We've been Skype and SkypeOut users for a while. For the most part it works great. And BTW, if you're disappointed in the sound quality, get a headset. It'll work wonders.
But this wasn't enough, what I really wanted was to make and receive Skype calls from our cordless phones. The Vosky Call Center makes this possible. Overall it works very well but there are definitely a few gotchas to be aware of.
Here's our setup:
Here's how it works for Inboud calls:
- Land line calls (green dotted line) come in from the telco, switch through the Vosky, and ring on your phone.
- Skype calls (red dotted line) come in via the network, through your Skype'd desktop, and on to Vosky which causes your phone to ring with a different ring tone. This is the same for SkypeIn as well.
- If you config the Vosky as your answering machine, it will provide voicemail for green-line calls, but Skype will still handles red-line voicemail. This is somewhat annoying because you now have two voicemail boxes to check.
And now for outbound calls:
- When you pick up your phone, you will get your normal dialtone. If you dial now, you'll red-line dial just as before.
- If you hit ## then Vosky greets you and you can either dial a Skype speed dial number (that you've previously config'ed on your desktop) or enter a number to call in full international format, i.e. 011-1-area code-number. Yep, Vosky wants to know exactly where you're calling.
In addition to handling your land line vmail, the Vosky Call Center can also let you dial in via the red-line, enter a passcode, and use Skype to dial out via the green-line. This gives you (for example) international calls from your cell phone at SkypeOut rates.
- Easy to setup, works as advertised (you start to forget it's there, a good sign)
- Using your phone as a universal interface to land line, Skype, SkypeIn, and SkypeOut calls is great
- Cheap international calls! (~$0.025/min to most of Europe, India, China, etc.)
- Land line calls still go through if your computer is off
- Your computer has to be on all the time so some of your cost savings will get eaten up by electricity bills
- Only works on Windows not linux or OS X
- When you dial out via SkypeOut, your caller id is "0000123456". This is Skype's issue, not Vosky's, but I have a feeling some of my friends will think twice about picking up this call
- The unit will work without a land line but then you can't do the nifty red-line in, green-line out dialing. Why can't I use Skype for both?
- Vosky takes over the audio out of your Skype configuration. In other words, if you're at your computer and someone calls you, you can't pick up on the computer because the audio will get piped to the phone. In practice not a big deal but worth knowing.
Overall I like it. I've already cancelled our long distance provider and scaled back our land line subscription. The Vosky's $60 cost will be made up pretty quickly. Even quicker if I cancel our land line, which I may do since my wife and I both have cell phones.
I'm still amazed by the $2.7Bn price eBay paid for Skype... but with excellent features and add-on peripherals such as Vosky, it's not hard to envision Skype becoming a universal telco. In a few years, Skype's price tag may seem like a bargain compared to the very juicy revenue stream eBay will be receiving.
BTW, if you want to change the default answering machine response, just replace this file with your own:
C:\Program Files\Vosky Call Center\VoicePrompt\United States\vp15.wav
But make sure that you're using the same settings as the original (i.e. 16bit samples, 8KHz sample rate).