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Business Telephone Standard is Now Cloud VoIP
The latest advances in VoIP telephony are happening with cloud hosted solutions.

By: John Shepler

When VoIP telephony first appeared on the scene, it looked distinctly like a different way to make a phone line. In fact, a lot of the motivation in switching technologies was based on trying to avoid long distance toll charges on the PSTN. We’ve come a long way from Analog Telephone Adaptors (ATA) to IP PBX. The next big migration is away from in-house VoIP systems and out to the cloud. It’s a migration that could easily turn into a stampede.

The Need For Speed
What’s driving the continuing innovation in VoIP technology? It’s all part of the business reorientation away from ownership. The “great recession” exacerbated a trend that was already underway. Business wants and needs to be nimble. Timelines that used to be measured in years are now months. This is especially true for seasonal businesses, but can affect everybody. Why do you want to be stuck with assets that are too much or too little for what you need right now? Why, indeed, when you have to option to match resources to needs on the fly?

Nimble is the Cloud
That’s the promise of the cloud. As one tenant among many at a datacenter with seemingly unlimited resources, you can quickly scale up and down as needed. It’s unlikely that your needs will tax the system or leave it sitting idle. If the providers are doing their jobs, there will be plenty of capacity for everyone and enough in reserve to handle unexpected requirements.

Contrast that with running your own data center in-house. Running out of capacity? You better get to work preparing the justification and requests for more capital. Then get the equipment and software ordered, installed and on-line… before external events bring your business to its knees. That’s weeks, months and sometimes years.

Much easier just to make a phone call or, better yet, log-in to your online control panel and activate or deactivate resources. An unexpected flood of orders is cause for celebration instead of panic when you can respond instantly. Business fall off a cliff? No need to be stuck paying for idle capital when you can be rid of it and its unjustified expense in a moment.

Why Do You Really Need a Phone System?
The obvious reason to have a business phone system is for critical communications among employees, customers and vendors. Actually, that’s the reason to have the phone function. You don’t really need to have the system yourself.

The telephony cloud solution is called Hosted VoIP or Hosted PBX. All that “big iron”, as these systems are lovingly referred to, go out the door. They are replaced by cloud services that take care of call switching and connections to the public telephone system. How that’s done is invisible to you. Your phones work the way they should and you don’t have to deal with having to maintain a morass of wiring and rack equipment.

You also don’t have to cough up the capital needed to purchase a premises telephone switching system or replace one that has reached its capacity limit or useful life. Adding or removing phone from a hosted system is almost trivial. You’ll always have exactly the right level of resources to meet today’s needs. You also have the peace of mind that comes from knowing if things change tomorrow, you can easily accommodate the new situation.

The Technology Advantage
Another promise of VoIP technology is that phone networks become more like computer networks. In fact, there is generally one network that serves both phones and computing equipment. Building phones with little computers inside expands the possible functions they can do and make it easy to integrate them with desktop computers for combined operations. That’s especially valuable for call center operations.

The cloud hosted phone system also may have the capability to integrate mobile phones as well as the hardwired variety. Few in-house PBX systems can do that. In the end, you want employees to be able to do their jobs whether they are at their desks, out in the field, in a hotel room or anywhere else. That’s something technology can accomplish today… but you can’t do it with yesterday’s gear.

Are You Missing Out?
The telephone cloud has developed so rapidly that many companies aren’t even aware of the capability that’s out there and how cost effective it can be. Could you benefit from a hosted VoIP phone solution ? You might be able to sooner than you think.

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