Yesterday, I used Skype on three different research projects to synch up with my collaborators. I hadn't realized Skype was becoming a basic research tool for me, but I suppose that's the sign that it is.
Generally I wasn't even using the video features. Most of what I do with Skype I could do as well on the phone. The conference call feature is very nice and easy to use, moreso than the standard phone system, but I still experience more drops on Skype than I would on a phone.
Somehow, the real value of Skype is that it's running on my computer, where I'm doing the research work as well. I can look through relevant old e-mails or read relevant documents while Skype continues managing the conversation. Somehow, it all works more conveniently than using the phone and the computer. I expect that "long-distance" research will continue to become easier and constitute more of my research time.