implementing features such as a codec which attempts to reconstruct audio when packets of data are being dropped. Skype has also extended its reach into Symbian OS. This means phones like Sony Ericsson Symbian handsets (Satio, Vivaz, Vivaz pro, etc.) are able to be used to call using Skype. Skype is also being built into Nokia N900. This means that the Skype experience is being integrated into the handset itself. There will be lower occurrence of whatever failures that an app can bring about when bring installed.
The latest version of Skype for iPhone has been updated to allow calling via 3G connection. In the past, Skype could only be used via WiFi. A concern that I raised was that the danger of having the Skype app being pulled from the shelves by Apple for duplication of services. Apple has released FaceTime with iPhone 4G and has the intention to make it into an industry standard. Peter just replies that they are happy to work with Apple to bring about a great video calling experience on the iPhone 4G. It seems that there is no way of predicting what the Apple’s next move. Currently, there is a beta version for Mac computers being tested in-house. Let’s hope that the testing will be done fast and more people are able to use Skype.
Skype has been analysing the usage of the service and found an interesting fact. 37% of Skype users use Skype for business purposes. It is interesting as Skype is all along a consumer product and it is not customised for business usage. What can be said here is that Skype is essential in business operations as it brings down communication costs between firms and clients, especially so when the parties involved are residing in different countries. In recognition of this fact, Skype has launched a customised tool for businesses. The tool allows the administrator to control the credits distribution for various accounts.
Touring the booth is not only for the information overload. We had fun too. Skype has wrote a program to detect Skype logos and launch an augmented reality feature. Sylvia can be seen having fun with this feature above. She has also written a post on the event! Unfortunately, it is only for the booth and not for general use. 🙁 We also have Slurpie (as you see in photos with me sucking up the drink unglamorously) and iPhone covers with Skype logos on it.
Alright, now it is time for giveaway! This is my first giveaway. Be nice! 🙂 The prizes are 2 Skype iPhone covers! They are of the same design, just that the colours are either black and white.
- Post a comment on what is Skype to you and what do you use it for with your name and a valid email. Please include your Twitter handle (if you have) in your comment.
- Complete the following sentence and tweet it out. Be creative! Be wacky!
Skype to me is <insert your creative results> http://wp.me/ppLAF-fj @robertsky_
Terms and Conditions:
- This giveaway will open till 2nd July 2010, 2359 hrs. The giveaway has been extened by another week, till 9th July 2010. Winners will be contacted via their email or their Twitter handle.
- This giveaway is opened only to any Singapore residents. I define Singapore residents as persons(citizens and foreigners) with a valid Singapore address. I will be mailing the Skype iPhone cover via snail mail. Postage is absorbed by me.
There are other ways of getting the covers too. My fellow friend and blogger, Ingrid Mak is giving them away on her blog. Visit now!
More pictures can be viewed below, with thanks to Cooliris for the plugin. I went to the broadcasting side after a hearty Texas Chicken meal (it taste better than KFC) with Daphne, Ridzuan, Sylvia, Joe Augustin and his wife, Adele. I was quite excited about the Mediacorp portable broadcasting truck on display there.
I will end this post with a group photo taken on the end of the tour. 🙂
Update: This post has been sitting in the draft section for quite sometime. To celebrate the World Cup, Skype has rolled out a month worth of free phone calls to lines in the qualifying countries. Check out The Big Blog for this exciting offer!