Hosted VoIP.Cloud PBX. Virtual office phone system. There are many names for hosted Voice over IP communications systems. VoIP isn't really new but it's the newest advancement in voice telecommunications technology. Basically, a hosted VoIP phone system is just like a high-end, on-premises PBX (phone system)—only the infrastructure and hardware that makes it work are taken care of by a hosted VoIP service provider. We move the brains of the phone system to a server at the providers data center and connect IP phones at your branch offices to your data network rather than the traditional phone network.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is an acronym for Voice over IP (internet protocol). The simplest way to understand IP is that it is the protocol devices use to communicate over a network such as the Internet.
How does it work?
The way that hosted VoIP works is simple and is based on the use of the Internet or private IP network instead of standard phone lines. We take a voice call and encapsulate it into a data packet that can be sent over a data network. In a traditional phone network analog and digital signals are carried over copper lines to a switch at the phone company where they are connected to their destination. In a IP network the voice is sent in a data packet across a private IP network or the Internet to its destination. The packets travel like any other type of data, such as e-mail. Using a VoIP service, you can call landline or cell phones. You can also call computer-to-computer, with both parties speaking into a computer microphone and listening through computer speakers or headsets, even iPads or other connected devices can be used to make calls.
What are the benefits of hosted VoIP?
Cost Effective - In most cases making a change to a cloud based system and getting all new phones can be done with zero out of pocket expense using the same monthly cost you already pay for your local phone bill. Because the phones are included with the service you have no capital expense and your phone numbers are ported from your current provider to the cloud provider meaning your traditional phone bill goes away.
Simplified maintenance and trouble-shooting - In the legacy systems if your system has a problem you call a technician and schedule a time for him to come out. Its $100 or more per hour while he troubleshoots the problem. Sometimes that technician will determine that the system has no problem but your phone service does. He'll leave a bill on your desk and tell you to call the phone company. You then have a similar experience with them only find you have wasted 2 days wrestling the phone issue and paid out hundreds of dollars on its solution. With a Cloud PBX there is virtually no local equipment to trouble shoot. The brains of the system live with the provider so the provider gives 24 x7 support over the phone and will trouble shoot remotely for free. If a phone goes bad they ship out a replacement. If the system has an issue they fix it at no cost to you. If your network and internet has an issue they can quickly identify it and direct you to the internet provider and the will gladly assist in testing with the Internet provider if needed.
Limited or no IT resources needed - Many businesses have limited or no IT professionals - and those that do typically have two or fewer. IT is responsible for many mission critical systems and often do not have experience in voice communications. In a cloud system voice is simplified and IT can manage the system from a web application and leave the technical detail to experts in the cloud. Companies with no IT support can lean on 24/7 cloud technician support who will manage the system for you at no additional cost.
Resiliency/Disaster Recovery - In the event of a natural disaster or just a localized disruption that takes your system down locally with no internet or phones. Your system is still up and functional in the cloud. You can simply get on your cell phone and log in to your system and re-route calls until the issue is resolved. The whole thing is seem-less to your customers and much easier to resolve.
Agility and Scalability - When your sales suddenly surge your contact center needs to be able to handle the increased volume. With a cloud phone system adding new licenses can take only hours, not weeks, so you can scale up or down to match the demand. If your business expands geographically, new offices can be easily added so employees in every location benefit from the same features and telephony tools and everyone is connected on the same network with 3 digit dialing between office, collaboration is excellent and presence and chat functionality improves productivity.
Hosted VoIP phone systems all businesses innovative and secure ways to connect employees, boost workforce productivity, share knowledge, and strengthen customer relationships. Cloud-based communications and collaboration platforms offer much more than traditional office phone systems, and transforms how businesses communicate and collaborate to unleash their full potential.
Download a Free Checklist for considering Hosted VoIP