VoIP startup VoSKY has announced the first appliance to allow mainstream SIP-based IP PBXs to interconnect with the Skype network.

Aimed squarely at the underserved enterprise sector, which has its difficulties embracing the proprietary nature of Skype, the Exchange Pro VISIP-EX appliance allows companies to keep their existing VoIP infrastructure while adding up to 30 Skype ports, equivalent to handling 18 concurrent Skype calls.

Rolled out across multiple sites, the company is touting this as a way for colleagues to talk to one another for free, even where this is to some extent already possible with an existing VoIP installation. Skype’s particular strength is that it can be made mobile, allowing remote calling back to HQ from anywhere in the world, at zero cost.

The new box also offers companies a way to integrate different ‘flavours’ of VoIP technology in one enterprise, without turning their backs on user preferences for one client over another.

Skype has established a degree of popularity inside companies in parallel to worries over its security status. The Exchange Pro VISIP-EX is a way for admins to centralise all management functions while removing the troublesome Skype client from desktops – account reside on the gateway and users access them using conventional phones.  

Today, companies can manage the product through Skype’s own Skype for Business but this sits on its own form any other VoIP system the company might use and has separate call logging. With the Exchange pro, all inbound and outbound Skype calls are logged in the Call Details Records (CDR), the company said, which gets rounds some of the security concerns regarding logging and visibility.

The Exchange Pro VISIP-EX is now being promoted as the first such gateway to achieve Skype certification, a claimed guarantee that it does not interfere with Skype’s call and network features.

“The VoSKY Exchange Pro VISIP-EX was not designed to replace the IP-PBX, but rather enhance its value through Skype’s global reach, enormous user base, robust voice quality, and value-added business applications such as click-to-call,” said VoSKY’s David Tang.

The cost of the 18-port gateway was stated as being approximately $7,500 (roughly £4,000 plus VAT).