Would you like to put Skype on your web page, perhaps send out e-mails with Skype presence, create a workgroup or forum where presence information can be shared between people who are not on your buddy list. Well now you can. Qzoxy is the first company to announce a Skype API solution. Qzoxy has announced a toolkit which will enable the rapid integration of Skype functionality including presence and text messaging capabilities.
Qzoxy has done something many thought impossible at Skype's launch. For Skype is a P2P system with a limited central server that logs Skypers into the cloud. As a result Skype has no centralized way to serve up presence information and it's directory service is poor. And that is what makes the Qzoxy solution so exciting. It is where the Skype API is already breeding applications that are immediately different to AIM, Yahoo and MSN. Yes from Yahoo I can download the code to put my Yahoo presence on my website. However I have no opportunity to build a directory that is fueled with Yahoo presence. The Yahoo approach is not to disintermediate presence information. In retrospect we will see that was the biggest mistake made by these earlier IM systems. The future is all about "presence". Trying to control it is a recipe for disaster. Being cautious like Skype and facilitating a market for presence may just create the next eBay effect.
With Qzoxy and Skype potentially thousands of different directories are possible. From traditional Yellow Pages to matchmaking sites. Similarly I'm convinced the Orkut's and Ryze's of the world would benefit from enabling their populations to connect with Skype. Similarly I'm already experimenting with SeedWiki and Presence. When work groups combine presence in a wiki then we have something that the future Windows Office and LCS (Live Communication Server) are just beginning to address. Indeed I think Skype will be a plug-in to Outlook before long. So to sum up. When hundreds of small organizations enable small Skype Presence Servers they can integrate "Presence" and leapfrog all these expensive PBX solutions that still appear to be a money drain. Finally even Kevin is taken by the numbers.
From the Qzoxy press release:
Qzoxy Software Inc.(Q-zox-ee) has announced its collaboration on the COM API toolkit, which turns any conventional product into a full presence application. Qzoxy is the first third party to participate in the new Skype Developers Program.
Using a set of easily-learned commands, developers can now include online-status indicators for sales or support staff, allowing customers to connect instantly. Bloggers can let readers know when they’re available for voice or text chat. Members of bulletin board communities can see your availability, or fellow team members or workgroups members can instantly see your status and invite you to a voice or text conference. There is no need to include phone numbers on the page, and customers from overseas no longer need to spend money on expensive phone calls only to discover they’re through to voice mail.
“Qzoxy, is proud to have been part of a small group of beta testers working closely with Skype on the development of their API since early spring”, explained Qzoxy CEO, Bill Campbell.
“Using Visual Basic, Java or other programming languages alongside Qzoxy COM API allows for rapid creation of powerful Skype presence and voice solutions for businesses and consumers worldwide,” said Campbell.
“With the launch of the Skype API we can work with third-party developers like Qzoxy to open Skype to other platforms”, said a Skype spokesman in Estonia. “Qzoxy was chosen to be our first third party relationship so we could test drive and refine the processes of our Skype Developers Program. We believe third parties will help us add value to attract millions of new users to the Skype community which already has over 14 million users.”
“The ability to broadcast your Skype Online status into your communities of interest changes the whole landscape of instant voice-text conferencing by adding your availability. An online status icon on your web site says to visitors: Talk to me. And if the visitor isn’t lucky enough to be a Skype user, they just send an Instant Message to you from your web site with their preferred method of connection: Skype, landline or mobile number so you can use Skype or SkypeOut to return their call. Qzoxy has a powerful way to change how we communicate”, says Stuart Henshall, a Skype Blogger and presence pundit in California. Qzoxy Press Release
Om Malik points to the recent Engadget article now on Slashdot and has had enough already. That guarantees I'll be over the top on Skype again. Finally, I have no financial relationship with the Qzoxy team although we've been in touch for ages and I'm happily trying out new applications. The comment only seems relevant to all the paid for blogging comments I've seen recently. In themselves they are quite a story. Qzoxy grew out of testing sessions in the the Skype Forums. Clearly, lots of long international Skype conversations pay dividends and they are a perfect example of a company forming even though all the parties have never met face to face. That says something.