Where are two billion minutes a day going?

According to a recent report from Microsoft, Skype users are now spending two billion minutes per day talking.

When Microsoft bought Skype for a reported $8.5 billion we all wondered why. Now the news is that Lync, Microsoft’s Unified Communications platform that I wrote about last week fully integrates with Skype. They talk about communicating from the living room to the boardroom.

What this means is that large businesses can now offer broadcast communications via Skype. So no special software needed, very few limitations on number of viewers and we can create live one-to-many information sessions to global audiences. It also means home users can call in to large organisations to chat face-to-face or show presentations off a shared desktop.

This technology is set to let very small niche businesses communicate with a global marketplace in a new way, very cost effectively. This is a huge opportunity for small companies or individuals who innovate to make use of the tool to pitch or deliver new services or solutions. It is also an opportunity for large organisations to get closer to their consumer clients.

If your business could target a broader marketplace using the Lync Skype solution it is time to think strategically about how you surgically introduce your services, solution or product to this community that you could not previously afford to reach.

It may be you do enough remote presentations to establish a client base before hiring locals or it may be you simply ship the product once you have spoken face to face. Whatever it is you have that they want, if you can undercut a larger firm by communicating at a lower cost point and delivering from a lower cost base than the competitor you can grab enough market share to change your fortune. If you can launch a product faster and cheaper you may get to beat the copycats who previously hung you out to dry.

For Skype users to make contact with Lync users they need to use the latest version of Skype and they need to log in with a Microsoft account. This Microsoft account can be used across multiple cloud solutions from Sky Drive to Xbox Live and more. It has been designed by Microsoft to give you single sign on for all of your Microsoft products in the cloud.

For Lync users, their admin people need to enable the Lync-Skype connectivity at the server.

If you think that new forms of communication won’t make a difference in business, this article is not going to fire you up much, in fact, it may just be annoying.

However, you can see that adoption of Skype has taken 10 years to go from creation to two billion minutes per day of use, and that Microsoft has plans to become the largest communications company in the world by connecting us globally over “free” data connections offering voice, video, instant messaging and shared desktop. Then you probably see a world of opportunity in finding a way to make use of this empowering technology.

If you are not sure how this applies to you perhaps it is time for a technology review, aligned to your business plan to ensure technology is delivering the most it can for your business.

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.


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