As Gamma discovered in their latest research report, more and more businesses are moving their applications to the cloud, rather than investing in on-premise solutions. Telephony is no exception to this, and hosted telephony – also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) – has become a popular option for businesses in recent years. It offers a range of benefits, can be converged with data services, and even allows organisations to combine their fixed and mobile telephony requirements.
But how does hosted telephony work? What makes it different from traditional solutions? And can it benefit your business, or are you better off sticking with an on-premise solution? If you’re a beginner to the world of hosted telephony, here’s the key information you need to get started.
How does hosted telephony work?
Unlike traditional telephony, which relies on physical copper telephone lines, hosted telephony uses the internet to send voice data through the local phone exchange. This gives you a telephone system that’s hosted in the cloud, meaning you can use IP handsets, mobiles, or even a desktop application to make and receive calls.
Is it easy to set up?
Setting up hosted telephony is straightforward, because there are no physical cables to install and connect. All you need is an internet connection. In terms of the actual installation process, hosted telephony options are ‘plug and play’ once they’ve been configured, so they also can be moved about easily – handy if you needed to move office.
Is a hosted phone system secure?
Many people wonder if hardware-based systems are safer, simply because having on-premise solutions seems like it gives businesses more control. In reality, having dual security measures from both the provider and the end user means hosted systems can be more secure. It’s simply a matter of putting the right security procedures in place.
What are the downsides of hosted telephony?
Because it runs over the internet, you’ll need a robust connection to support a hosted system. Without this, it’s likely your call quality will be impacted. Fortunately, modern businesses can access a range of reliable, dedicated services, so there’s no reason to put up with a poor quality internet connection.
What are the benefits of hosted telephony?
Hosted telephony offers a variety of benefits – especially for SMEs, who need agile, consistent and cost-effective solutions. These include:
Robust, reliable communications
Reliable phone systems are a must for all businesses, whether that’s to provide customer service or for internal communications. Providing you have an appropriate data connection in place, hosted telephony is a very reliable service. Unlike physical systems, hosted telephony isn’t susceptible to disasters like flood, fire, theft, or even plain old human error. And should anything go wrong, backup data centres with recovery procedures in place can make sure your systems stay up and running. Giving you business continuity, no matter what issues crop up.
Flexibility as standard
A hosted system is ideal for businesses who need flexibility, because it’s easy to scale up, scale down, readjust and even relocate. This is a huge advantage for small and growing businesses, or any organisation going through a significant busy period, such as the run up to Christmas. VoIP is ideal for those who rent their business premises, because your numbers and devices aren’t tied to one physical location.
It’s also an effective solution for companies who want to offer flexible or remote working. With hosted telephony, you can make it look like staff are calling from certain locations (even if they’re not) – handy for those working from home but still using their usual line, or remote workers who need to look like local agents.
A cost-sensitive solution
Traditionally, one of the major barriers to investing in a new communications platform has been the large initial outlay cost. Installing a hosted telephony system requires no capital expenditure, and is instead paid for via a fixed monthly fee, which can be much more manageable – especially for smaller organisations looking to manage cash flow.
There are numerous other ways a hosted system can help your business save money. Hosted phone systems can provide lower call costs – Gamma’s system even offers free internal calls. And with no hardware upkeep requirements, you won’t have any pesky maintenance costs to worry about.
Ready to get started with hosted telephony?
Choosing the right phone system will always depend on your exact circumstances – but whatever your requirements are, the chances are you could benefit from hosted telephony.
Adapted from 'A beginner's guide to hosted telephony', written by Neil Taylor and originally posted to the official site of Gamma.