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Using Skype in WiTT
Kristina Mihalec | 9 April 2005

A simple explanation of Skype and a few personal tests.

Skype is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), meaning you can use your computer as a telephone with other users who are online and also have Skype installed. VoIP is a generic term that refers to all types of voice communication using Internet protocol (IP) technology instead of traditional circuit technology.

All you need to have is:

a) a computer with an internet connection
b) a headset
c) the Skype program
d) someone to talk to who also has Skype installed

“From an economic perspective, VoIP not only drives down the costs of calls, but lowers barriers of entry since both capital and operating costs are significantly lower. VoIP can be especially important in developing countries where monopolized long distance service is too expensive for many users.” [1]

First, a few tests from Croatia were conducted with Lenka Simerska (a member of WiTT’s Core Group) from the Czech Republic. At the first successful test, euphoria hit, like discovering animation for your first website. You want it all and everywhere all the time. While talking to Lenka I hooked up my stereo speakers to my computer, thereby having Lenka’s voice in “surround sound, stereo, hi-fi.” This was rather like having a omnipotent presence in my house, calling my name, “Kristina….” I decided to disconnect the speakers, it wasn’t an effective form of communication.

The second test, with Nora Delova from Macedonia (WiTT focal point), proved to have better results, clearer and no disconnect every few minutes as it did with the Czech Republic. After several phone calls with only laughter as the main content, we began to apply it in our work. Questions were resolved faster, and it was generally more effective for discussions or making decisions, than with e-mail.

JPEG - 12.1 kb
Not using Skype at this point
From left to right: Valentina, Kristina, Nora.

The third test was a conference call with Valentine Pellizzer from OneWorld (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Nora Delova (Macedonia), and myself (Croatia). The three of us discussed gender and ICT policy preparations for a meeting. For this, we used a different VoIP program that seemed to have better sound quality.

One of the limitations of VoIP is its instability. Although it is wonderful for regional communication, the sound quality depends on certain external conditions which are unpredictable. It cannot replace e-mail communication, but it is a wonderful and inexpensive tool for voice communication and chat. I definitely would recommed it to be used in cross boarder communication, especially with networks.

To read more about VoIP, please see the attached PDF.

Download Skype at www.skype.com

Global Internet Policy Initiative - More about VoIP. PDF .

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