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Why Microsoft's new Skype Lite could help more remote workers stay connected

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently unveiled a new lightweight version of Skype called Skype Lite. While intended for use in India, it could have implications for emerging or rural markets as well.

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Image: Microsoft

At the Future Decoded event in India Wednesday, Microsoft revealed Skype Lite, a lightweight version of its popular Skype messaging platform initially targeting the Indian market. According to its website, Skype Lite is "optimized for 2G and unstable network connections," which could make it a good option for rural and remote workers in the future.

Skype Lite is also built with mobile-first markets in mind, with an Android app that runs on old and new Android devices, the website said. Additionally, it is designed to not drain your battery, and to operate with less data. Users can tap on the app to find out how much data they've used.

Skype Lite compresses photo and video files, which means it requires less data and battery to operate than the traditional Skype app. This is especially helpful when running the app on older devices, a Skype Lite web page said.

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At Future Decoded, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called the new app "a client built for the connectivity speeds in India." Currently, the app supports Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

In the app, users can access both their Skype chats and SMS messages, with the ability to filter out certain SMS messages. There are also some Skype bots for the app designed especially for the Indian market.

Interested users can download the Skype Lite app for free through the Google Play store. As noted by ZDNet's Liam Tung, the app is fairly small as well, taking up only 13MB.

Nadella also noted that Aadhaar, a 12-digit identity number issued to Indian residents, will be integrating with Skype Lite and LinkedIn.

"Looking ahead, Skype plans to bring Aadhaar integration to the app by June 2017 which will enable Skype users to verify the identity of unknown callers in a variety of situations where identification verification is required, including job interviews, goods and property sale," a Skype Lite web page said.

Aadhaar numbers are based on a resident's biometric and demographic data, and is collected by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). The Aadhaar integration will have both enterprise and consumer applications.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Microsoft recently unveiled Skype Lite, a lightweight version of Skype that is optimized for poor connectivity areas.
  2. Skype Lite is an Android app that is optimized to use less data and battery, making it ideal for mobile-first markets.
  3. Both Skype and LinkedIn will soon feature Aadhaar integration for caller verification in job interviews and more.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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