Monday, March 28, 2005

Skype Callcenters

I came across a great overview in Skype Journal of how Skype might be used for call centers and particularly ad-hoc call centers.

Stuart Henshall's argument runs as follows:

Extensions: You can run Skype under the same profile name on multiple computers concurrently. Inbound calls ring all clients whether in a call or not. Thus you can share the same line on multiple PC's even concurrently talking to different individuals...
SkypeIn: SkypeIn is Skype's new service that allows you to secure "landline" PSTN style numbers for your Skype Account .... Thus if you purchase one SkypeIn number your PC will ring. ...if you are running the same client on more than one PC you can receive more than one SkypeIn call. Take the first call on the first PC from 14151234567 and then on the second PC (same SkypeIn number) take the second call from 1415 7654321.
Voice Mail: Voice mail picks up when there is no client available to take the call or the inbound call is sent / diverted to voice mail.

I think this is a great insight. You can add another "node" to your callcenter simply by getting someone else to log in to the same account and start answering calls.

If this proves to be practical, it could also be a fantastic tool to help emergency services scale up and coordinate information services after disasters and accidents .

In the UK for example, the Police National Information and Coordination Centre (PNICC) is opened to support police forces whenever, in an emergency situation, the issues and resources may be beyond the remit or capacity of any one police force or a group of forces.

It would be a comparatively simple thing for PNICC to set up and run a Skype callcenter if and when the need arose, and, crucially, the callcenter could be manned around the clock with minimal disruption to other Police operations as the load could be spread among the forces simultaneously.

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