Get more for less using Skype

Published on 11 Mar 2011
This article originally appeared in Care Appointments magazine in their Webwatch section.

Do you live in a remote location or attend a lot of meetings and find that copious amounts of time and energy is wasted on travel when you could be doing something more productive? If so, Skype could make your life easier and save you time.

At its simplest, Skype allows you to make free telephone calls using your computer, laptop or smartphone via the internet. A common use is to keep in touch with family friends scattered around the globe. But it is also a powerful web-based video conferencing tool that allows you to speak to and, optionally, see one or more people while you are talking. In this sense it is a collaborative tool which you can use for formal discussion around projects, or informal chat with friends or colleagues.

The basic service is free. All you need is a computer with Internet access and a microphone. Simply go to the Skype website, create an account and add other Skype users you know. While setting up an account, Skype will help you check that your connection is working properly. If you also want to see the people you are speaking to you will need a web camera (webcam). Some computers and laptops have inbuilt cameras but you can easily buy one to attach to your monitor for around £10-£20.

Skype can be useful for supervision purposes or when you need regular contact with particular people. Rather than having to meet them in a physical space, you can talk to and see them via your computer, or smartphone. It may also offer practitioners an alternative or supplementary way of keeping in touch with clients, rather than having to visit them on every occasion. A team of practitioners could also use it to catch up with what's been going on, collaborate on projects and share knowledge and ideas more effectively.

Skype has lots of other useful features, some of which do have a fee, but they are worth checking out.

Visit the Skype website.

Collection