One of the biggest trends in VoIP– one that is already making headway this early in 2015 – is cloud VoIP.
This isn’t really a big surprise. There are many benefits to switching to VoIP using cloud-hosted services, especially for small- and medium-scale businesses. Price is a leading consideration. Cloud VoIP allows practically any business to leverage the cost advantages and technology advantages of digital telephony to catch up and compete in a leveled playing field, at least in terms of telecommunications.
But is Cloud VoIP really for you? What are the considerations?
The hardware requirements of on-premises VoIP are some of the biggest investments that you need to make when you want to switch to VoIP. In the past, before cloud VoIP service providers mushroomed, this was what limited the adoption of digital telecommunications. A business would need to have enough funds to cover the initial costs. Real savings were only enjoyed much later, once hardware investments had been recovered.
This changed when cloud VoIP came into the picture. What was once only limited to big companies that can afford it has been opened up to business entities that, arguably, need the communications savings more.
With cloud VoIP, hardware requirements have become minimal, depending only on your requirements. Since you use the servers and switches of your service provider, you can choose to go bare minimum and use your VoIP via softphones and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Or, if you can afford it, invest in SIP phones or ATA devices for your analog phones.
There will also be no need to hire additional staff to maintain your hardware. You may require a helping hand at the start – perhaps a contractor connected with your VoIP service providers. But other than regular maintenance checks and troubleshooting, you won’t need to maintain anyone in your payroll.
No PBX Required
IP PBXs, as well as their requisite investment, are also not required. In the same way, you won’t need to get a gateway for your old PBX system – you won’t even have to maintain this system if you go 100% digital.
This is a huge load off your shoulders when it comes to spending for your VoIP transition. This part of the switch is taken care of by your service provider. Likewise, maintenance and upgrades come with your cloud VoIP service. You are guaranteed to stay updated when it comes to VoIP hardware and software.
Your spending will be with your VoIP service provider and broadband service provider. You need to make sure that you get reliable and powerful VoIP service. You need to guarantee that your broadband can handle the amount of voice packet traffic that comes with VoIP telephony. And, you might need to upgrade your network cabling to, at least, Cat5e cables.
Remember that you will now be heavily dependent on your broadband and cloud service providers. It is a good idea to research first before signing up with any service. Ask colleagues about the services that they use and look online for real reviews.
Scalable and Affordable
One of the best things about cloud VoIP is that you can get only what you need. As your requirements change, you can add users, increase load capacities, and add features. It can go the other way too, in case your requirements decrease.
If you maintain your own VoIP system, you need to project these things. You need to purchase, install and implement something that’s way above your current requirements. This increases your initial investment and operational costs.
You can leverage the scalability of cloud VoIP and just grow at your own pace, in terms of your business goals, budget and capacity, and projected requirements.
With cloud VoIP providing you with affordable digital telephony and minimal maintenance headaches, you can focus on your core competencies and grow your business. You won’t have to think about your telecommunications because a dedicated team is on it, maintaining your system for you. As long as you are with reliable service providers, you should do alright.
This gives you the opportunity to put your funds where you can experience the most growth. It could be in marketing or production, or elsewhere.
It is really up to you to leverage the advantages of cloud VoIP to benefit your business.
With these considerations, it’s easy to make the decision about finally switching to VoIP. It is not only a practical choice. It is about keeping up with the times and your competition. VoIP – particularly cloud-hosted VoIP – is where telecommunications is going and you have to get with it.
Of course, to ensure that everything is in place 99.99% of the time, you need to monitor your VoIP 24/7/365. Third party service providers, such as VoIP Spear, monitor your service to track performance dips and suspicious cir ... tances. This way, you can do something about service performance problems before these affect your business’ day-to-day.
Cloud-hosted VoIP opens up a lot of opportunities for your business. It’s a matter of making the most of the technology and savings. And, this can only happen if you have everything in place – powerful broadband connections, reliable VoIP service and VoIP monitoring services.
Matt Larson is currently exploring the beaches of Asia while working and keeping in touch with bosses at VoIP Spear via Wi-Fi and VoIP.