Skype is a communication service that allows users to make free video calls to other Skype accounts. Instant messages and file sharing are also allowed for free. For those who don’t use a telephone, Skype also allows month-to-month subscription services or per minute fees to place Skype to phone calls so that communication can still happen. It’s reliable, stable, and many people have been using it for free for years with success.
There are numerous key points to evaluate in determining whether the use of Skype is right for you. Here is a look at some of the most important Skype pros and cons that have been discovered to date.
What Are the Pros of Skype?
The primary advantage to using Skype is its ability to call anyone in the world today who has an account without being charged anything. Someone in New York City can video call someone in Singapore to discuss business, speak with family, or even order supplies if they wish. Families who are separated by continents or countries can still stay in visual contact. Even those who are actively serving in the military can stay in touch with their families.
Here is a look at some of the other advantages that Skype can bring to homes and businesses today.
1. There are screen sharing options available through Skype.
It becomes a lot easier to present a remote sale presentation thanks to Skype’s ability to screen share. Meetings can be conducted using this service and the information that needs to be shared can be independently viewed by each participant. This makes it a lot easier to facilitate discussions, create individualized impacts, and convey information in a more memorable way.
2. It is a service that is incredibly easy to install.
All it takes to get started on Skype is to know how to visit their site or find their app and download it. From there, the on-screen instructions will take users through the rest of the setup process. In just minutes, Skype is able to configure itself for the system and the only thing users need to do is either link an account to the communications program or start a new account. Even without Skype installed right now, it only takes a couple of minutes to get it up and running.
3. It’s a reliable service that offers 24/7 contacts.
There are no set times when people are allowed to use Skype. It can be used whenever it is needed and many of the contacts that are allowed over the service are free. Many calls are initiated in a couple of clicks and the days of dropped calls have virtually ceased. Users can rely on the program to load and place a call over the internet or a data signal when they want to place a call.
4. It allows for a group call without the need for group features.
One of the nicest features about Skype is that multiple people can speak with each other on a single connection without any other equipment, services, or charges. As long as there is room in front of a computer or smartphone camera, then that person can be on the video call and their voice will be picked up by the microphone so that they can participate in the conversation. For individual calls, however, a headset can work just as well for private conversations as well.
5. The paid subscriptions for Skype are cheap.
In the United States, subscriptions for Skype start as low as $2.99 per month. In China, subscriptions are as low as $1.19 per month. There is also a free month of Skype Unlimited World that is available to users where unlimited free calls to landlines and mobile phones can be made from Skype and then just $13.99 per month afterward. This makes it one of the most affordable global VoIP services that is available today and the same account can be used on any computer or smartphone as well.
6. It offers a secure calling experience.
There are security measures in place to protect the information that is transmitted during a Skype call or message. Although compromises on video lag or glitches in audio communication often need to happen, a small business can quickly and securely send data through Skype and often do it for free. You can’t beat free when it comes to adding something to a budget line.
7. The service has become much better.
Skype uses wide-band technologies that other similar providers don’t use. The end result is a better overall call quality that has been come consistently good. The garbled, impossible conversations are more rare today, though sometimes the video lag creates an awkward conversation from time to time.
What Are the Cons of Skype?
The primary disadvantage is that Skype requires some form of a data connection so that it can be used. This means it needs access to a cellular data plan or the internet. Although internet saturation is at record levels and still rising around the world, more than half of the global human population has no data access. That means half of all people in the world today cannot use Skype on a regular basis and must rely on more traditional forms of communication.Here are some of the other disadvantages to consider with this system of communication.
1. It offers little or no access to emergency services.
Someone cannot access emergency numbers through Skype in an emergency except in specific communities or jurisdictions. Individuals could call non-emergency phone numbers that could then relay their needs to the appropriate department, but this would create delays in service implementation. Under the current structure, modern phone services are still more reliable.
2. There are no real face-to-face interactions.
Although video calls are nice because it allows visual contact, Skype is unable to replicate what a real face-to-face interaction entails. There are plenty of non-verbal communication signals that people pass to one another that Skype doesn’t always pick up with their video feed. Although there are enhanced ways to communicate over long distances, this means that there are also enhanced ways for miscommunication to happen because the non-verbal communications have been missed.
3. There is no language translation services.
You can communicate with people over Skype from different countries, but there is no current way to fill in a communications gap if there are language differences. In order to communicate with a video call, both parties need to have a language they share in common. If instant messaging, the text has to be copied and pasted into a translation site to determine the meaning of what has been said.
4. Sound qualities on Skype are based on bandwidth.
If users have a slow speed ISP, then the quality of the call on Skype is going to be affected. The same is true for users who might be on a 3G network instead of a 4G network. Having internet or data access is sometimes not enough to allow a call to be placed or to have audio that is understood. There must be enough bandwidth available for the call and a quality microphone in place, otherwise the information that does get passed along is slow and scrambled.
5. Background noises are picked up rather easily.
If there is anything happening in the background of a room during a Skype call, the microphone is going to pick up that sound and transmit it. There are no environmental dampening features included with this program and app like there are with modern cellular phones. Certain headsets may offer dampening, but the quality is still inferior to phone technology and there is an added cost to purchase this equipment.
6. The information that is transmitted over Skype could be intercepted.
Skype is sent over the internet, so even though it offers a secure conversation and file sharing experience, there is always the chance that the information could be intercepted. For families talking about how nice the weather is or what to plan for dinner, that isn’t much of a worry. For companies that are sharing intellectual properties online, however, data interception could be a highly problematic issue to be faced. This means that not every business may be able to take advantage of the benefits this VoIP service offers because the risks very much outweigh the rewards.
7. The service could go down completely.
In 2007, Skype suffered a 48 hour outage. That could always happen again. Without the ability to communicate, there are more risks that the user must assume and that may lead some to create backup systems just in case.
The Skype pros and cons show that this often free service can help people to communicate, but sometimes users wind up receiving what they pay for with this service. There may be headaches or problems connecting with Skype from time to time, but with free user to user calls, including video calls, available 24/7, many of the disadvantages of Skype are worth the occasional headache.