Start Using Skype To Eliminate Your Phone Bill
If you've never hear of VOIP (Voice Over IP) then now is as good a time as any to get started. VOIP is a type of technology that allows you to make telephone calls over the Internet. In the early days this was simply sending voice "data" between two computers anywhere in the world. It worked but only barely. Things have come an awful long way since. Modern VOIP (also called Internet Telephony) now allows you to make calls between computers and also to landlines and cellphones (mobile phones in Europe) anywhere in the world.
It's not so long ago now that I remember downloading the Beta (test version) of a little program called Skype. At the time I was travelling a lot with my daytime job and spent months overseas in Indian and Canada. To save on long distance phone charges I started using Skype to make calls home to my family and I've been a loyal fan ever since. Skype has grown in massive leaps and bounds since then and was recently bought out by Ebay/Paypal.
How To Use Skype
So how does Skype work? It's a small piece of software that install on your computer that allows you to call other computer users or telephones directly from your computer and at drastically lower rates than you might imagine possible. It uses your existing Internet connection to make this happen so you will need to have some form of access to the Internet itself.
You can make these types of calls with Skype over a dialup Internet connection but for maximum benefit and comfort you'll really need some form of Broadband/HiSpeed access - otherwise you could find that the quality is lacking and that calls drop frequently or just that there's a very a lot of delay during phone conversations.
You can use a standard desktop microphone and speakers for Skype and it also now supports webcams so if you have a webcam on your PC then video calls are also just a few mouse clicks away.
Skype also features a conference call facility so several users can join in on one call, features an Instant Messenger (one of the best out there), Voicemail (you can send prerecorded audio messags to other Skype users while they're offline) and last but not least you can use SkypeIn which means you can buy a Skype phone number which allows people from anywhere in the world to call you directly on that number as long as you're connected to Skype.
What do I use Skype for? I have friends, family and business contacts overseas. Skype allows me to make digital quality phone calls to my friends at a mere fraction of what it would cost me from my cellphone or landline. The chat client is also excellent and gets used quite a bit too. One of my favourite features of Skype is that I can topup my call balance directly from Paypal without having to mess around with credit cards.
If you're not using Skype, you're missing out on one of the single most useful business tools you could ever use.